One day, Izanagi and Izanami were summoned by the supreme celestial gods.
They were told to rule over the floating land, and to create something firm.
You see, the world then wasn’t solid in those days the way it is now.
These gods gave Izanagi and Izanami Ame-no-Nuboko, the celestial pike. While a pike is a very long handle with two bladed ends, Ame-no-Nuboko is a special one adorned with beautiful glimmering jewels.
Izanagi and Izanami must have thought that it would do the job! They slowly lowered it toward the ground from up on the floating bridge.
Just try and imagine it all. A world that has yet to come together. A wavering, fuzzy, floating world. And a bridge floating in an arc above it.
It was from there that Izanagi and Izanami carefully began to stir the world with Ame-no-Nuboko.
When I say stir, I don’t mean it in the way that you or I might mix up some eggs. They stirred together the base of what would become the ground we stand on.
It was for this reason that Izanagi and Izanami were as serious as could be when moving the spear, devoting themselves to the task while still being gentle.
What do you think happened next?
Sounds came forth as the world began to be brought together.
The oceans sang, ohh-rooar, goh-rooar. Izanagi and Izanami looked at one another and quietly pulled Ame-no-Nuboko back. Just then, drops began to fall from its tip.
The ocean, now hardening, fell drip upon drip to become islands.
These drops of water turned to the island known as Onogoro, named after the singing sea.
Now that they had made an island, Izanagi and Izanami left the celestial world above in order to visit it. While they wanted to stay in the celestial world longer, they couldn’t hesitate. This was their chance to do something new.
Once Izanagi and Izanami went down to the island, they built a gigantic celestial pillar. They then made a great big palace known as Yahirodono. Now that they had a home in this new place, they could relax. They must have eaten and bathed to soothe their tired bodies.
Suddenly, Izanagi had a question for Izanami.
“I was wondering… How is your body made?”
A male god and a female god. Similar yet different, and he wanted to know of this difference.
Izanami replied, “There seems to be a part of my body that is missing.”
To this, Izanagi said, “There seems to be an extra part on my body.”
He then went on to wonder. “If we were to combine your missing part with my extra part, perhaps it would create a country.” Izanami agreed, and they began doing so at once.
“Let us first circle the celestial pillar, then we will conduct the Mito-no-Maguwai,” said Izanagi.
Izanami circled the massive pillar from the right, and Izanagi from the left, meeting once more on the opposite side. When they did, they promised to love one another as husband and wife. It was something we might call a wedding ceremony today.
Izanagi and Izanami were together from the moment they appeared in the world, after all. Perhaps it was important for them to get a fresh look at one another and confirm just how they felt.
But as they circled the celestial pillar, an unexpected problem arose.
When they met again on the other side, Izanami spoke first.
“Oh, what a splendid man you are,” she said.
To this, Izanami replied.
“What a splendid woman you are,” he said.
But as he said this, Izanagi had a thought. As he was the first to appear in the world, maybe they needed to follow the same order this time as well. He even told Izanami, just in case.
“Could it have been wrong for you to have spoken first?” he said.
It didn’t matter now, though. They didn’t know if they had done something wrong, anyway. And so Izanagi and Izanami simply slept with one another, truly becoming husband and wife.
Izanagi felt that a country might be born if the two combined what they lacked and what they had in surplus. He turned out to be right, and soon Izanami gave birth to a child.
However, Izanagi turned out to be right about one other thing too. This child was a soft and limp one with no backbone. Izanagi and Izanami held their child without saying a word.
He could never become a country. He could never survive here. Though they knew this, they wanted at least to give him a name: Hiruko, the water-leech boy.
Perhaps, Izanami and Izanagi thought, he could survive in another place. So they prayed as they placed him in a boat of reeds and sent him into the ocean. They cried.
Their next child was born some time later. This one could not become a country either. They named it Awashima, or the island of Awa, and then they cried again.
It took losing Hiruko and Awashima for Izanagi and Izanami to realize they had taken something for granted. They had thought it was easy for them to create children, but it was not. Just because they were gods didn’t mean that they could be blessed with a child so simply. Life is always a miracle, no matter who you are.