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Finally, the crown prince smiled, and the class beamed. Outside that schoolroom — in a flimsy building with muddy floors — much more than a name hung in the balance. Only a year had passed since Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the end of a war in which tens of millions of people had been killed, including more than three million Japanese. Tokyo was in ruins, with much of its population living in shanties. Akihito, a lonely child raised by chamberlains and nursemaids since age 3, had spent the final year of the war outside the city to escape the Allied bombing. Not long after the Nazi surrender, a napalm raid set the imperial compound ablaze.
On a summer morning a few months later, the chamberlains ushered him into a small room in the hotel where they were hiding. His father was on the radio. It was the first time the Japanese people had heard his voice. After the broadcast, Akihito wiped away tears. We worried they might kill him. In the United States and other Allied nations, pressure mounted for Hirohito to be indicted as a war criminal.
Leading intellectuals in Japan called on him to set a moral example by stepping down. Some members of the royal family urged him to abdicate and let young Akihito take the Chrysanthemum Throne under the supervision of a regent. The prince could not be blamed for the war, they argued, and that would limit American leverage over the monarchy and protect it. MacArthur had other ideas.
The brash general enjoyed almost unchecked authority in Japan and, early on, he decided to spare Hirohito — and to use him. With a presidential run in mind, MacArthur saw the emperor as key to demilitarizing Japan and remaking it as a democratic nation. And so the royal family escaped prosecution. The monarchy, of course, had to change.
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A new Constitution stripped the emperor of his divine status and made him a figurehead. And Akihito would be groomed as a conduit to transmit the values the Americans intended to reshape Japan. Vining was selected in part because she was a Quaker — a circle of Japanese Quakers surrounded the royal family — and a widow. Then and now, there were people unhappy with her appointment. He is also associated with the wind and the sea and in more recent times has become associated with love and marriage.
The god was born when his father Izanagi washed his nose in the river Woto whilst performing ritual cleansing rites following his experience in the underworld. Initially, Susanoo ruled the Takama no Hara High Celestial Plain with his sister Amaterasu but from the very beginning, Susanoo caused trouble by destroying forests and mountains and killing local inhabitants down on earth. For this reason he was banished from heaven. Giving a last farewell to his sister, the storm god once again caused great destruction on his way to the palace of the sun and even the very mountains trembled in his wake.
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At this, Amaterasu was convinced her brother was up to no good but when challenged, Susanoo claimed he merely wanted to say goodbye and to prove his good intentions he said that if he could miraculously bring into the world five new deities and they turned out to be male, it would prove his honesty. Susanoo then took the jewel necklace of his sister, ate them and spat them out as a mist from which five male deities were born. Full of exuberant joy at having won his challenge with his sister, Susanoo went on another wild rampage in celebration.
Once again, trees were destroyed and so too many rice-fields. Then, to add insult to injury, in a rather tasteless joke Susanoo flayed a divine horse and threw it through the roof of the palace where Amaterasu was quietly weaving. Susanoo, perhaps not unjustly, was immediately exiled from heaven. In some accounts Susanoo took up residence with his mother Izanami in Yomi , the underworld, in other versions he rules the realm of the seas. Descending to the earthly realm, Susanoo landed at Tori-kami in the province of Izumo and whilst wandering along the river Hi, the god was arrested by the sound of weeping.
Investigating further, Susanoo found three pitiful figures - an old man and woman and their beautiful young daughter - all sobbing uncontrollably and absolutely terrified by something. Now the distressed parents were down to their last daughter, Kusha-nada-hime.
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Susanoo struck a bargain with them that if he killed the monster he could marry the beautiful girl. After a while, the monstrous serpent duly arrived with fire spitting from each of his eight heads. When the fearsome creature smelt the sake, it could not resist and each head drank from one of the cups.
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This sword, he presented to his sister, no doubt by way of apology for his earlier misdeeds. The sword was then given by Amaterasu to her grandson Ninigi who was the first ancestor of the Japanese imperial family and it became a part of the imperial regalia, preserved in the temple of Atsuta near Nagoya. Despite his reputation as a bit of a bad boy amongst the Shinto gods, Susanoo is credited with giving certain cultural gifts to mankind, including agriculture.
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He is also credited with founding the ruling dynasty in Izumo, through his son-in- law Oho-kuni-nushi. It is also the location of a major Shinto shrine which is dedicated to the god. In Japanese art, Susanoo is most often depicted with wild hair blowing in the winds, wielding a sword and fighting the eight-headed monster Yamato-no-Orochi.
Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication. Cartwright, M. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Cartwright, Mark. Last modified December 19, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 19 Dec This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms.
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