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Yomi (Japanese underworld)

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Countess Erzebeth Bathory
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:28 am

Yomi

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Yomi, the Japanese word for the underworld in which horrible creatures guard the exits. According to Shinto mythology as related in Kojiki, this is where the dead go to exist and rot forever. When one eats at the hearth of Yomi it is impossible to return to the land of the living. Yomi is similar to Hades or Hell. In the Shintoist tradition, Yomi is known because Izanami retreated to that place after her death. Izanagi followed her there and when he returned, he washed himself, creating Amaterasu, Susanoo, and Tsukuyomi.

Yomi is different from Christian Hell in that all souls go there, no matter their actions in life; and one doesn't receive punishment for evils made when alive. It is a dirty and polluted place. In Japanese tradition, pollution is usually associated to evil. By the tradition of Kojiki, Yomi is usually believed to be underground, and its entrance to be located in Izumo province.


Izumo

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This is where Izumo is located.

 
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:30 am
Izanami and Izangi


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Izanagi lamented the death of Izanami and undertook a journey to Yomi ("the shadowy land of the dead"). Quickly, he searched for Izanami and found her. At first, Izanagi could not see her at all for the shadows hid her appearance well. Nevertheless, he asked her to return with him. Izanami spat out at him, informing Izanagi that he was too late. She had already eaten the food of the underworld and was now one with the land of the dead. She could no longer return to the living.

Izanagi was shocked at this news but he refused to give in to her wishes of being left to the dark embrace of Yomi. While Izanami was sleeping, he took the comb that bound his long hair and set it alight as a torch. Under the sudden burst of light, he saw the horrid form of the once beautiful and graceful Izanami. She was now a rotting form of flesh with maggots and foul creatures running over her ravaged body.

Crying out loud, Izanagi could no longer control his fear and started to run, intending to return to the living and abandon his death-ridden wife. Izanami woke up shrieking and indignant and chased after him. Wild shikome (foul women) also hunted for the frightened Izanagi, instructed by Izanami to bring him back.

Izanagi burst out of the entrance and quickly pushed a boulder in the mouth of the Yomotsuhirasaka (黄泉津平坂) (cavern that was the entrance of Yomi). Izanami screamed from behind this impenetrable barricade and told Izanagi that if he left her she would destroy 1,000 residents of the living every day. He furiously replied he would give life to 1,500.

The story has strong parallels with the Greek Myths of Orpheus and Eurydice, as well as to the myth of Persephone and Demeter, the Maya Myth of Itzamna and Ix Chel, and the Akkadian/Sumerian myth of Inanna's Descent to the Underworld. The Shikome, for instance, are parallel to the Maenads who tore Orpheus to pieces.
 

Countess Erzebeth Bathory
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:44 am
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