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Uzume

by Micha F. Lindemans
The Japanese Shinto goddess of joy and happiness, called the Daughter of Heaven and Heaven's Forthright Female. Her name means "whirling". She is also the goddess of good health, which people obtain from drinking the blessed water of her stream. When the sun goddess Amaterasu had hidden herself in a cave, thus covering the earth in darkness and infertility, it was Uzume who brought her back. With her provoking and curlew dances she managed to make the gods laugh so hard, that Amaterasu left the cave intrigued. Her emerging brought light and life back to earth. Her brother Ninigi married Uzume to the deity who guards the Floating Bridge to Heaven.

The dances of Uzume (Ama-no-uzume) are found in folk rites, such as the one to wake the dead, the Kagura (dance-mime), and another one which symbolizes the planting of seeds.


Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Ama-no-Uzume
  • Etymology:
    Whirling

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