Now, according to one myth, Susano-o was a bothersome, uncontrollable character and very jealous of his beautiful sister's power and popularity. It is said that one day, in a drunken rampage, he trampled all of Her rice fields, filled in all of Her irritation ditches, and then threw excrement into Her palace. He slaughtered a young horse and threw its carcass at the goddesses' handmaidens. Amaterasu, depressed and grieving over Her brother's actions, refused to return to the heavens and crept away into a dark cave in the mountains, refusing to come out. She closed off the entrance with an enormous stone.
Without Her, there was no sun, and the world lay in darkness. The rice fields lay dying as the endless night continued, the people grew hungry. All of the gods and goddesses came to the entrance of Her cave and pleaded with Her to come out, but, alas, Her sadness was so great that their pleas went unanswered. It was then that the goddess Uzume decided to try a different tactic--laughter. She began to perform a divine striptease. Hearing all of the music and laughter, She became so curious about what was going on that She had to see what was going on. She crept to the entranceway of the cave. As She crept further out, the gods captured Her and sealed the entrance to the cave so that She could not return, but by now, She didn't care. Her grief was alleviated by all of the fun and good humor surrounding Her, and eventually, She returned home and the sun once again shined across the earth.
The triumph of the sun goddess over the storm god secured Her rule over the world. On December 21st, the Japanese Winter Solstice festivities will celebrate Her emergence from cave...
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