Marco Lienhard

School educational info on Taiko and Japanese legends

This is a shorter version of some legends from Japane  with mention of music,dance and taiko:

This info can be also found here:

http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Sp-Tl/Susano.html

 This is a slightly adapted version:

 

Taiko is mentioned for the first time in Japanese legends.

Daughter of the creator god Izanagi, Amaterasu taught humans to plant rice and weave cloth. In one story, her brother, Susano-ô, angered the goddess by interfering with her activities. He destroyed rice fields and violated taboos, spreading filth in her sacred buildings and dropping a skinned horse through the roof of the weavers' hall. Furious at Susano-ô's actions, Amaterasu went into a cave and locked the entrance. Her withdrawal plunged the earth into darkness and prevented the rice from growing.

To lure the sun goddess out, the other gods gathered outside the cave with various sacred objects, including a mirror and some jewels. A young goddess, Uzume, began dancing to the sound of flutes and Taiko causing the others to burst into glee filled laughter. Wondering how they could make merry in her absence, Amaterasu peeked out to see what was amusing them. The gods spoke of another deity more brilliant than Amaterasu. Curious, the goddess looked—and saw her reflection in the mirror. The image of her own brilliance so astonished her that she stepped out of the cave. One of the gods hung a rope across the cave to prevent her from returning to it and depriving the world of her light. Today a mirror in Amaterasu's shrine at Ise is considered one of Japan's three imperial treasures, along with jewels and a sword.

 

 

Here is a longer version of it  but a  little bit  on the darker side:

In Japanese mythology the two deities Izanagi (The Male Who Invites) and Izanami (The Female Who Invites) are the creators of Japan and its gods. In one important myth, they descend to Yomitsu Kuni, the underworld and land of darkness. Stories about Izanagi and Izanami are told in two works from the A . D . 700S, the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) and the Nihongi (Chronicles of Japan).

According to legend, after their birth Izanagi and Izanami stood on the floating bridge of heaven and stirred the primeval ocean with a jeweled spear. When they lifted the spear, the drops that fell back into the water formed the first solid land, an island called Onogoro. Izanagi and Izanami descended to the island and became husband and wife. Their first child was deformed, and the other gods said it was because Izanami spoke before her husband at their marriage ceremony.

The couple performed another wedding ceremony, this time correctly. Izanami soon gave birth to eight lovely children, who became the islands of Japan. Izanagi and Izanami then created many gods and goddesses to represent the mountains, valleys, waterfalls, streams, winds, and other natural features of Japan. However, during the birth of Kagutsuchi, the fire god, Izanami was badly burned. As she lay dying, she continued to create gods and goddesses, and still other deities emerged from the tears of the grief-stricken Izanagi.

When Izanami died, she went to Yomi-tsu Kuni. Izanagi decided to go there and bring his beloved back from the land of darkness and death. Izanami greeted Izanagi from the shadows as he approached the entrance to Yomi. She warned him not to look at her and said that she would try to arrange for her release from the gods of Yomi. Full of desire for his wife, Izanagi lit a torch and looked into Yomi. Horrified to see that Izanami was a rotting corpse, Izanagi fled.

Angry that Izanagi had not respected her wishes, Izanami sent hideous female spirits, eight thunder gods, and an army of fierce warriors to chase him. Izanagi managed to escape and blocked the pass between Yomi and the land of the living with a huge boulder. Izanami met him there, and they broke off their marriage.

Izanagi felt unclean because of his contact with the dead, and he took a bath to purify himself. A number of gods and goddesses, both good and evil, emerged from his discarded clothing as Izanagi bathed. The sun goddess Amaterasu appeared from his left eye, the moon god Tsuki-yomi appeared from his right eye, and Susano-ô came from his nose. Proud of these three noble children, Izanagi divided his kingdom among them.

Amaterasu, goddess of the sun and of fertility, is one of the most important figures in Japanese mythology and in the religion known as Shinto. According to legend, she is the first ancestor of the imperial family of Japan.

Daughter of the creator god Izanagi, Amaterasu taught humans to plant rice and weave cloth. In one story, her brother, Susano-ô, angered the goddess by interfering with her activities. He destroyed rice fields and violated taboos, spreading filth in her sacred buildings and dropping a skinned horse through the roof of the weavers' hall. Furious at Susano-ô's actions, Amaterasu went into a cave and locked the entrance. Her withdrawal plunged the earth into darkness and prevented the rice from growing.

This print by Taiso Yoshitoshi shows Amaterasu, the Japanese sun goddess, emerging from a heavenly cave and bringing light back to the world. Amaterasu's shrine at Ise is regarded as one of Japan's most important Shinto shrines.

 

To lure the sun goddess out, the other gods gathered outside the cave with various sacred objects, including a mirror and some jewels. A young goddess began dancing to the spound of the fue and the taiko, causing the others to burst into glee filled laughter. Wondering how they could make merry in her absence, Amaterasu peeked out to see what was amusing them. The gods spoke of another deity more brilliant than Amaterasu. Curious, the goddess looked—and saw her reflection in the mirror. The image of her own brilliance so astonished her that she stepped out of the cave. One of the gods hung a rope across the cave to prevent her from returning to it and depriving the world of her light. Today a mirror in Amaterasu's shrine at Ise is considered one of Japan's three imperial treasures, along with jewels and a sword.

A complex Japanese god, Susano-ô was associated with storms and the sea in mythology. His connection with water began at birth. He was formed from drops of water that were shed when the creator god Izanagi washed his nose. Susano-ô sometimes caused trouble for the other deities, including his sister, the sun goddess Amaterasu, and brother, the moon god Tsuki-yomi.

Although placed in charge of the sea, Susano-ô envied his sister's power over the sun and his brother's control of the moon. Susano-ô behaved so badly while visiting Amaterasu's court that she hid in a cave, taking the sunlight with her. The other gods eventually lured the sun goddess out of the cave. Then they punished Susano-ô by cutting off his beard, fingernails, and toenails and expelling him from heaven.

Susano-ô went to live in Izumo in western Japan, where he had various adventures and began to use his powers for good. According to one story, he met an old man and woman who were grieving because seven of their daughters had been eaten by an eight-headed serpent. Susano-ô killed the monster by getting it drunk and cutting off its heads. In gratitude, the old couple gave Susano-ô their remaining daughter in marriage. Other stories say that Susano-ô took water from the sea and brought it to the land as rain. He also made forests by cutting his beard and hair and planting the strands on mountainsides.

 

A complex Japanese god, Susano-ô was associated with storms and the sea in mythology. His connection with water began at birth. He was formed from drops of water that were shed when the creator god Izanagi washed his nose. Susano-ô sometimes caused trouble for the other deities, including his sister, the sun goddess Amaterasu, and brother, the moon god Tsuki-yomi.

Although placed in charge of the sea, Susano-ô envied his sister's power over the sun and his brother's control of the moon. Susano-ô behaved so badly while visiting Amaterasu's court that she hid in a cave, taking the sunlight with her. The other gods eventually lured the sun goddess out of the cave. Then they punished Susano-ô by cutting off his beard, fingernails, and toenails and expelling him from heaven.

Susano-ô went to live in Izumo in western Japan, where he had various adventures and began to use his powers for good. According to one story, he met an old man and woman who were grieving because seven of their daughters had been eaten by an eight-headed serpent. Susano-ô killed the monster by getting it drunk and cutting off its heads. In gratitude, the old couple gave Susano-ô their remaining daughter in marriage. Other stories say that Susano-ô took water from the sea and brought it to the land as rain. He also made forests by cutting his beard and hair and planting the strands on mountainsides.

 

 

Uzume ,the Japanese Shinto goddess of joy and happiness, called the Daughter of Heaven and Heaven's Forthright Female. Her name means "whirling". She is also the goddess of good health, which people obtain from drinking the blessed water of her stream. When the sun goddess Amaterasu had hidden herself in a cave, thus covering the earth in darkness and infertility, it was Uzume who brought her back. With her provoking and curlew dances to the sopund of  taiko, she managed to make the gods laugh so hard, that Amaterasu left the cave intrigued. Her emerging brought light and life back to earth. Her brother Ninigi married Uzume to the deity who guards the Floating Bridge to Heaven.

The dances of Uzume (Ama-no-uzume) are found in folk rites, such as the one to wake the dead, the Kagura (dance-mime), and another one which symbolizes the planting of seeds.

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