- 学習院大学人文科学論集 = Gakushuin University studies in humanities (ISSN:09190791)
- no.24, pp.187-226, 2015-10
This report is about the description of private parts in Japanese mythology.Japanese mythology has a lot of stories about female private parts.The fi rst time this appeared is the scene when Izanami gave birth to Kagutsuchi who is the god of fi re. Due to this,Izanami’s private part is burned and dies. This is the origin of fi re story, Izanami is believed as mother goddess. There was faith that mother goddess gave birth to something valuable for humans in the ancient age.Originally, private parts relate to giving birth and living. However in this story, it relates to death as well as in O-getsuhime and Ukemochi stories described below.After the deaths of O-getsuhime and Ukemochi, grains grow from some parts of their corpses including their private parts.They are mother goddess and ancient people believed that mother goddess gave fertility after they were killed. We can see the same belief in Dogu and bowl in Jomon era, and in the background of Izanami’s story.In the story of Yamatototohimomosohime, female private part relate to death as well. Since Yamatototohimomosohime broke a taboo, she cannot get married to O-mononushi. In which she dies by getting a chopstick stabbed in her private part.There is a similar story in Ama-no-iwayado mythology also. It is a story of Hataorime, who dies due to her job tool shuttle stabbed in her private part.Yamatototohimomosohime’s death means retaliation and Hataorime’s death is what causes the story of Amaterasu to hide in the iwayado. Both deaths include negative elements, the deaths are not normal. Thus, when female private parts are broken, it symbolized a negative death for goddesses. This is because female private parts symbolize life itself and woman.Breaking female private parts means stopping life and negative death to denial woman.However, in the Ninuriya mythology, stabbing the private part causes birth. Due to a red arrow stabbing Seyadatarahime’s private part, she becomes pregnant. In this story, red arrow means male private part, and female private part relate to life.Since female private part relates to life originally, the story of stabbing female private part in which caused death was made paradoxically.Amenouzume’ s story is one of the most famous for female private part story. In the story, female private part has exorcism power, in which she exposes her private part to make the gods laugh. This then led to Amaterasu to come out from the iwayado. The female private part in this story means women’s holy power. However, in the background of the story the gods laugh at the female private part show, that there is male society and thought that men believed women’s holy power.On the other hand, there is no story about male private parts.Although, in the jomon era, Japanese ancient people made many stone fi gures that were shaped in male private parts. The male private part fi gure, Sekibo symbolized energy and god who can bless bad spirits. Male symbol was believed as a single existence, are independent from the male's body. It was not faith in men but in the private part. That is why there are no stories which god’s private parts were emphasized.However in the ancient times, there was no culture to make fi gures of female private parts. Dogu is famous for women’s body statue, but there are seldom representations of the private parts. Dogu has breasts and represents of pregnancy. It is bound for the faith of mother goddess. Due to this, the faith of mother goddess is from not the female private parts, but the mother goddess’s body.Though, it was believed that female private parts held holy power, the two beliefs had seemed to coexist.In order to show the coexistence, the classifi cation of “ideal woman” and “actual woman” that Kazuo Matsumura advocated was used. Amaterasu who is a virgin goddess is pure and clean, who represents the ideal woman. On the other hand, Izanami who experienced pregnancy, dead world, divorce represents an actual woman. These images were made by male society. Izanami gave birth by using female private part as an actual woman and not as mother goddess. The belief in mother goddess gives birth something valuable for human is in goddess body.Ukemochi and O-getsuhime mythologies are the origins of agriculture story. In these stories, female private parts appear,but there is no special meaning. They are mother goddess and give birth to something valuable, but there is no individual belief for female private parts.However people believed that private parts held holy power. In the ancient era, there was faith that women held holy power, in their female private parts which symbolized women.Then, Breaking the symbol of living and women, causes goddess’s negative death. Yamatotohimomosohime and Hataorime mythologies express this. Breaking private parts what are originally giving birth causes death. When they died a negative death, their private parts, which symbolized of women’s holy power, were broken. By doing so, this made a denial their dignity.On the other hand, Seyadatarahime’s Ninuriya story is simply about sex and birth. Sometimes people believed female private parts as use for reproduction, and it did not relate to faith in mother goddess and fertility.Izanami’s story is complexly structured. It is made from three elements, 1) primitive faith that mother goddess gave birth to god of fi re, 2) actual women who gave birth by using her female private part, 3) negative death by breaking the female private part, and it bound for uncleanness of death. Izanami gave birth as mother goddess, but the giving birth by using female private part is not derived from the personality of mother goddess. It is as an actual woman, and, the private part was a “device that is broke” to denial woman.Female private parts in Japanese mythology means symbol of living that is from the function, moreover, it means woman’s symbol. People believed that women’s holy power is in female private parts.Female and male private parts cannot be represented as a whole. This is due to the different beliefs in which the ancient people held.