Amaterasu was the Shinto goddess of the sun. She was born from the tears of the first man, Izanagi, while he wept for his dead wife, Izanami, the first woman. Amaterasu was one of three triplets; her brothers were the moon god, Tsuki-Yumi, and the god of storms, Susano-wo. She came from Izanagi's left eye, Tsuki-Yumi came from his right eye, and Susano-wo from his nose.

The best-known story about Amaterasu goes like this: When Susano-wo was told to leave Heaven by Izanagi, he went to bid his sister goodbye. Amaterasu was suspicious, but when Susano-wo proposed a challenge to prove his sincerity, she accepted. Each of them took an object of the other's and from it birthed gods and goddesses. Amaterasu birthed three women from Susano-wo's sword while he birthed five men from her necklace. Claiming the gods were hers because they were born of her necklace, and the goddesses were his (because it was his sword), she decided that she had won the challenge, as his item produced women. The two were content for a time, but her brother became restless and went on a rampage, destroying Amaterasu's rice fields, hurling a flayed pony at her loom, and killing one of her attendants in a fit of rage. Amaterasu, who was in fury and grief, hid inside a cave, thus effectively hiding the sun for a long period of time. Though she was persuaded to leave the cave, Susano-wo was punished by being banished from Heaven. Both later amended their conflict when Susano-wo gave her his sword as a reconciliation gift.

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