Japanese Imperial Regalia

Illustration

Mark Cartwright
by 三神器.jpg
published on 02 May 2017

An aritst's impression of three items from the unseen Japanese imperial regalia. In Japanese mythology the sun goddess Amaterasu gave her son Ninigi three gifts to aid his rule on earth: the Yasakani, a fabulous jewel (or pearls or magatama beads), source of the ancient quarrel between Amaterasu and her brother Susanoo, the storm god; the Yata, the mirror which had been made by the gods and successfully used to tempt Amaterasu out of the cave which she hid in following some typical bad behaviour from Susanoo; and Kusanagi, the great sword Susanoo had plucked from a monster’s tail. These would become the three emblems of Ninigi’s power (sanshu no jingi) and they became the imperial regalia of his descendants, the emperors of Japan.

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