Ukemochi is the kami who created food; she is the literal source of food on Earth.
According to legend, Amaterasu sent her brother Tsuki-Yomi, Kami of the Moon, to Earth to visit Ukemochi. When he arrived, Ukemochi prepared a feast for him:
• Rice spilled from her mouth.
• She turned to the sea and fish spilled from her mouth.
• She turned to the mountains, disgorging other foods.
Tsuki-Yomi was appalled and disgusted. This wasn’t how he envisioned food being prepared. He promptly gave her a piece of his mind,telling her she was impure, and then stabbed her to death with his sword. Even in death, Ukemochi continued to create:
• Cows, oxen, and horses emerged from the top of her head.
• Silkworms emerged from her eyebrows.
• Millet sprang from her forehead, rice from her belly, wheat and beans from her vulva.
Tsuki-Yomi returned home and reported his actions to Amaterasu, who in turn was appalled and disgusted—but with him, not Ukemochi. She banished Tsuki-Yomi from her presence, vowing never to be near him again. (The division between Amaterasu and Tsuki-Yomi explains why sun and moon avoid each other.)
Ukemochi’s presence on Earth survives in the form of the products of her body. When you touch silk, eat beef, fish or rice, or quaff beer, you are in contact with the essence of Ukemochi. Ukemochi may also linger under the guise of Inari (or at least some guises of Inari).
Ukemochi is venerated in the Outer Shrine of Ise, whose primary deity is Amaterasu. (Tsuki-Yomi is venerated there, too.)
Amaterasu; Inari; Kami; Susano’o; Tsuki-Yomi
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.