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Amaterasu, Japanese Sun Goddess - Windows to the Universe

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Drawing of the goddess Amaterasu.
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Amaterasu

Amaterasu was the Sun goddess according to the oldest Japanese religion called Shinto. Shinto means "the way of the gods." Amaterasu was born from the left eye of the primeval being Izanagi. When her brother Susanowo treated her badly, she hid in the cave of heaven, closing the entrance with an enormous stone.

Thus, darkness surrounded the world, and evil spirits left their hiding places, causing destruction and grief everywhere. In despair, a conference of the gods decided to induce Amaterasu to come out of the cave by arousing her curiosity. The gods organized a cheerful party.

They put a big mirror in front of the cave and beautiful jewels on a tree. Uzume, the goddess of laughter, began an exotic dance accompanied by loud music. Hearing the music and the laughter, Amaterasu could not restrain her curiosity and gave a prudent look outside to see what was going on.

As soon as she saw what was there, she was so fascinated by her own brilliant reflection in the mirror that she came out of the cave. Finally, the light covered and colored the world. The image above is a depiction of the goddess Amaterasu.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF