Myths and fairytales

IMG_6999Over the holidays, I went to a small art museum in Shibuya, where they were holding an exhibit about Susanoo:

SUSANOO: Life-force, Wrathful Power, Answering People’s Prayers
-Beliefs and Arts from the Realm Between Humans and Nature-

Here’s the English description on the museum’s site:

“Susanoo is one of the gods of Japanese mythology. He is known as a savage god who destabilizes the world and damages nature, but also the god who originated waka poetry, and has sublime aesthetic sensitivities. This exhibition will portray the dual-nature of Susanoo through traditional Japanese fine art works and historical materials. By presenting Susanoo inspired works by contemporary artists, we will look at his influence on them.”

The paintings and other pieces of art reminded me just a little of some of Grimm’s fairy tales and how the modern versions have often been “cleaned up” for children. The originals were mostly much more savage.

Here’s a quick list “5 Ways The Grimms Fairytales Changed After the First Edition” from Mental Floss.

The Susanoo exhibit has ended, and the Shoto Museum of Art is closed for the next couple of weeks while they set up the next exhibit, but if you have a chance to visit it this fall, it’s a nice little venue. The next exhibit is:

Ancient Egyptian Art & Magic  –Treasures from the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, Geneva, Switerland (tentative title)
Dates: Tuesday 6 October 2015 – Monday (holiday) 23 November 2015
This exhibition explores the glory of the Egyptian dynasty from the Prehistoric to the Ptolemaic period displaying about 150 pieces of ancient Egyptian arts, sculpture, stelai with hieroglyphs, reliefs, amulets, and jewelry. These are from the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art collection in Switerland, and are brought for the first time to Japan.

Creation … epic journeys … apocaplyse

Here is a list of 10 “universal” myths. How many are you familiar with? Do these myths exist in Japanese culture as well? Where does the Izanagi/Izanami story fit in? Are there other Japanese myths that you know about that don’t match with these 10?

Here’s a re-telling of the story of Izanagi and Izanami — Japan’s creation myth —  by a student of Japanese mythology. Is it the same story you learned in school?