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Archetypes Of Shinto And Ancient Greek Religion

815 words - 3 pages

Most countries in the world have archetypes in their creation myths, even countries as distant from each other as Japan and Greece. Japan’s religion, Shinto, has stories about sibling marriages and casting deformed children away. Greek myths have similar plots in their stories. There are reasons why these two completely different cultures have similar stories. The next three paragraphs explain why there are archetypes and differences in creation myths of Japan and Greece.

Both Shinto myths and Greek myths have siblings marrying each other. For example, in one Shinto myth, Izanagi-no-mikoto and Izanami-no-mikoto were “united as husband and wife,” and in a Greek myth, “Cronos married his sister” Rhea. Also, the couples in both myths produced many children: Izanagi and Izanami gave birth “to the Great eight-island country, with the mountains, rivers, herbs, and trees,” and many gods and goddesses. Cronos and Rhea gave birth to five gods and goddesses. From these two myths, it is evident that Japan and Greece did not consider marrying siblings as something wrong. When these myths were created thousands of years ago, people from these two countries did not know that there are possibilities that a child will have some problems when born from sibling parents. Also, it may have been thought in both countries that siblings will give birth to a virtuous child, for siblings love each other from the start and therefore have a high chance of becoming successful parents.

However, even though ancient Japan and Greece thought that sibling parents might be caring, both cultures have stories of casting away children. In the Shinto myth, the sibling parents gave birth to a “leech-child,” so they “abandoned it to the winds”. The Greek myth has a story in which Uranus “banished [his sons]… to the underworld.” This suggests that both cultures only raise children who are born with normal features so that the child brings honor on the family name. In ancient Japan, a family had a lot of dignity and they tried hard to not lose that pride. This may be why the ancient Japanese allowed deformed children to be cast away. In Greece, all the gods were thought to have human form. Since the gods were in human form, the ancient Greeks believed that every human should be in the shape of the gods, thus they had the right to not want their child if deformed.

However, these two myths have...

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