- The Way of the Gods
"Shinto -- La via degli dei," Arya,
no. 4 (July 1980). Trans. Guido
Stucco. Savitri Devi's essay "Shinto -- The Way of the Gods"
was written in English in
According to the multi-millennial Japanese tradition, in very ancient times there was once an immense ocean (ironically destined to be called the "Pacific" Ocean), which seemed endless: from one end to the other of the horizon, one could only see water and sky!
Above this immense body of water there was only a light and narrow "bridge." The gods used to go to this bridge to observe and admire the beauty and breadth of this ocean. One of these gods, Izana-Gi, tired of observing the ocean from high above, lowered his spear towards the water and slightly stirred it. After raising the spear he noticed that some mud, attached to the tip of the spear, fell back into the water. This was how the first "island" appeared on earth.
After this, Izana-Gi built a ladder and lowered himself from the "heavenly bridge" onto the ground. He then proceeded to build a small round house for himself and his wife, Izana-Mi, in which they began to meet.
Soon Izana-Mi had some children, who unfortunately turned out to be a disappointment. They were all different from each other and appeared to be weak, unworthy of a divine couple. A general assembly of the gods was gathered to look into the problem and to find the cause of such a failure. The gods asked the couple: "When you get together, who gets to talk first?"
Izana-Mi immediately replied: "Me, obviously"
One of the gods remarked: "This is a serious violation of the rule regulating Rites! A woman should never speak first, since this is one of man's duties and privileges. No wonder your children are not what they ought to be."
The couple followed the advice of the gods to the letter, and soon their
children changed for the better, becoming beautiful and strong, worthy heirs of
their divine legacy. Izana-Mi did not just give birth to children, but also
became the mother of four thousand islands, big and small, which eventually
Everything went smoothly till the day when Izana-Mi gave birth to the god of fire. Due to the very nature of this god, the goddess died a fiery death when he was born. Her body was taken to the netherworld, the dwelling of the dead. Her husband, Izana-Gi, descended into these lower regions to reclaim his wife's body from the Lords of these regions. As soon as he arrived, he was ordered to wait before the door beyond which laid the body of the goddess.
After waiting for a long time for the door to open, he committed a forbidden act and opened the fatal door himself. Immediately he smelled the smell of death! This experience had a negative effect on Izana-Gi, and right away he decided to rise up to the "world of the living." Nevertheless, he felt impure for having been in contact with the powers of decay and death. Having reached the river Kamo, he decided to take a bath and took off the fourteen layers of his clothes.
While he was washing himself, suddenly some divine beings emerged from the water. At the same time, those fourteen layers became themselves gods. The water that he used to wash his left eye became the Lunar God, while the water he used to wash his right eye became the Solar Goddess, Amaterasu.  The water he used to wash his nostrils became the God of Wind and Storms, Susa-no-wo.
Susa-no-wo was an evil god. He loved to torment the Solar Goddess with all kinds of tricks. One day, after causing the carcass of a dead animal to fall on the head of Amaterasu from the top of the ceiling in a room she was working in, Amaterasu decided she had had enough of Susa-no-wo's pranks. She withdrew, feeling very angry, inside a cave and blocked the entrance with a huge stone. Despite the prayers and supplications to be forgiven, Susa-no-wo did not succeed in changing Amaterasu's mind. She remained in the cave, refusing to come out.
Because of this, there was no longer light on earth. Everywhere darkness reigned, and the earth no longer produced good fruits: crops were lost and life itself was in danger for lack of solar light.
The gods were desperate and did not know how to solve this serious problem. At last, one of them, a goddess, had an inspiration. Knowing that Amaterasu was naturally curious, she approached the entrance of the cave and improvised a rather funny and indecent dance, arousing laughter among the gods. Amaterasu wanted to know the reason for this general hilarity and came close to the entrance of the cave to understand what was going on outside. She peeked through an opening between the cave and the huge stone blocking the entrance, but she could hardly see anything. Then she tried to use her mirror to get a better look. The other goddess, outside, slowly began to walk away from the entrance, forcing Amaterasu to stick her head out. Suddenly the gods jumped on her and pulled her out of the cave by her head, forcing her to leave her hiding place. At that point the light returned on earth.
On his part, Susa-no-wo decided to leave the residence of the gods and just like many other divine heroes who lived on earth, he became a monster-slayer. One day he saw a huge dragon about to devour a young maid. He came to her rescue right away and killed the dragon. He eventually married her and became the forefather of several large Japanese noble families. Knowing that the dragon had a sword inside his stomach, Susa-no-wo cut it open and claimed it for himself. 
Amaterasu wanted to give
His son, Jimmu-Tenno, was the first "historical" Emperor of
Japan. His dynasty has ruled without interruption from then on. Jimmu-Tenno
enjoyed a long reign; however his rule is measured in "years" rather
than in "centuries," as in the case of his predecessors. According to
Japanese tradition he came to power on
At the same time a Greek traveller named Eudoros landed on the southern
We have already mentioned the Jewel, the Sword and the Mirror. With
these objects endowed with a magical and divine power, the Empress Jingo
In 1941, the imperial government sent an official delegation to this
temple, in order to ask the national gods: "Should we declare war on the
The American occupation, which lasted several years, never completely
broke the spirit of
There are several unforgettable texts and poems that express this Shinto
spirit embodied in the life of Japanese people. These texts talk about the
supreme detachment exhibited in every action of the lives of the members of the
national Japanese cult. Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the great warrior and administrator
who built the famous fortress of
There are several popular sayings that illustrate the Shinto spirit, such as this: "Be like the sakura (the cherry's blossom) when its time to fall and die comes. When the storm will shake the tree, you will surely fall and die. But you will fall and die gracefully."
The Japanese people knew how to "fall gracefully" in the course of their history. Nevertheless, they always knew how to save face and to live by their values. We cannot remember without admiration the famous kamikaze pilots, young men who volunteered to die aboard their planes which became "flying bombs." These young people immolated themselves on American war ships and especially on aircraft-carriers. We ought to remember their attacks on the aircraft carriers "Repulse" and "Prince of Wales." I was told that these pilots were anxious to reach the "great day" of their sacrifice; as their final day drew closer they became increasingly happy to donate their lives for their Country and their Emperor. In their last thoughts they remembered their brief lives and their loyalty to the Rising Sun, which was embodied in the solar dynasty of the Emperors. Before crashing they cried for the last time their war cry which aptly expressed their state of mind: "Heike Tenno Banzai!"  Then, calmly and firmly, they guided their airplanes loaded with high explosives onto the enemy targets that had been chosen to be hit and destroyed.
Shinto scriptures, particularly the Kojiki (The Book of the
Gods) and the text known as the Nihongi (The Book of the Emperors),
written around 720 A.D., eight years after the compilation of the Kojiki),
dedicated to various leaders and Emperors (who, according to national
tradition, were children of the sun), were written during the reign of the
Emperor Jimmu, in the eighth century. Shinto took its shape as a religion of
nature and of heroes thanks to two great Japanese scholars, Maturi and Hirata. When
One of the first policies of the American occupational government was to
prohibit the teaching, in all the schools of
We too would have been able to faithfully honor our fallen comrades if
our Princes and Kings, a long time ago, beginning with the fifth all the way to
the fifteenth century in Prussia, would not have imposed Christianity, through
sheer force, on our Aryan populations. Do not forget, dear Japanese friends,
that Aryans, before being converted, were "worshippers of the Sun,"
faithful followers of the cult of heroes, blood and soil, just like you! One of
your fellow countrymen, who worked at the Japanese Embassy in
 The solar character of the religious tradition of Japanese Shinto is
embodied in the divine figure of the emperor, believed to be of heavenly
origins. He is regarded as a direct descendant of the goddess Amaterasu, whose
solar character is found throughout the entire religious tradition of
 The sword, together with a mirror and a jewel are sacred symbols still employed in Shinto rituals.
 The meaning of this expression is: "May the Emperor live ten thousand years!"
 For a complete description of how these so-called Japanese "war criminals" died, see the French translation of La voie de l'Eternité (1973), by Pierre Pascal, of Shinsho Hanayama's book The Way of Eternity. This author spent time with these heroes of the Rising Sun during the last months of their lives.
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