ALSO KNOWN AS:
Amaterasu, chief of the celestial kami, sent her grandson Ninigi to Earth to rule over Japan. All the earthly kami submitted to Ninigi’s rule with the sole exception of Sarutahiko who refused to submit. It was an important exception: Sarutahiko guards the Bridge of Heaven that connects Earth to the celestial regions and so without his cooperation, Ninigi was unable to reach Earth. Sarutahiko, leader of the earthly kami, did not desire a change in hierarchy.
The celestial kami called a council and decided someone must go subdue Sarutahiko. None of the male kami volunteered and so, once again, Uzume, Goddess of Mirth, came to the rescue. As she began to cross the bridge and approached Sarutahiko, she let her robe slip, exposing her breasts. Sarutahiko was surprised and impressed. He allowed her to approach. Uzume put it to him plainly: she insisted that he submit to Amaterasu and Ninigi. This time, Sarutahiko was more amenable, agreeing to submit but only if Uzume would marry him. They have lived happily ever after ever since. Their marriage symbolizes the merger of the celestial and earthly kami.
Sarutahiko is the only earthly kami to bear the title Okami, “Great Kami.”
Sarutahiko is characterized by courage and strength (and may be invoked to bolster yours). Lord of Crossways and Crossroads, both literal and metaphoric, he is petitioned to remove obstacles from one’s path. Sarutahiko is the patron of the Japanese martial art, Aikido.
He is a giant with a long nose and a longer beard. Light shines from Sarutahiko’s eyes and mouth.
Sarutahiko may be represented by tengu masks. (They both have long noses.)
Sarutahiko’s shrine at Tsubaki Dai Jinja in Mie Prefecture has been in continuous operation for over two thousand years.
Amaterasu; Kami; Okuninushi; Tengu; Uzume
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.