Amaterasu, or Amaterasu-omikami, is the goddess of the sun, the universe and the High Celestial Plain from which all kami descend. She is a major kami and a central figure in Shinto. According to legend, the Emperors of Japan are descended from Amaterasu, and this was once used as justification for their reign. Amaterasu is the daughter of Izanami and Izanagi, born from her father Izanagi’s left eye.
Izanami and Izanagi
Izanami and Izanagi are central to the Shinto creation myth. Legend has it that this god and goddess stirred the seas with a spear, and the mud which dripped from the tip became the first island of Japan. The other islands were just some of the couple’s hundreds of offspring, most of which would become the various kami recognized by the Shinto belief system.