The Gods and Goddesses of Japan
Shinto (the Way of the Gods) was the original religion in Japan and had no written literature before the arrival of the Buddhists.  All true Japanese mythology comes from this religion.  Shinto teaches that every natural thing, human, animate or inanimate, has a spirit in various degrees of vitality and strength.

The most popular creation myth concerns three beings who arose out of the primeval oily ocean mass.  All that is known about these beings is that they produced generations of Gods and Goddesses, one pair of which was called Izanagi and Izanami.  They came down to earth on a rainbow, but no land to land on.  Izanagi stirred the ocean with his spear and the drops from the tip formed the island of Ono-koro.  There the brother and sister married.  They learned the art of lovemaking by watching two water birds.  Their offspring included the rest of the islands of Japan, waterfalls, mountains, trees, herbs, and the wind.  The last to be born was the god of fire, whose birthing killed Izanami.


The Gods and Goddesses

Ama no Uzume
Description:  Fertility goddess who performed teh lewd dance to draw Amaterasu out of the cave.
Rules Over:  Good crops.

Amaterasu
Description:  Guardian of the Japanese people, ruler of all deities.  One of her tasks was to weave sacred robes for the gods, a habit kept alive today by modern Shinto priestesses.
Rules Over:  Warmth, harvest, love, fertility, goodness, wisdom, peace, light, compassion.

Ama-Tsu-Kami
Description:  Name given to the Gods of Heaven to distinguish them from the gods of the Earth (who are called the Kuni-Tsu-Kami).

Amida-nyorai
Other Names:  Amida.
Description:  A form of the Buddha.
Rules Over:  Protection, forgiveness.

Benten
Other Names:  Benzaiten.
Description:  Only goddess of good luck.
Rules Over:  Protection from earthquakes, inspiration and talent, wealth and romance.

Chimati no Kami
Descriptoin:  God of crossroads and footpaths.
Rules Over:  Fertility.

Emma-hoo
Other Names:  Emma-o.
Description:  Male Ruler of the Underworld.
Rules Over:  Death, revenge, destruction.

Fugen Bosatsu
Description:  A God.
Rules Over:  Enlightening wisdom, intelligence, understanding, intuition, long life.

Hachiman
Description:  Diefied historical figure after his death.
Rules Over:  War, battle, bravery, honor, success in personal matters.

Haya-ji
Other Names:  Haya-tsu-mujo no Kami.
Description:  God of the winds.
Rules Over:  Winds, whirlwinds.

Ida-ten
Description:  Guardian of the Law.
Rules Over:  Justice, law, victory, purity.

Inari
Description:  Goddess, sometimes a god, of rice.
Rules Over:  Shopkeepers, merchants, business, prosperity, smithing, sword blades.

Ishikore-dome
Description:  Stone-Coagulating Old Woman who was a smith-goddess who created the first mirror from copper stones out of the Isuzu River.
Rules Over:  Smithing, creativity, creation.

Izanagi
Description:  Creator God, earth God, Male Principle.
Rules Over:  Magick.

Izanami
Description:  Divine Mother, Earth Goddess, Female Principle.
Rules Over:  Magick.

Jizo Bosatsu
Description:  Protector of Mankind.  Rescues souls from hell.
Rules Over:  Children, the dead, comfort, rescue, counsel for the dead, protection from evil.

Kannon Bosatsu
Other Names:  Kannon, Kwannon.
Description:  Male form of the Chinese Kuan Yin.
Rules Over:  Mercy, compassion.

Kaya nu Hima
Description:  Goddess of herbs.
Rules Over:  Herbs.

Kishi-Mojin
Other Names:  Kishimo-Hin.
Description:  Protectress of children, Universal Mother.
Rules Over:  Compassion, childbirth, life, balance, fertility.

Kono-hana-sakuya-hime
Description:  Goddess of the cherry tree.
Rules Over:  Cherry trees.

Nai no Kami
Description:  God of earthquakes.
Rules Over:  Earthquakes.

Naru-Kami
Other Names:  Kami-Naru.
Description:  Goddess of thunder.
Rules Over:  Thunder, protection, treese, artisans.

O-kuni-nushi
Other Names:  Okuninushi.
Description:  Earth God.
Rules Over:  Medicine, sorcery, cunning, self-realization.

O-Ryu
Description:  Goddess of the willow tree.
Rules Over:  Willow Trees.

O-wata-tsumi
Other Names:  Shio-zuchi.
Description:  Most important sea deities.
Rules Over:  The ocean tides and sea creatures.

O-Yama-tsu-mi
Description:  First and most important of eight mountain gods.
Rules Over:  All mountains and volcanoes.

Rafu-sen
Description:  Goddess of the plum blossoms.
Rules Over:  Plum blossoms.

Sae no Kami
Description:  Name for the guardian gods of the roads.
Rules Over:  Protection from misfortune.

Sakyamuni
Other Names:  Shaka-nyorai.
Description:  Japanese name for the Buddha.
Rules Over:  Virtue, enlightenment, self-realization.

Shichi Fukujin
Other Names:  Shichi-Kukujin.
Description:  The Seven Gods of Happiness.
Their Names:  Ebisu (patron of work), Daikoku (prosperity), Benzaiten (love), Bishamonten (happiness and war), Fukurokuju (happiness and long life), Juojin (happiness and long life), Hotei Osho (good fortune).

Susanoo
Other Names:  Susanowo.
Description:  Mischief making god of storm and thunder.
Rules Over:  Agriculture, earthquakes, rain, storms, snakes, bravery, the seas, trees.

Toyota Mahime
Description:  Sea Goddess.

Uso-Dori
Description:  Goddess of singing who appears in the shape of a bullfinch.