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The Sexual Union of a Primal Male and Female


These stories may view creation as spontaneous (as above). Unlike the stories mentioned above, however, the rest of the gods, people, and creation are given birth as the result of the sexual union of divine beings such as the Sky God and Mother Earth. Livingston notes the prevalence of this type of creation in Japanese Shinto religion. In particular, Japanese cosmogony includes the story of Izanagi (the male who invites) and Izanami (the female who invites) who give birth to the Japanese Islands. Of particular political importance is the birth of Amaterasu, the sun goddess, who later gives birth to the Japanese emperor. The world view of the cosmogony is clear: The Japanese islands are the special creation of the god Izangi and goddess Izanami. In addition, they have take steps to ensure the continuity of the natural order. Just as importantly, they have established a political order. The emperor is a direct descendent of the Sun God, and thus, by nature is divine. To obey the emperor is to obey a god. In some ways, this last point may be compared to the “divine right” or European monarchs, or to the Mandate of Heaven which legitimized the rule of the Chinese Emperor. The Japanese concept, however, goes beyond both in its emphasis on the essential divinity of the Emperor. It was only at the end of the Second World War that the Japanese emperor declared that he was not divine.