The gods exiled the wild god Susanoh from Heaven and he landed on "Izumo."
There he heard that every year a serpent with eight heads ate one of the village girls.
This particular year, the victim was supposed to be Princess Kusinada. Susanoh made an offer to her parents that he would marry Princess Kusinada if he could save her life. Her parents accepted his offer with great pleasure.
Following Susanoh's instruction, the people in the village made a fence with eight gates and put a jar filled with sake under each gate.
Then the serpent came. Each of his heads went to one of the gates and started to drink the sake. Immediately, the monster got drunk and Susanoh cut him into the pieces while he was sleeping.
Susanoh married Princess Kushinada as he promised, and he built a big palace in Izumo.
Who is Susanoh?
Susanoh is a brother of the greatest Japanese goddess, Amaterass. He can be compared to Poseidon in Greek myth, but this story is very similar to Heracles' great work about killing Hydra.
It's said that Hydra represents streams of water, and in case of the Japanese story, the serpent with eight heads could be a flood or lava flow. BACK
"Izumo-city" is in the western part of Japan and it's believed that the Japanese myth started in that area. BACK
In ancient times in Japan, "eight" meant "many." So the actual number of the serpent heads could be 10 or 100 or more. BACK
JAPANESE MYTH HOMEPAGE