In the Genesis chapters 1 and 2 of the Bible, and the Japanese Creation myth, both display similar elements when they describe how the creators have power over their creations, showing that ideas are related to one another, even if they are separated my miles of land and sea.
The openings of the works themselves begin rather similarly. Both begin with the same opening words and the ideas that follow them are very much alike. Genesis 1:1 reads “In the beginning,” as does the Japanese creation myth. The ideas that follow resemble each other as well, to a degree that is almost uncanny.
In the Japanese Creation, it says that the universe was “like and ocean…ill-defined but containing germs,” and in Genesis 1:2, it reads that “darkness was over the surface of the deep [ocean], and…God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Both of these references to the ocean show how close these myths are to one another, and how closely that they are related. The beginnings of both works also cover the topic of creation.
Genesis 1:27 says that “God created man in His own image,” and in Genesis 2:22 “the Lord [took] the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.” This is how the Bible says humans were created, out of dust and similar parts. The Japanese Creation is very similar, both Izanagi and Izanami were created from “mud, vapors, [and] seeds” just as Adam and Eve were made from similar parts. These overlapping ideas show just how closely related the works are.
Both works not only cover the ideas of creation, but also the male and female roles. Adam and Eve can be viewed as a parallel to Izanagi and Izanami. Adam and Eve were made in God’s image and to help populate the earth. Izanagi and Izanami were created to make the earth and to populate it as well. In Genesis Eve is made from Adam in his likeness, so “she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” This can be interpreted as man’s dominance over women.
The Japanese Creation also addresses this. When Izanagi and Izanami decide to create more deities, Izanami speaks first saying “Oh, what a handsome man!” Izanagi later says that this was inappropriate saying that “I am a man, and by right should have spoken first,” and makes them redo the ritual, with him speaking first. This shows Izanagi’s dominance over Izanami. Surprisingly, the two myths share this element to explain men and women’s roles.
While the two myths share various overlapping ideas, they do have differences. One of the basic ones is that while Adam and Eve are a “couple,” Izanagi and Izanami are brother and sister. Another thing is that God is who created Adam and Eve, yet Izanagi and Izanami are the creators themselves; they are the ones who created the sun, moon, earth, and beings. However, God was the single being that created everything. The differences are few and far between compared to the similarities however.
Both the Biblical Creation myth and the Japanese Creation myth have been the basic understanding for the ones who believe in it today. The ideas that both of the pieces show how close different religion’s stories and beliefs can be connected. While they may not be exact, the two myths share many of the same qualities.