The Most Popular Japanese Mythology, Ranked

Choose the mythology you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 25, 2024 07:00
Japanese mythology has a rich tapestry of stories, characters, and themes, each holding a unique place in the cultural and spiritual history of Japan. These tales have been passed down through generations, evolving with time to reflect the values and lessons important to society. Understanding which myths resonate most can provide insights into the shifting cultural landscape and current societal values. By casting your vote on these stories, you help to highlight the ones that have the greatest impact and relevance today. This dynamic ranking not only serves as a bridge connecting the past with the present but also engages a community of enthusiasts and scholars in a collective task. Your participation shapes the ongoing narrative of which myths are most captivating and why.

What Is the Most Popular Japanese Mythology?

  1. 1
    28
    votes

    Amaterasu

    The sun goddess and one of the principal Shinto deities.
    • Domain: Sun and Universe
    • Significance: Ancestor of the Imperial Household of Japan
  2. 2
    21
    votes

    Tsukuyomi

    The moon god, born from Izanagi's right eye.
    • Domain: Moon
    • Relationship: Brother of Amaterasu and Susanoo
  3. 3
    16
    votes

    Susanoo

    The storm god and brother to Amaterasu, known for slaying the eight-headed dragon Orochi.
    • Domain: Sea and Storms
    • Notable Myth: Defeating Yamata no Orochi
  4. 4
    10
    votes

    Kappa

    Water creatures known for their mischievous behavior and interaction with humans.
    • Habitat: Rivers and ponds
    • Weakness: Politeness
  5. 5
    5
    votes

    Izanagi and Izanami

    The divine couple who created the Japanese archipelago and various deities.
    • Creation: Japanese islands and gods
    • Story: Underworld and birth of fire god
  6. 6
    4
    votes

    Tengu

    Legendary creatures found in Japanese folk religion, often considered protectors of the mountains and forests.
    • Appearance: Human-bird like
    • Abilities: Martial arts masters
  7. 7
    0
    votes

    Yokai

    A class of supernatural monsters, spirits, and demons in Japanese folklore.
    • Variety: Wide range of appearances and behaviors
    • Famous Examples: Kitsune, Oni, Yuki-onna
  8. 8
    0
    votes

    Raijin and Fujin

    Gods of lightning/thunder and wind, respectively, known for their fearsome appearance.
    • Domain: Weather
    • Appearance: Demon-like
  9. 9
    0
    votes

    Yamata no Orochi

    A legendary eight-headed and eight-tailed dragon defeated by the storm god Susanoo.
    • Defeated By: Susanoo
    • Symbolism: Chaos and disaster
  10. 10
    0
    votes

    Inari

    The god of rice, fertility, and foxes, worshipped at numerous shrines across Japan.
    • Symbols: Foxes
    • Number of Shrines: More than one-third of Shinto shrines in Japan

Missing your favorite mythology?

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Japanese mythology. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or mythology is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!

Statistics

  • 2120 views
  • 84 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each mythology once every 24 hours. The rank of each mythology is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

Additional Information

More about the Most Popular Japanese Mythology

Amaterasu
Rank #1 for the most popular Japanese mythology: Amaterasu (Source)
Japanese mythology has a rich history. It blends folklore, legends, and religious beliefs. These stories have shaped the culture and traditions of Japan. They come from two main religions: Shinto and Buddhism. Shinto is the native faith of Japan. It focuses on nature and ancestor worship. Buddhism came to Japan from China and Korea. It brought new tales and ideas.

In Shinto, many gods and spirits exist. They are called kami. Kami can be found in natural elements like mountains, rivers, and trees. They can also be ancestors or historical figures. People worship these kami at shrines. Rituals and festivals honor them. These practices keep the connection between humans and kami strong.

Buddhism added a new layer to Japanese mythology. It introduced concepts like karma and rebirth. Buddhist deities and bodhisattvas joined the pantheon of spirits. Stories from Buddhist texts mixed with local legends. This created a unique blend of beliefs.

Japanese mythology often features themes of creation and destruction. These stories explain the origins of the world and the cycles of nature. They also teach moral lessons. Heroes and villains show the struggle between good and evil. Many myths involve quests or challenges. The characters must prove their worth or learn important truths.

Animals play a big role in Japanese mythology. They often have special powers or symbolic meanings. Foxes, for example, are seen as messengers of the gods. They can bring good fortune or mischief. Other animals like dragons, snakes, and birds also appear in many tales.

Mythological creatures in Japan are diverse. Some are benevolent and protect humans. Others are malevolent and cause harm. These beings can be spirits, demons, or transformed humans. They reflect the dual nature of the world, where good and bad coexist.

Seasonal changes influence Japanese myths. Stories often align with the natural cycle of the year. Spring, summer, fall, and winter each have their own festivals and rituals. These events celebrate the harvest, honor the dead, or mark the new year. They connect people to the rhythms of nature.

Mythology in Japan is not static. It evolves with time. New stories emerge, and old ones adapt. Modern media like manga, anime, and film draw on these ancient myths. They bring them to a new audience. This keeps the mythology alive and relevant.

Japanese mythology continues to inspire art, literature, and daily life. It shapes the way people see the world and their place in it. The stories are passed down through generations, keeping the culture rich and vibrant.

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