Ōkuninushi’s Nation-Building

This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series Japanese Mythology

Ōkuninushi’s Nation-Building

Ōkuninushi is a pivotal deity in Japanese mythology, known as the god of nation-building. His story is a heroic saga of overcoming numerous trials and challenges, as detailed in ancient texts like the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki.

Ōkuninushi is a descendant of Susanoo-no-Mikoto and is famed for his efforts in building the nation, particularly centered around the land of Izumo. His nation-building involved collaboration and conflict with many other deities, during which he displayed great wisdom and bravery.

Trials and Assistance

Throughout his nation-building journey, Ōkuninushi faced numerous trials. For instance, his jealous brothers frequently plotted against him, seeking to take his life. However, he always found assistance and managed to overcome these challenges.

A notable episode is when Ōkuninushi underwent trials set by Susanoo-no-Mikoto. To survive these trials, he received help from Susanoo’s daughter, Suserihime. Together, they overcame the challenges, showcasing the importance of cooperation and intelligence.

Marriages and Descendants

Ōkuninushi married several deities, resulting in the birth of many gods through his descendants. His most renowned wife is Suserihime, with whom he had many children. He also married Yagami-hime and had children with her as well.

The Ceding of the Nation

A significant episode in Ōkuninushi’s nation-building is the “Ceding of the Nation” (Kuniyuzuri). When Amaterasu’s grandson, Ninigi-no-Mikoto, descended to the earth, Ōkuninushi agreed to peacefully transfer his nation. He handed over his domain to his son, Takemikazuchi, ensuring a smooth transition.

Izumo Taisha

Ōkuninushi is enshrined at Izumo Taisha, one of Japan’s most important and revered shrines. The shrine honors Ōkuninushi’s monumental contributions to nation-building and remains a significant pilgrimage site, attracting worshippers from across Japan.

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