Amaterasu’s Story

“How long has it been?” Nishikori-dome spoke as she walked up to her good friend – who sat alone.
Omoikane, who was — as usual — deep in his thoughts, came back into awareness: “Greetings Nishikori… How many days? Impossible to say. Maybe what would be a year. Although, there is no way to know for sure… ”
“Everything in the lower realm is dead?”
“There will be some things for certain. Some are likely still alive… Without Amaterasu’s light though, the oni (demons) will eventually reign.”
“Some drastic measures must be taken. This is your time, Omoikane. After all, you are the God of Wisdom. The Kami need you. Fusou needs you. It will be too late if this endures any longer… We all need to see her.” Ishikori spoke gently, but her intonation had a tinge of firmness.
“We do… I have just had an idea. I will need your assistance. Ishikori-dome, will you help?”
“Of course, Omoikane. I will do what I can.”
“Good… come with me.”

After Omoikane explained his plan, Ishikori-dome sent her assistants to find the finest copper and tin. Within the next few hours, the exemplars of these two metals were mixed in a massive crucible to pour the most exquisite bronze ever created. It gleamed with radiance as it cooled in its mold. Ishikori then shaped it into a perfect circle and painstakingly etched an immaculate, eight-ray sundisk on its back. On its face, she polished it into the luminous, spotless reflection. She then called her masterpiece, Yata no Kagami or the “Eight-Fold Mirror.”

After it was finished, Omoikane went to the cave and spoke through the stone blocking the entrance.

Amaterasu, I know you can hear me. Forgive your brother… As you interweave the strength of silk with your loom, creating beauty and order, he tears everything apart with his fierce rage. His sword is destructive… This is the way of things: creation and destruction. We all need you… But none as much as the mortals of Fusou. You extend the light of Heaven to them all. They, more than anyone, need you.

Immediately after speaking, he dropped his head and walked away. His job was done. Omoikane knew that she would not come out now, but his intent was to plant a seed in her mind. This overall plan would take time to come together…

Amaterasu could not help but think about what he said. However, she thought the God of Wisdom was somewhat of a fool at this moment. He misunderstood. She wasn’t angry at her brother at all. At least not precisely at him… Actually, everything he said was true; however, she only felt guilt and resentment. The guilt was not only for letting her chaotic brother back into Heaven — which resulted in the death of her most-beloved attendant — but for, again, letting her warm heart be exploited. Her resentment was directed at the WORLD for always doing this… abusing empathy. Flushed with emotion, she began to quietly speak aloud:
Why do I ever pity Susanoo? Sigh… He, like so many, exploits my empathy to get what he wants… the lowest of lows. Take what is most precious, use it, and then embarrass the one whom gave you forgiveness. Awful… My empathy is no more. Done. Never will I feel it for anyone ever again. I will harden and will rule as my father did — firm and resolute. It will begin with me staying in this cave for many years. Enough so, that they will always fear my reaction. The world will regret its abuse!

Amaterasu fumed with these thoughts incessantly for weeks.

One phase of the moon later, Omoikane led a joyous procession of Kami to the outside of the cave. They came in and reveled in each other’s company with song, food, and dance. Amaterasu heard it all and was intensely curious. She could not leave the cave though… How could she? She would be far too embarrassed. How could she suffer their eyes? Secretly, she would be judged for her time away, but, most irritatingly, they would all pretend not to be. It was at this moment, in the heat of the celebration, that Amenouzume, the Goddess of Dawn, did something completely spontaneous. She did it for no reason, other than she felt like it. She began a seductive dance, and as she did, the crowd reacted… In all honesty, most of the Kami had forgotten what they were even doing at that moment. They reacted with a genuine rush of excitement. This rush of mirth hit Amaterasu inside the cave like the wind of a hurricane. She was electric, but she could not see what was happening… Omoikane did not expect this, but he was not going to let this opportunity go to waste. He spoke:

“Oh, it is she. The most lovely of all the Kami. Most precious to all those in Fusou. She is here…”

Her curiosity was simply too much, and almost involuntarily, she pulled the cave-door rock to the side. When she did, Ishikore-domi was ushered to bring the Eight-Fold Mirror to the entrance. When Amaterasu looked around the edge of the rock, the mirror reflected her vibrant radiance. Amaterasu let out a tiny, playful smile and her cheeks rushed with a rosy hue. Her decision to be resolute was already shattered. At this moment, all her firmness disappeared. When the other Gods saw Amaterasu’s pure smile, they all immediately forgave her. After all, they loved her, and they always had. This was why she was the leader. She need not be feared or have a firm command. She was loved enough, that even in this situation, all the Kami could not help but simply be joyous to see her. Amaterasu’s empathy, regardless of its sometimes-negative consequences, was the reason they all worked hard together, protected the realm, and would defend her to their death… They all embraced. Meanwhile, Omoikane placed an enchanted Shimenawa (enclosing rope) over the entrance of the cave so that this could never happen again.

Ishikore-domi handed her the mirror. “This is yours. The bronze has taken all the magic that I can impart. Combined with your radiance, it will be a powerful weapon.”

She graciously accepted her gift and turned toward her throne…

The High Goddess of Takamagahara had returned to the world.

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