Hiromi Itō

Hiromi Itō and Jeffrey Angles

'Birthing the World,' from the Kojiki

A portion of 'Izanami and Izanagi Creating the Japanese Islands' by Kobayashi Eitaku, mid-1880s, ink and color on silk, 49 5/8 x 21 1/2" (126 x 54.6 cm), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

[The Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) is the oldest chronicle ever produced in Japan, compiled in the years 711–12 CE by the court noble Ō no Yasumaro at the request of the Empress Genmei, who reigned 707 to 715 CE. It begins with the creation of the world, describing the actions of the gods and goddesses as they create the earth and society, then it connects these myths to the earliest history of the Japanese nation. Among the most important of these stories is the tale of Izanami and Izanagi, the first gods to descend to earth.

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