Asteroids In Ancient Japanese Myths: What We Know

  1. Introduction
  2. The Role of Asteroids in Ancient Japanese Myths
    1. The Story of Susanoo and Orochi
    2. The Deity of Fire, Kagutsuchi
  3. The Influence of Asteroids in Ancient Japanese Culture
    1. Shinto Shrines
    2. Astrology
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Conclusion
  6. Additional Resources


Asteroids are celestial objects that have captivated the imaginations of people from various cultures and throughout time. Japan, with its rich cultural heritage, is no exception. Ancient Japanese myths speak of gods and goddesses that had an association with these space rocks. But what do we know about asteroids in ancient Japanese beliefs and how did they impact the culture and history of Japan? Let's dive deep into this fascinating world of asteroids in ancient Japanese myths.

The Role of Asteroids in Ancient Japanese Myths

During ancient times, the Japanese believed that asteroids were celestial beings who influenced their lives

The Story of Susanoo and Orochi

Susanoo was a powerful god in ancient Japanese mythology, associated with storms and the sea. One of his most famous feats was slaying the eight-headed serpent Orochi. The tale describes Orochi as a menacing creature that terrorized villagers and demanded young maidens as sacrifices. In the story, Susanoo sought to vanquish the serpent and he used a sword called the Totsuka-no-Tsurugi, which was said to have been crafted from an asteroid. This sword is also referred to as Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi, or the "Sword of Gathering Clouds of Heaven."

The Deity of Fire, Kagutsuchi

Kagutsuchi, also known as Hi-no-Kagutsuchi, was the god of fire in ancient Japanese mythology. He was born when Izanagi, one of the primary gods of creation, washed his face following his journey to the underworld. Kagutsuchi's birth was said to have caused his mother's death, as she could not withstand the heat of his flames. Kagutsuchi then went on to become a symbol of destruction and purification, and it is believed by some that his connection with fire may have been influenced by asteroids that fell to Earth as meteorites.

The Influence of Asteroids in Ancient Japanese Culture

An ancient warrior stands amidst a field of flowers, gazing up at the night sky

Shinto Shrines

Shintoism is an ancient Japanese religion that focuses on the worship of gods, spirits, and ancestors. Many Shinto shrines in Japan feature large rocks that are said to represent the kami or spirits associated with them. These rocks are often considered to be sacred objects that hold divine power within them. In some cases, these rocks are believed to be asteroids that have fallen to Earth and are seen as a physical manifestation of the deities they represent.


Ancient Japanese astrology was heavily influenced by the movement of celestial objects, and it is believed that asteroids were included in their astronomical observations. The Japanese zodiac, known as Juni Shi, identifies twelve animal signs assigned to each year in a twelve-year cycle. It is believed that each animal sign has a corresponding asteroid or celestial body that influences the characteristics of that year. For example, the year 2021 (which is the Year of the Ox) is believed to be influenced by asteroid Vesta, which represents focus, dedication, and hard work.

Frequently Asked Questions

A strikingly beautiful celestial body with a red aura captures the imagination in this highly detailed, 8k resolution photograph
  • Did ancient Japanese myths believe asteroids had any special powers?

    Asteroids were believed to have a strong connection to the gods and goddesses in ancient Japanese mythology. They were seen as manifestations of divine power and were also thought to bring good luck and prosperity.

  • Are there any notable examples of asteroids in Japanese art?

    Yes, there are many examples of asteroids in Japanese art. For example, the famous painting "Red Fuji" by Katsushika Hokusai depicts Mount Fuji with a shooting star in the sky that is believed to represent an asteroid.

  • What impact did these beliefs have on Japanese culture and history?

    The association between asteroids and divine power influenced many aspects of ancient Japanese culture, from religious practices to art and astrology.

  • Are there any modern-day beliefs about asteroids in Japan?

    While ancient Japanese myths and beliefs surrounding asteroids are not widely practiced today, the cultural significance of these celestial objects lives on in various forms such as art, anime, and manga.

  • How have modern-day discoveries of asteroids impacted our understanding of ancient Japanese myths?

    Modern-day discoveries of asteroids have provided insights into the origins and composition of these space rocks, which has allowed us to gain a better understanding of how they may have been interpreted in ancient Japanese mythology.


The role of asteroids in ancient Japanese myths is just one example of the extensive ways that celestial objects have influenced cultures throughout history. The tales of Susanoo and Orochi and Kagutsuchi are reminders of how the ancient Japanese viewed asteroids as symbols of divine power. These myths influenced many aspects of Japanese culture and history and continue to be appreciated in various forms today. We hope this article has given you a deeper appreciation for the role of asteroids in ancient Japanese culture, and encourages you to learn more about the fascinating world of asteroids.

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Additional Resources

An breathtaking view of a colossal asteroid, 4

If you want to discover more articles similar to Asteroids In Ancient Japanese Myths: What We Know, you can visit the Asteroid Mythology category.

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