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Title: Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Shinto, Amano-Iwato, List of Shinto shrines in the United States, Japanese mythology, Kami
Collection: Arts Goddesses, Japanese Goddesses, Shinto Kami, Solar Goddesses, Trickster Goddesses, Trickster Gods
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The statue of Ame-no-Uzume at Amanoiwato-jinja
Tablet at the Ama-no-Uzume shrine, Takachiho

Ame-no-Uzume-no-mikoto (天宇受売命, 天鈿女命) is the goddess of dawn, mirth and revelry in the Shinto religion of Japan, and the wife of fellow-god Sarutahiko Ōkami. She famously relates to the tale of the missing sun deity, Amaterasu Omikami. Her name can also be pronounced as Ama-no-Uzume.[1][2]

Amaterasu's brother, the storm god Susano'o, had vandalized her rice fields, threw a flayed horse at her loom, and brutally killed one of her maidens due to a quarrel between them. In turn, Amaterasu became furious with him and retreated into the Heavenly Rock Cave, Amano-Iwato. The world, without the illumination of the sun, became dark and the gods could not lure Amaterasu out of her hiding place.

The clever Uzume overturned a tub near the cave entrance and began a dance on it, tearing off her clothing in front of the other deities. They considered this so comical that they laughed heartily at the sight.[3] This dance is said to have founded the Japanese ritual dance, Kagura. [4]

Amaterasu heard them, and peered out to see what all the fuss was about. When she opened the cave, she saw her glorious reflection in a mirror which Uzume had placed on a tree, and slowly emerged from her hiding spot.

At that moment, the god Ame-no-Tajikarawo-no-mikoto dashed forth and closed the cave behind her, refusing to budge so that she could no longer retreat. Another god tied a magic shimenawa across the entrance.[5] The deities Ame-no-Koyane-no-mikoto and Ame-no-Futodama-no-mikoto then asked Amaterasu to rejoin the divine. She agreed, and light was restored to the earth.

Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto is still worshiped today as a Shinto kami, spirits indigenous to Japan.[6] She is also known as Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto, The Great Persuader, and The Heavenly Alarming Female.[7] She is depicted in kyōgen farce as Okame, a woman who revels in her sensuality.

See also


  1. ^ "Treasures of the Morikami". Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Iwato". Hamada City. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Frédéric, Louis (2002). Japan Encyclopedia. Harvard University Press. pp. 27–28.  
  4. ^ Lancashire, Terence (2004). "From Spirit Possession to Ritual Theatre: A Potential Scenario for the Development of Japanese Kagura". The Yearbook for Traditional Music (International Council for Traditional Music) 36.  
  5. ^ Addiss, Stephen; Groemer, Gerald; Rimer, Thomas, ed. (2006). Traditional Japanese Arts And Culture: An Illustrated Sourcebook. University of Hawai'i Press. pp. 16–17.  
  6. ^ "Tsubaki Sukeikai" (PDF). Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Herbert, Jean (2011). Shinto: At the Fountainhead of Japan. Taylor & Francis. p. 264.  

  • A substantial article on this subject
  • Amaterasu and Uzume, Goddesses of Japan, at Goddess Gift
  • A one-paragraph glossary entry in Italian

External links


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