Susanoo was the god of the sea in Japanese mythology. Because of the islands’ weather patterns, this meant that he was also strongly associated with storms and rain.
He was the brother of Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun and the ruler of Heaven. The two did not get along well, however, which ultimately led to Susanoo’s most famous adventure.
Exiled to earth for his violent temper, Susanoo redeemed himself by saving a young woman from a terrible dragon. In doing so, he also won a prize that is revered as a symbol of power in Japan to this day.
From his birth as one of the greatest kami to his eventual place as the guardian of the Underworld, Susanoo’s story made him important in many aspects of Japanese life.
Susanoo goes by a variety of names in his native Japanese.
The exact meaning of his name is not known. It is often said to have come from the verb susabu (to commit violence or act impetuously) or susumu (to advance).
Some linguists even believe that the name is not of Japanese origin at all.
They claim that it comes from a Middle Korean word for “shaman” or “master.” Some of Susanoo’s myths seem to include references to Korea and the region of Western Japan closest to the peninsula, making it a possibility that Susanoo did actually develop there.
Various honorifics are attached to his name in different texts. These include haya (swift), take (brave), and kamu (divine).
Like other kami, or god-like spirits, Susanoo’s name is often written with –no-Mikoto (the Great God).
Not only can Susanoo’s name be written in a variety of ways in his own language, but its translation into English has also led to several spellings. English approximations of the Japanese name have been spelled as Susan’o, Susano-o, or even Sosa no wo.
According to legend, Susano was one of the “Three Precious Children” born to the creator god Izanagi.
Izanagi’s wife had died and he made an attempt to journey into Yomi, the Underworld, to bring her back. She turned against him when he saw her decaying form, however, and Izanagi barely escaped.
When he returned from Yomi, Izanagi purified himself by bathing in a river. When he washed his face, his three children were born – Amaterasu from his left eye, Tsukuyomi from his right eye, and Susanoo from his nose.
Izanagi proclaimed that these three were the most blessed and powerful kami and had the right to rule in Heaven. Amaterasu became the goddess of the sun, Tsukuyomi was the moon god, and Susanoo was given control over the sea and storms.
Even at birth, Susanoo was the most brash and violent of the siblings. Izanagi hoped to temper his unpredictable nature by making him the guardian of Heaven.
Despite this duty, it soon became obvious that Susanoo was too destructive and emotional to fit in the highly-structured environment of Heaven. According to some myths, he cried so horribly because he missed having a mother that his wails shook the earth and his tears caused widespread floods.
Because of this, Izanagi banished his youngest son from Heaven.
Susanoo was ordered to leave Heaven because he did not fit in there, but had committed no terrible crime. He was therefore given permission to return in order to say goodbye to his sister, Amaterasu.
When he traveled to Heaven, however, the earth shook. Because he and Amaterasu had argued in the past, she doubted his reasons for visiting her again.
Sosa no wo no Mikoto said:—’All the Gods have banished me, and I am now about to depart for ever. Why should I not see my elder sister face to face; and why take it on me of my own accord to depart without more ado?’ So he again ascended to Heaven, disturbing Heaven and disturbing Earth. Now Ame no Uzume, seeing this, reported it to the Sun-Goddess. The Sun-Goddess said:—’My younger brother has no good purpose in coming up. It is surely because he wishes to rob me of my kingdom. Though I am a woman, why should I shrink?’ So she arrayed herself in martial garb.
-Nihongi (trans Aston)
Susanoo proposed a trial to prove his sincerity when he saw that his sister was prepared to fight him. Each of them would chew an item belonging to the other and spit out new kami.
Amaterasu broke Susanoo’s sword into three pieces and chewed them up. She spit out three female goddesses.
Susanoo took the magatama beads that his sister wore in her hair and spit out five male deities.
Amaterasu, however, had attempted to trick her brother. She declared herself the victor because the greater number of kami had been created from her item instead of by her action.
Susanoo was furious. Although his intentions had been peaceful, he now became enraged and violent.
He destroyed his sister’s rice fields and defecated in her palace. He then flayed one of her prized piebald horses and threw it at her loom.
When he threw the horse, it struck and killed one of Amaterasu’s maids. The sun goddess was so afraid of her brother’s rampage that she hid in a cave, plunging the world into total darkness.
The other gods eventually persuaded Amaterasu to come out and met to determine how to punish Susanoo.
Eight hundred kami met to discuss how Susanoo would be punished for his crimes against Amaterasu and her property.
His punishments included:
- He was ordered to pay a costly restitution, amounting to nearly the entire value of his wealth.
- His beard was cut off.
- His fingernails and toenails were removed or, in some translations, cut.
- He was banished permanently from Heaven.
One account claimed that when Susanoo was banished from Heaven he wandered aimlessly in search of food. This story claims that he, not Tsukuyomi, killed the goddess of food when he saw her disgorging plants and animals.
Another legend claimed that Susanoo descended to a place called Soshimori in Korea. Disliking the land there, he crafted a boat and sailed to Izumo in Japan.
As he walked along the banks of the River Hi, he heard someone crying. It was an elderly man named Azinazuchi who, despite his own stress, invited the stranger into his home.
Azinazuchi introduced Susanoo to his wife and their daughter, Kushinadahime. He then revealed the source of his grief.
An eight-headed serpent named Yamata-no-Orochi lived nearby. It had already devoured seven of the couple’s daughters and was now on its way to take Kushinadahime, their last surviving child.
Susanoo sympathized with Azinazuchi and his wife and offered to help them keep their daughter safe. He turned her into a comb, which he put in his hair to hide her from the serpent.
He instructed the couple to make a thick sake that was brewed eight times. He then had them build a fence with eight gates.
At each gate, they built a platform and placed a large basin of the thick sake on it. When the eight-headed dragon appeared, it was lured by the drinks and plunged each head deep into one of the basins.
Yamata-no-Orochi soon became so drunk that it was completely incapacitated. It passed out and Susanoo was easily able to cut it into pieces.
Following the serpent’s death, Susanoo married Kushinadahime. Her father became the headman of Susanoo’s new palace on earth, Suga, and the family led a happy life.
Susanoo took other wives, having many children who became powerful kami, but Kushinadahime was always his primary wife.
Despite their happiness, however, Susanoo still longed to return to Heaven. The dragon provided him with a way to make amends with his sister.
When Susanoo killed Yamato-no-Orochi and cut its body apart, he discovered something surprising in its tail.
As he plunged his sword into the tail, it broke into pieces. Susanoo was surprised because it was a well-made sword, but continued to use the broken blade to hack the tail apart.
Once it was opened up, he saw was had broken his sword. It was another blade, this one of exceptional strength and beauty.
This new sword was called Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (the Grass-Cutting Sword), although it was also sometimes referred to as Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (the Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven).
Susanoo decided to give this miraculous sword to his sister as a way of making amends with her. Amaterasu accepted the gift and make peace with her brother.
In time, Ame-no-Oshihomimi, one of the gods Susanoo had made from Amaterasu’s beads, had a son. Ninigi was Amaterasu’s grandson because she had claimed the kami Susanoo made as her own.
When he was sent to rule the earth, his grandmother gave Ninigi three gifts. Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi was one of these.
According to tradition, Amaterasu’s gifts were passed down through her descendants who ruled Japan. Ninigi’s great-grandson, Jimmu became Japan’s first emperor and the sword Susanoo gave his sister is still passed on as part of the Imperial Regalia, Japan’s greatest treasures.
Although he had been forgiven by Amaterasu, Susanoo was still exiled from Heaven. Even though his crimes were no longer held against him, Izanagi knew that Susanoo would always be too stormy to live peacefully there.
Instead, Izanagi commanded his son to complete his penance by becoming the lord of Ne-no-Kuni instead of Heaven. He was to guard the gateway between this realm and the mortal world.
Meaning “The World of Roots,” Ne-no-Kuni was a dark underground realm from which plants were formed to push through the earth’s soil. Although it may have originally been separate from Yomi, the land of the dead, the two were similar enough that many sources conflate them.
Susanoo accepted this position and became a god of the Underworld. Strong storms were associated with Yomi or Ne-no-Kuni because the storm god lived there.
As a storm god, Susanoo’s association with the Underworld was probably once linked to the role rain played in causing new plant life to emerge from the soil. In one story, for example, he created three trees from his hair and gave them to his children to plant throughout Japan.
In another tale, six generations after Susanoo took his place in Ne-no-Kuni one of his descendants fled there to escape his violent brothers. After a series of tests, he was allowed to marry Susanoo’s daughter and was renamed Okuninushi, the undisputed ruler of the terrestrial world.
As he became more associated with Yomi, however, stories of Susanoo’s violent temper grew.
In later periods, Susanoo became more closely associated with ideas of calamity, violence, and death. Many people came to see him as a source of disease and misfortune.
Susanoo is a character that shows great malevolence and great heroism. While he attacked the sun goddess and became the ruler of the netherworld, he also saved an innocent girl from a monster and provided Japan with one of its most sacred relics.
Historians believe that the role of Susanoo changed over time, largely because that of the Imperial Family did as well.
The Emperors of Japan legitimized their rule through descent from Amaterasu. Some historians believe that as she became a more important symbol of political power, her brothers were rewritten to provide foils for her.
To prove her own rule, Amaterasu would have to defeat enemies as powerful as herself. The banishment and vilification of both Susanoo and Tsukukami provided a way for her, and her human descendants, to have an unchallenged rule.
With Amaterasu as the official patroness of Imperial power, Susanoo also became a symbol of those who opposed this rule. Some historians believe that he originated in a minority culture, perhaps a Korean minority in Japan, that was exiled for refusing to honor the rule of early emperors.
Susanoo was the storm god in Japanese mythology. He was linked to the sea and rain, but eventually became more closely associated with violent and threatening storms.
He was the brother of Amaterasu, one of the three children born after Izanagi returned from Ne-no-Kuni. The three were given control over Heaven, with Amaterasu as its ruler.
Susanoo was too temperamental to remain in Heaven, however, and was banished to earth. He tried to say goodbye to his sister, but she doubted his motives and prepared for a fight.
The two held a contest to prove his sincerity, but Amaterasu tricked him into an unearned loss. Furious, he destroyed much of her property.
Exiled permanently, Susanoo met an elderly couple whose last living daughter was going to be eaten by a dragon. He temped the beast with strong sake and killed it when it passed out, saving and marrying the girl.
In the dragon’s tail he found a sword which he gave to his sister to make amends. This sword became part of the Imperial Regalia of Japan.
Susanoo was eventually sent to Ne-no-Kuni to guard its gateway. While originally showing his link to plant growth as a rain god, this eventually caused Susanoo to be portrayed as a god of death and calamity in many texts.
As Imperial power grew, Susanoo was placed in the role of an opponent that was defeated by rightful leadership. He was never a complete villain, however, as the rain he sent was still vital for Japanese farmers.
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Mike Greenberg, PhD
My name is Mike and for as long as I can remember (too long!) I have been in love with all things related to Mythology. I am the owner and chief researcher at this site. My work has also been published on Buzzfeed and most recently in Time magazine. Please like and share this article if you found it useful.
Susanoo, in full Susanoo no Mikoto, also spelled Susanowo, (Japanese: Impetuous Male), in Japanese mythology, the storm god, younger brother of the sun goddess Amaterasu. He was born as his father Izanagi washed his nose.Who is the wife of Susanoo? ›
|Children||Yashimajinumi (Kojiki) Ōnamuchi (Nihon Shoki)|
The spellings and forms of Susanoo's name are varied in both Japanese and English. In Japanese, his Kanji can appear as 建速須佐之男命 (Takehaya-Susanoo-no-Mikoto), 神須佐能袁命 (Kamususanoo), or simply as Susanoo: 素戔男尊、素戔嗚尊等、須佐乃袁尊, and 須佐能乎命.What did Susanoo do to his sister? ›
Driven by jealousy, Susanoo ruins his sister's rice fields, causing her to hide in the Ama-no-Iwato and him to be expelled from heaven (as above).Is Susanoo stronger than kurama? ›
To sum it up, in the final developmental stage of a Susanoo, the Perfect Susanoo is stronger than Kurama on its own. However, that does not make it stronger than Kurama in every situation because the Tailed Beast can enhance the jinchuriki's abilities and turn the tables in a battle.Who is perfect Susanoo? ›
1) Hagoromo Otsutsuki
Shown as a Susanoo user in the Naruto anime, Hagoromo is undoubtedly the strongest Susanoo user. Manifesting his full-body variant immediately, he could overpower his mother Kaguya in her Ten-tails form.
The sword, along with the mirror and jeweled necklace, still forms one of the three Imperial Treasures of Japan. The sword was discovered by the storm god Susanoo in the body of the eight-headed dragon (which he killed) and presented by him to his sister Amaterasu.Who can summon Susanoo? ›
Basically, anyone with an awakened Mangekyō Sharingan in both eyes has the ability to use Susanoo. So that means: Itachi Uchiha.Who is the king of Susanoo? ›
Susanoo (スサノオ), also known as Omni-King Susanoo (オムニキングスサノオ) is the Shinto God of the Seas, Storms and the Underworld and is also one of the two sons of Izanagi. Susanoo is also the Omni-King of the 33rd Multiverse, an entity that is above all living beings in all universes.Is Susanoo a human? ›
Susanoo was a biological Teigu, and the first one shown in the form of a human, as the second biological Teigu seen. He is able to regenerate injuries as long as his core is not destroyed.
Susanoo is a gigantic, humanoid being made of the user's chakra that surrounds them and fights on their behalf. It is the strongest ability available to those who have the Mangekyō Sharingan, and in fact is the rarest to achieve.Who defeated Susanoo? ›
In modern times, when the Shinto god of evil Mikaboshi returned from a campaign across the galaxy with an army of enslaved extraterrestrial deities under his control, he attacked and conquered Susanoo and the other Amatsu-Kami.Who Susanoo without eyes? ›
Madara started Susanoo without his eyes, confirming that it's a power that does not *need* the eyes to be invoked. However, Sasuke could not use Susanoo. The implication is that because his MS powers faded, and since Susanoo still falls under a MS power, Susanoo could not be activated either.Who defeats the Susanoo? ›
Used by Hashirama Senju, Shinsuusenju is a majestic attire created by using Wood Release powering it up with Sage Mode. This ability was seen being used against Madara Uchiha at the Valley of the End and it was great enough to overwhelm the Susanoo-clad Kurama without any trouble.Who has the 2 strongest Susanoo? ›
- Shishui Uchiha. Shishui places last since he doesn't show his abilities too often. ...
- Kakashi Hatake. The blue Susanoo of Kakashi doesn't just have a sword as its weapon but also Kamui Shuriken. ...
- Madara Uchiha. ...
- Itachi Uchiha. ...
- Indra Otsutsuki. ...
- Hagoromo Osutsuki. ...
- Sasuke Uchiha.
Sasuke's armored susanoo's durability is far greater than Reiner's armored titan. In ribcage stage it protected sasuke from lava. Plus Armored susanoo is equipped with a sword and bows with arrows. The arrows themselves are very fast.Who created the 10 Tailed Beast? ›
Kaguya later gave birth to a pair of sons who inherited all of her powers. One of these sons would grow up to become the Sage of the Six Paths. Jealous that her sons had inherited powers similar to herself, Kaguya became one with the God-Tree and her body and mind formed the Ten-Tailed Beast.Is Kirin stronger than Susanoo? ›
Kirin. Kirin is only ahead of the Susanoo technique because of the fact it destroyed Itachi's Susanoo. The move is a dominant offensive technique. Sasuke cannot use this technique all the time, but when he has enough chakra, it can be a dangerous attack.Can Naruto beat Amaterasu? ›
sage mode naruto doesn't have any kind of defense against the amaterasu or at least not an effective one but there are few ways I can think of.Will sarada be able to use Susanoo? ›
In Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Sasuke Uchiha's daughter, Sarada, might not be able to activate Susanoo as she doesn't have Mangekyo Sharingan in both of her eyes yet. It might sound sad, but it appears that she won't be able to activate the Susanoo.
Type of Hero
Susanoo (須佐之男 (スサノオ), also romanized as Susano-o, Susa-no-O, Susano'o, and Susanowo), also known as Takehaya Susanoo-no-Mikoto (建速須佐之男命) and Kumano Ketsumiko no Kami at Kumano shrine, is the Shinto god of the sea and storms.
According to the Databooks any perfect Susanoo can fly.What is Susanoo's sword called? ›
Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (草薙の剣) is a legendary Japanese sword and one of three Imperial Regalia of Japan. It was originally called Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (天叢雲剣, "Heavenly Sword of Gathering Clouds"), but its name was later changed to the more popular Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi ("Grass-Cutting Sword").Is Tsukuyomi older than Susanoo? ›
His elder siblings, Amaterasu and Tsukuyomi, were also born during this ritual. In the Nihon Shoki, however, Susanoo is the child of both Izanagi and Izanami. Susanoo is also the youngest, born after his siblings Amaterasu and Tsukuyomi.What does enma mean? ›
Enma. (mythology, Shinto) The Japanese name for Yama, the Hindu ,Buddhist and Chinese god who presides over naraku (hell). A deity and/or personification of death.
Shisui used susanoo with only one eye.Can a Susanoo fly? ›
According to the Databooks any perfect Susanoo can fly.Is susano a jutsu? ›
Susanoo, a jutsu used by several Uchihas in the manga and anime series Naruto.Is there a god Susanoo in Naruto? ›
Susanoo, also known as the Tempestuous God of Valour (勇武の荒神, Yūbu no Aragami; ; ; ), is the third ability granted by the Mangekyō Sharingan to those who awaken the abilities Tsukuyomi — which symbolises the "darkness of the spiritual world" and Amaterasu — which denotes the "light of the material world".Who is Amaterasu married to? ›
Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun, and her brother Tsukuyomi, the god of the moon, were married. Because... you know, that's just what ancient gods did. Together, they lived in the heavens.
Susano'o is the brother of Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun, and of Tsukuyomi, the god of the moon.Is Susanoo a chakra mode? ›
Susanoo Chakra Mode is an advanced form of Susanoo, which is used by Kōsui Uchiha. This is the third ability that, Kōsui gained when he awakened his Mangekyō Sharingan. Kōsui is the only one that can awaken the Susanoo Chakra Mode. While this form is active, the user has a chakra shroud over their body.How did Sasuke get Rinnegan? ›
In the Fourth Great Ninja War, Sasuke Uchiha, who was already the reincarnation of Indra Otsutsuki, met Hagoromo after he was in a near-death state. Just as with Naruto, Hagoromo gave half of his chakra to Sasuke, which led to his left Sharingan turning into a Rinnegan.Why can t Kakashi use Susanoo? ›
Kakashi could only make use of Susano when he acquired Obito's chakra. Kakashi does not have the special chakra, so he cannot use Susano on his own or without eyes.Who can stop Amaterasu? ›
Itachi Uchiha, who used it with his right Mangekyō Sharingan, is able to quell the flames to some extent.What jutsu can destroy Susanoo? ›
1. Shuriken whatever jutsu - Has only ever been performed, and also invented by the one and only: Pervy Sage!Who is Amaterasu enemy? ›
Yami is the main antagonist of Ōkami, and considered Amaterasu's archenemy.Can Rinnegan use Amaterasu? ›
In addition to the Rinnegan's power, this eye retains the abilities of Sasuke's left Mangekyō Sharingan, including the ability to cast ocular genjutsu and use Amaterasu.Can Rinnesharingan use Susanoo? ›
Susanoo is a unlocked through MS so having 2 Rinne Sharingan might not do anything. LegionZero wrote: Susanoo is a unlocked through MS so having 2 Rinne Sharingan might not do anything.Can Rinnegan activate Susanoo? ›
Yes. You don't have to have eyes to use susanoo. You just have to unlock mangekyou sharingan.
He can also link up with ten tails in his ten tail Jinchuriki form and immediately take down Kurama without struggling too much. Despite Kurama being the strongest among the nine tailed beasts in the Naruto series, he doesn't stand a chance against Madara.Who killed Madara? ›
Madara is believed to have been killed by Hashirama's hand, but he survives and goes into hiding. He awakens the legendary Eye Technique Rinnegan using Hashirama's DNA. Before dying, Madara takes Obito as his agent and transplants his Rinnegan into Nagato to be preserved for his eventual revival years later.Can Susanoo beat Titan? ›
His susanoo can EASILY kill any titan, even the clossal titan, with one swing.What is Tsukuyomi the god of? ›
Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto (ツクヨミノミコト, 月読命), or simply Tsukuyomi (ツクヨミ, 月読) or Tsukiyomi (ツキヨミ), is the moon god in Japanese mythology and the Shinto religion. The name "Tsukuyomi" is a compound of the Old Japanese words tsuku (月, "moon, month", becoming modern Japanese tsuki) and yomi (読み, "reading, counting").What god is Amaterasu? ›
Amaterasu is the highest deity in Japanese mythology. In the most famous legend about her, she shuts herself away in a cave, bringing disasters to both the world and heaven.What type of god is Amaterasu? ›
Amaterasu (天照), Amaterasu-ōmikami (天照大神／天照大御神／天照皇大神), or Ōhirume-no-muchi-no-kami (大日孁貴神) is a deity of the Japanese myth cycle and also a major deity of the Shinto religion. She is seen as the goddess of the sun and the universe. The name Amaterasu is derived from Amateru and means "shining in heaven".Who is the Thunder God in Japan? ›
Raijin (雷神, lit. "Thunder God"), also known as Kaminari-sama (雷様), Raiden-sama (雷電様), Narukami (鳴る神) Raikou (雷公), and Kamowakeikazuchi-no-kami is a god of lightning, thunder and storms in Japanese mythology and the Shinto religion.Who can break Tsukuyomi? ›
Only an Uchiha with the Sharingan and is very, very skilled with it has a chance or breaking out of Tsukuyomi. Yet databook 2 states: "Concurrently, only those with the sharingan and Kekkei genkai can break out of Tsukuyomi".Who is strongest god? ›
Indra also called Śakra, the supreme god, is the first of the 33, followed by Agni.Is Amaterasu a girl? ›
|Parents||Izanagi (Kojiki) Izanagi and Izanami (Nihon Shoki)|
|Siblings||Tsukuyomi Susanoo (and others)|
|Children||Ame-no-Oshihomimi Ame no Hohi Amatsuhikone Ikutsuhikone Kumanokusubi|
Shinigami (Japanese: 死神, lit. 'kami of death') are kami that invite humans toward death in certain aspects of Japanese religion and culture.Who is Amaterasu's father? ›
She was born from the left eye of her father, Izanagi, who bestowed upon her a necklace of jewels and placed her in charge of Takamagahara (“High Celestial Plain”), the abode of all the kami. One of her brothers, the storm god Susanoo, was sent to rule the sea plain.What eye has Amaterasu? ›
Itachi had Tsukuyomi in his left, and Amaterasu in his right. Sasuke had Amaterasu in his left eye, and could extinguish and control the shape of the flames in his left, as he did during his fight with Killer B, stopping B from being killed by the Amaterasu.Who is the most powerful Japanese god? ›
|Major cult center||Taga Taisha, Izanagi Shrine, Eda Shrine, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, Onokorojima Shrine, Mitsumine Shrine and others|
|Texts||Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, Sendai Kuji Hongi|
Izanagi (イザナギ/伊邪那岐/伊弉諾) or Izanaki (イザナキ), formally known as Izanagi-no-Mikoto (伊邪那岐命/伊弉諾尊, meaning "He-who-invites" or the "Male-who-invites"), is the creator deity (kami) of both creation and life in Japanese mythology.Who is the Japanese god of chaos? ›
Amatsu-Mikaboshi (天津甕星) is the God of Evil, Chaos and the Stars to the followers of the Shinto religion in Japan.What does 3 Tomoe mean? ›
This specific Tomoe is called a Mitsudomoe, a three-fold Tomoe, and is perhaps one of the most widely recognisable. Some believe it to be the representation of the threefold division (man, earth and sky) at the heart of Shintoism, while a Buddhist variant is called the Hidari Gomon and symbolises the cycle of life.