Study Guide

Orpheus and Eurydice Izanagi and Izanami

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Izanagi and Izanami

In Japanese mythology, Izanagi (The Male Who Invites) and Izanami (The Female Who Invites) created Japan and all of its gods. They loved each other, but they had a rather fraught marriage. In one myth, Izanami dies while giving birth to Kagutsuchi, god of fire (ouch), and is sent down to the Underworld. Izanagi decides to free her, just like Orpheus decides to free Eurydice.

As Izanagi approaches the entrance of the dark underworld, he is greeted by the voice of his wife, who tells him not to look at her. Izanagi is overcome by desire for his wife, so he disregards her wishes, and lights a torch. When he looks at her, he discovers that Izanami is now a rotting corpse! Terrified and disgusted, Izanagi runs away.

Izanami is, of course, super angry that her husband refused to follow her instructions, so she sends a bunch of horrible female spirits to chase after him. Luckily, he blocks their passage out of the Underworld with a giant boulder. Bu the whole incident leads Izanagi and Izanami to call off their marriage.

Sounds pretty similar, huh?

Orpheus and Eurydice Izanagi and Izanami Study Group

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