Terrifying Rulers of The Underworld
In some of the earliest Shinto texts, Susanoo is the god of the underworld. He was banished from heaven after offending both the creator god and his sister, the sun goddess. He descended to the underworld after a period of adventuring on Earth. He then became its master. Susanoo was a cruel god, especially to his own family. Legend says that his son, Okuninushi, descended to the underworld to marry his halfsister. There, Susanoo put him through all sorts of torturous trials. He threw him into a pit of snakes then locked him in a room full of wasps. When Okuninushi survived with the aid of his wife, his father shot an arrow into a moor and told him to retrieve it. Once he was inside, Susanoo set fire to it.
Okuninushi again survived with the help of an underworld mouse and finally escaped by tying his fathers hair to the rafters as he slept. Since Susanoo and his progeny were the patrons of the Izumo clan, a rival to the ruling family, many tales about him were ancient political propaganda. The sacred texts of the Shinto creation myths were compiled by the ruling family, who legend says were the divine descendants of the sun goddess. Susanoo, while powerful, is always portrayed as subordinate to his sister. His sons image suffers as well. Charged with taming the land, he fails in his duty and ultimately gives his reign over to the more capable descendants of the sun goddess, whom she had sent to bring order to the world.