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Amaterasu: An Overview of the Japanese Sun Goddess

Amaterasu is a prominent figure in Japanese mythology and is considered the goddess of the sun, universe, and creation itself. Her name is derived from the words “ama” meaning “heavenly” and “terasu” meaning “shining,” which accurately describes her role as the shining sun goddess. Amaterasu is revered as the highest manifestation of the spirit of the universe and is the primary deity of the Shinto religion.

In terms of her family tree, Amaterasu is the daughter of the god Izanagi and the goddess Izanami, who are considered to be the creators of Japan. She is also the sister of the god of storms, Susanoo, and the god of the moon, Tsukuyomi. Amaterasu is a significant figure in Japanese culture, and the imperial family claims descent from her, which adds to her importance in Japanese history. Her mythology is rich with stories of her power and influence, making her a compelling figure to study and learn about.


Amaterasu is a prominent deity in Japanese mythology, revered as the goddess of the sun and ruler of the universe. Her name is derived from the Japanese words “ama” meaning “heaven” and “terasu” meaning “to shine”. According to legend, Amaterasu was born from the left eye of her father, Izanagi, and was bestowed with a necklace of jewels. She is also believed to be the ancestor of the Japanese imperial family.

Amaterasu is often depicted as a radiant and beautiful woman, with long flowing hair and a serene expression. She is associated with light, warmth, and life-giving energy, and is considered to be a benevolent and protective deity. Her role as the ruler of the universe is reflected in her association with the sun, which is seen as a symbol of her power and authority.

Amaterasu’s mythology is rich and complex, and she is featured in many ancient Japanese tales and legends. Her story is intertwined with those of other deities, such as Susano-o, the god of storms, and Tsukuyomi, the god of the moon. Despite her importance in Japanese mythology, Amaterasu remains a mysterious and enigmatic figure, inspiring awe and reverence in those who worship her.


Amaterasu, also known as Amaterasu-ōmikami, is a compound word consisting of three Japanese words: ama, tera, and su. Ama means “heaven,” tera means “shining,” and su means “being.” Therefore, Amaterasu can be translated as “the shining being from heaven.”

The name Amaterasu is also associated with the sun, as she is the goddess of the sun in Japanese mythology. In fact, the Japanese Imperial Family claims to be her descendants, and this is why they have the divine right to rule Japan.

The name Amaterasu is also sometimes written as 天照大神, which means “the great god who illuminates heaven.” The “great god” part of the name reflects Amaterasu’s importance in Japanese mythology, and the “illuminates heaven” part reflects her role as the goddess of the sun.

Overall, the name Amaterasu reflects her divine status and her association with the sun and heaven.



Amaterasu is known for her immense power over the sun, as she is the goddess of the sun itself. She can control the sun’s movements, and her presence is believed to bring light and warmth to the world. When she hides in a cave, it is said that the world is plunged into darkness, and only through the efforts of other gods and goddesses can she be coaxed out to bring light back to the world.


Amaterasu is often depicted with a mirror, which is said to reflect her true nature and power. The mirror is also a symbol of purity and is believed to have the power to ward off evil. Another symbol associated with Amaterasu is the Yata no Kagami, a sacred mirror that is said to have been given to her by her brother, Susanoo. The mirror is often used in Shinto rituals and is considered a powerful talisman.

Family Tree


Amaterasu is the daughter of Izanagi and Izanami, who are considered to be the creators of the Japanese islands and the gods of fertility. According to mythology, Amaterasu was born when Izanagi purified himself after returning from the underworld. As he washed his left eye, Amaterasu was born from it, becoming the goddess of the sun.


Amaterasu has two brothers, Susanoo and Tsukuyomi. Susanoo is the god of storms and the sea, while Tsukuyomi is the god of the moon. According to mythology, Susanoo and Amaterasu had a falling out, which led to Susanoo being banished from heaven.


Amaterasu is considered to be the ancestor of the Japanese imperial family. According to mythology, her grandson, Jimmu, became the first emperor of Japan. The imperial family claims to be descended from Amaterasu, and she is considered to be the most important deity in Shintoism.

Amaterasu’s descendants also include other important gods and goddesses, such as Ninigi, who is considered to be the ancestor of the Yamato clan, and Hachiman, who is the god of war and the patron of the samurai. Overall, Amaterasu’s family tree is an important part of Japanese mythology and the history of the imperial family.



Amaterasu is a central figure in Japanese mythology. According to legend, she is the daughter of the creator god, Izanagi, and the goddess of creation, Izanami. She is often depicted as a radiant woman with long flowing hair, dressed in robes of gold and red. Her name, Amaterasu, means “shining in heaven” or “heavenly illumination.”


One of the most famous stories involving Amaterasu is the tale of how she hid in a cave, plunging the world into darkness. The other gods tried everything to coax her out, but it was the cleverness of Uzume, the goddess of mirth, that finally lured her back into the world. Uzume danced on an overturned tub, flashing her breasts and making the other gods laugh. Amaterasu, curious about the commotion, peeked out of the cave and was dazzled by her own reflection in a mirror that Uzume had set up. She emerged from the cave, and the world was once again filled with light.

Cultural Impact

Amaterasu is still an important figure in Japanese culture, and her influence can be seen in everything from art to manga. She is also the subject of numerous festivals, including the Aoi Matsuri, which takes place in Kyoto every May. In this festival, participants dress in period costumes and parade through the streets, carrying a portable shrine that represents Amaterasu. The festival is said to date back over 1,000 years, and is a testament to the enduring legacy of this powerful goddess.