Izanami-no-Mikoto, meaning "she who invites," is Izanagi-no-Mikoto's former wife and the goddess of both creation and death. In the beginning, there were two gods, Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi. They summoned two divine beings into existence, the male Izanagi and the female Izanami, and charged them with creating the first land. To be able to do this, Izanagi and Izanami were given a spear decorated with jewels, named Ame-no-nuboko (heavenly spear). The two deities then went to the bridge between heaven and earth, Ame-no-ukihashi ("floating bridge of heaven"), and churned the sea below with the spear. When drops of salty water fell from the spear, Onogoroshima ("self-forming island") was created. They flew down from the bridge of heaven and made their home on the island.
Eventually, Izanami and Izanagi fell in love and wished to be mated. Together, they built a pillar called Ama-no-mihashira ("pillar of heaven") and circled around it on opposite directions. When they met on the other side, Izanami was the first to greet. Izanagi didn't think this was proper, but they mated anyway. They had two children, Hiruko ("leech-child") and Awashima ("faint island"), but they were born deformed and were not considered deities, but devils. They abandoned their children by putting them on a boat and sending them out to sea. They asked the first gods what they did wrong and found out that Izanagi was supposed to be the first one to greet during the marriage ceremony. So Izanagi and Izanami went around the pillar again, this time Izanagi speaking first when they met, and their marriage was finally successful. This explains why men were supposed to be the ones proposing.
Izanami gave birth to oyashima, or "great eight islands," of the Japanese chain. They then bore six more islands and many deities, but Izanami died giving birth to Kagu-Tsuchi (incarnation of fire) or Ho-Masubi (causer of fire). Because of Izanami's death, Izanagi grew furious and killed the newborn baby, therefore creating many new deities. The Kojiki said death of Izanami and her tomb which was located at the boundary between country Izumo and Hohki (now in Yasugi-shi, Shimane-ken). It implies that Izanami transferred her soul to an animal and a human before her death, but does not state whether or not Izanami had incarnations.
Izanagi then decided to go to Yomi, the shadowy land of the dead. He searched for Izanami-no-Mikoto and found her. At first, Izanagi-no-Mikoto could not see her because the shadows covered her body. He asked her to return with him. Izanami-no-Mikoto yelled at him, telling Izanagi-no-Mikoto that he was too late. She had already eaten the food of the underworld and was now one with the land of the dead. She could no longer return to the living.
The news shocked Izanagi-no-Mikoto, but he refused to leave her in Yomi. While Izanami-no-Mikoto was sleeping, he took the comb that bound his long hair and set it on fire as a torch. Under the sudden burst of light, he saw the hideous form of the once gorgeous and graceful Izanami-no-Mikoto. She was now a rotting form of flesh with maggots and foul creatures running over her decomposing body. Izanagi-no-Mikoto cried out loud, could no longer control his fear and started to run, trying to return to the living and abandon his death-ridden wife. Izanami-no-Mikoto woke up, shrieking and indignant, and chased after him. She also sent Yakusa-no-ikazuchi-no-kami (Raijin) and shikome (foul women) to hunt for Izanagi-no-Mikoto and bring him back to Yomi. Izanagi-no-Mikoto burst out of the entrance and pushed a boulder to cover Yomotsuhirasaka, which was the entrance of Yomi. Izanami-no-Mikoto screamed from behind the boulder and told Izanagi-no-Mikoto that if he left her she would destroy 1,000 residents of the living every day. He furiously replied he would give life to 1,500.
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