Real Name: Ama-terasu-O-mi-Kami ("Heaven-Great-Shining-Kami")
Occupation: Empress of the Chinese gods, goddess of the sun
Legal Status: Citizen of Ama
Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of Amaterasu except as a mythological character.
Other Aliases: Ama-terasu-Ohmi-Kami, Ama-terasu-Oho-kiru-me-O-Mikoto, Amaterasu-Oho-hiru-me, Amaterasu-Oho-mi-Kami, Shimmei Oho-hirume No Muchi ("Great Mistress of the Day"), Ten-sho-dai-jin, Tenshodajin, Tenshoko-daijin, Tenshododajin, et al.
Place of Birth: Onogoro, Japan
Marital Status: Married
Known Relatives: Izanagi (father), Izanami (mother), Marici-ten (step-mother), Susanowo, Tsukiyomi, Kagutsuchi, Owatatsumi, Shinatsuhiko, Minantonokami, Takaokami, Haniyasuhiko, Ooyamatsumi, Hiruko, Emma-O (brothers), Uke-Mochi, Wakahirume, Kawanokami, Shinatobei, Kuraokami, Haniyasuhime (sisters), Takamimusubi (husband/uncle), Benten (possible daughter), Bishamon, Daikoku, Fukrokuju, Ho-Tei, Jorojin, Amatsumara, O-Inari, Omoikane (sons), Takiribimeno, Ikitisimapime, Takitupime (daughters by Susanowo, possibly deceased), Takemikazuchi, Ajisukitakahikone (sons by Susanowo), Ameno-Oshido, Amenopepi, Ikutupikue, Kamanosubi, Masakatuakatu (sons by Tsukiyomi, possibly deceased), Ninigi (grandson, deceased), Hikokokodemi, Hosuseri, Hoori, Hoderi (great-grandsons, deceased), Iwarebiko (great-great-grandson, alias Jimmu-Tenno, deceased), In (grandfather), Gaea (mother, alias Yo),
Group Affiliations: The Gods of Japan, The Council of God-Heads
Base of Operations: Ise Palace in Ama
First Appearance: (name) Wolverine II #32, (actual) Chaos War #2
History: Amaterasu is a member of an extra-dimensional race of beings known as the Amatsu-Kami ("Heavenly Ones") who were worshipped as gods by the Ancient Ainu and Japanese people in Eastern Asia. She is one of a trinity of gods at a large hierarchy of deities along with Susanowo, the storm-god, and Tsukiyomi, the moon-god.
According to the Kojiki, heaven and earth were once joined until they were separated by the gods, Takamimusubi, the god of heaven, and his wife, Kamimimusubi, the goddess of earth. In their roles as Toyokumono and Kuninotokotachi, they charged their siblings, Izanagi and Izanami, the gods of day and night, with the task of creating more land from the sea. According to the Ninhongi, Izanagi and Izanami came down from Mount Takamagahara (modern Mount Fuji) linking Earth with Ama, and stood on Amanohashidate, the floating bridge of heaven, to churn the sea and create the eight major islands that would be modern Japan from the swirling saltwater. They then descended to the island of Onogoro to rule it as man and wife.
Izanagi and Izanami were the first Emperors of Japan; their descendants ruling Japan until their earthly rules were over and they departed Earth for Ama, the home of the Japanese gods. They had several children together, but his first son, Hiruko, did not please him and he set him adrift in a boat of reeds upon the ocean. Among his favored children were Amaterasu, the sun-goddess, Tsukiyomi the moon-god and Susanowo the storm-god. However, when Kagutsuchi the fire-god was born, Izanami was set afire by his birth and so badly burned that she died and descended to the underworld with their children. Izanagi descended into Yomi, the Japanese underworld, to retrieve them but was repulsed by her decomposed corpse. He fled back to the realm of the living with Amatersasu and her siblings and eventually came to a rest at the mouth of a stream surrounded by orange trees and bushes and clovers near modern-day Hyuga, Japan. With the waters, he washed the filth of the underworld from himself and his children and imparted portions of godhood from himself to his children from his eyes and face to make them immortal. However, in the Nihongi, the second book of Shintoism, it was claimed he actually created his children from parts of his body with Amaterasu coming from his left eye, Tsukiyomi from his right eye and Susanowo from his nose.
Amaterasu was taken by Takamimusubi, the ruler of the Kami, to be his second wife. At their wedding, Izanagi gave her a necklace of pearls which he called Mikuratananokami as a symbol of fertility. Takamimusubi and Amaterasu had several children who also became gods, but Amaterasu chose her mortal son, Amano-Oshido, to succeed her as ruler of Japan. However, when he saw the confusion and turmoil on Earth, he refused to leave Ama. His son, Ninigi, was the first earthly Emperor of Japan and spread worship of Amaterasu and the worship of the Kami throughout Japan where it became known as Shintoism.
Amidst the gods, Susanowo was not content to be god of the sea and grew bored with the position. Preferring to be god of the dead with his mother in the underworld, he was exiled from Ama by Izanagi, but before departing, he decided to say good-bye to Amaterasu. Together, they sired several children including the Raiden or gods of thunder. In later myths, it was said they came into being from the melted tip of his spear while their daughters were born from the breath of Amaterasu. However, Susanowo became offended when Uke-mochi, the food-goddess, came to serve him and produced food by expelling it from her mouth. Displeased, he slew the goddess and dumped a dead cow in the temple of Amaterasu. Amaterasu was so ashamed that she fled to earth and concealed herself in the Amenoiwato cave near Otsugi, Japan where she barricaded herself within and withdrew all sunlight from Earth. In her absence, evil demons began to travel to Earth and terrorize humanity. The Kami pleaded and encouraged her to leave the cave, but Amaterasu refused to come out. Omoikane, the god of wisdom, created the plan to lure Amaterasu out of the cave. He instructed Amatsumara, the blacksmith god, to create Kagami, an enchanted mirror of gold, and placed it outside the cave with the Mikuratana pearls hung around it. The Kami then had a loud and boisterous party as the goddess Uzumei created a dance called the kagura and then began stripping off all her clothes. When Amaterasu peeked out to see what was happening, she saw her reflection in the mirror wearing her pearls and came out to investigate. Amenotajikarawo, the god of weather, and the rest of the Kami then pulled her from the cave, and one of the gods, Tajikaroo, placed an enchanted rope called Shirikune across the cave to keep her from returning into it. With Amaterasu returned to heaven, sunlight filled the world and the demons were exiled back to Yomi.
Amaterasu became one of the most beneficent and most important of the gods of Japan even over her husband. Numerous temples were dedicated to her. She owned rice fields which were guarded by the scarecrow kakashi and was credited with inventing irrigation in Japan. The rooster was considered her sacred bird for announcing her arrival at sunrise. Linked with silk and silkworms, she was also linked with the Chinese goddess, Sien-Tsan Mu, a goddess of silk. In Japan, Amaterasu was considered the founder of sericulture.
Amaterasu and the Kami were worshipped as gods far longer than the majority of any other pantheon of gods on Earth. When Amaterasu finally departed earth, she left her mirror and throne to her grandson, Ninigi, and departed Earth for Ama. Several of the Japanese gods continued to live between Earth and Ama for centuries afterward, but around 1000 AD, an edict by the Third Host of the Celestials forbade the Japanese Gods with trafficking with mortals. Shintoism, the worship of the Japanese gods, continued well into modern times until after World War Two when Japan resolved to separate church and and state, and the current emperor renounced his divinity. During the encounter with the Celestials, either Izanagi or Takamimusubi had met with the rulers of the other pantheons of earth and became a member of the Council of Godheads. As per a pact with Odin, Chieftain of the Asgardian gods, either Izanagi or Amaterasu donated the necessary life-energies to Thor to restore the Gods of Asgard to life after the Fourth Host of the Celestials.
In recent years, Mikaboshi, the god of evil, escaped Yomi and stole Susanowo's Grasscutter Sword, using it to sever Amenohashidate linking Ama with Earth and then devastating the home of the gods. Several of the Kami were either killed in the attack or fled into hiding, but Bishamon, the war-god, and Inari, the rice-god, rallied the remaining gods and garnered the support of the Olympian Gods in defeating Mikaboshi. Amaterasu's whereabouts during the attack are unrevealed, but at some point, she fell under his mental control and helped him as he spread a war of chaos and confusion over the Earth and the godly realms. Mikaboshi was finally destroyed or exiled from reality by Hercules with the help of several gods and a retinue of Earth's superhuman champions. Afterward, much of Earth was restored to normal and Amaterasu regained her mind and will. Her activities since are unrevealed.
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 310 lbs.
Strength Level: Amaterasu possesses superhuman strength enabling her to lift (press) 50 tons under optimal conditions.
Known Superhuman Powers: Amaterasu possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Amatsukami or Gods of Japan. Like all Japanese Gods, she is exceptionally long-lived, but she is not immortal like the Olympian gods; she has aged at an extremely slow rate since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. She is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If she were somehow wounded, her godly life force would enable her to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of her bodily molecules to cause her a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as Izanagi, Takamimusubi or Susanowo, or for a number of Japanese gods of equal power working together to revive her. Amaterasu also possesses superhuman strength and her Kami metabolism provides her with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Kami flesh and bone is about twice as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the superhuman strength, speed and weight of the Amatsukami.)
Amaterasu also possesses extraordinary powers to tap into and manipulate mystical energies for a number of effects, mostly in conjuring great heat and light on the level of a small sun. She can create a burst of light powerful enough to register as a small explosion. Her power is linked to the sun and its purifying effects can repel the Oni (Japanese demons) and destroy all sorts of undead creatures, including the kappas (vampires and zombies). She can also fly at incredible speeds through the air and manipulate the weather under limited conditions.
Amaterasu can also move between alternate dimensions, such as between Earth and Ama, create energy for both defensive and offensive purposes and conjure objects, such as altering her apparel between her royal and farming attire. She can also place enchantments on both people and objects. Her full level of power is unrevealed, but it is likely she is no where near as powerful as her father, Izanagi, or any of the other chieftains of gods on Earth, such as Odin or Zeus.
Abilities: Amaterasu is a powerful and beneficent goddess of great wisdom and kindness. She was a fair and just ruler and had skills as a rice farmer and weaver.
Paraphernalia: Amaterasu was mostly known for her necklace of pearls named Mikuratananokami and her mirror Yata-katami (or Kagami) which she gave to her grandson Ninigi as relics and proof of his divine heritage.
Pets: Amatersu's sacred bird was the rooster. She was also assisted by a crow named Yata-Garasu who delivered her messages from Ama to Earth.
Comments: This bio describes Amatersu as she has appeared in the Marvel Universe; it is not known if she has appeared in DC Comics.
Last updated: 07/06/12
Back to Main Page