Black Dragon (Kokuryuzu) engi
dedicated to Katori Jingu Shrine
March 2003

Kojiki, the chronicle of Japanese mythology, tells of the two deities Izanagi-no-kami and Izanami-no-kami bearing eight million deities--the last of which was the fiery god Kagutsuchi-no-kami who burned the mother and caused her death. In his grief, Izanagi used the sword Ame-no-oohabari to cut the fire child. From the blood that flowed from the sword emerged the deity Takefutsu-no-kami. The character "futsu" in his name is believed to symbolize light, with the shining sword regarded the representation of divine incarnation on earth. For this reason, our ancestors have dedicated swords as the symbol of the mighty thunder god Raijin and dragon-god Ryujin. The Ryujin is also considered a water-god, with the black color of the Black Dragon symbolizing water. At the same time, black is believe to be the color of distant ancestors, because life handed down over generations is believed to be renewed with water. Moreover, Takefutsu-no-kami believed to be the dragon-god is also fire personified, being born from the fire god Kagutsuchi-no-kami. Since time immortal, the balance between fire and water promised harvest and all blessings man received from nature. The Black Dragon, the protector of bounty from our distant ancestors, has been dedicated to the gods of Katori Jingu.