Tenchi Kaibyaku (creation of heaven and earth) (天地開闢 (日本神話))

Tenchi Kaibyaku is a time when the world represented by heaven and earth was first created.

In a narrow sense, it refers to the opening line of "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan): 'Long, long ago, when the heaven and the earth were not separated yet, and light and darkness were not distinguished...'
In this article, however, the wide meaning of Tenchi Kaibyaku in the Japanese myths and creation of Japan will be treated.

See the article of Tenchi Kaibyaku (China) to know Tenchi Kaibyaku in the Chinese myths, and see the article of the Creation to know about Genesis in the Christian Old Testament.

How was our world created?
It was a big problem to the ancient people, too. The opening parts of "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters) and "Nihonshoki" are tales which tell us around the time when the world was born. However, the contents of "Kojiki" and "Nihonshoki" are quite different. Furthermore, "Nihonshoki" contains a different tale called 'arufumi' (alternate writing) in addition to the tale called 'honjo' (the main text). So there are several myths about the birth of this world.

Summary
"Kojiki"
According to "Kojiki," the time when the world was just created was as follows. Ame Tsuchi no hajime no toki' (when the heaven and earth) in the opening line of "Kojiki" refers to the time when the heaven and the earth first appeared, and it does not tell how they were created. Speaking of the scene of Tenchi Kaibyaku in the Japanese mythology, it generally refers to this scene of "Kojiki" after the modern times. For the detail about 'Tenchi Kaibyaku' in the study of mythology, see the next article of "Tenchi Kaibyaku" (Japanese mythology).

At the beginning of the world, three gods (The Three Gods of Creation) were born one after another in Takamanohara (plain of high heaven).

Ame no Minakanushi no Kami
Takami Musuhi no Kami
Kami Musuhi no Kami
Then another two gods were born.

Umashi ashikabi hikoji no Kami
Ame no Tokotachi no Kami
These five gods did not have certain sex, and they hide away without getting married and giving birth to children. Therefore they did not visibly appear in the myth, but they were special gods that had fundamental influences. That is why they are called Koto Amatsu Kami (Separate heavenly kami).

Then another two gods were born.

Kuni no Tokotachi no Kami (eternal god of the land)
Toyokumo no Kami
Kuni no Tokotachi no Kami and Toyokumo no Kami also did not have sex, and they did not appear in the myth after that.

Subsequently, 10 gods of five pairs were born. These five pairs of gods were couples of male and female gods respectively, and in the following list, the left is a male god, and the right is a female god.

Uhijini no Kami, Suhijini no Kami
Tsunoguhi no Kami, Ikuguhi no Kami
Otoji no Kami, Otonobe no Kami
Omodaru no Kami, Ayakashikone no Kami
Izanagi no Kami, Izanami no Kami
These 12 gods of seven pairs previously mentioned are generically called Kaminoyo Nanayo (seven generations of the gods' world, The Primordial Seven).

"Nihonshoki"
Tenchi Kaibyaku in "Nihonshoki" tells us how the world was created; chaos was separated into light and darkness to become the heaven and the earth. The following scene is that gods without sex appear (the first section of the First Volume), and then male and female gods appear (the second and the third sections of the Volume First Volume). As it was previously mentioned, the contents are quite different from those of Kojiki. Moreover, different tales also exist.

Appearance of the gods of the foundation of the land
According to the "Nihonshoki," in ancient times, the heaven and the earth were not separated, and they were mixed together, being in a state of chaos. From the chaotic state, however, immaculate things went up and became the heaven, while heavy and muddy things became the earth. Then gods were born among them.

Something like reeds were generated in the heaven and the earth. They became gods.

Kuni no Tokotachi no Mikoto
Kuni no Satsuchi no Mikoto
Toyokumunu no Mikoto
These gods did not have sex.

In the arufumi of the First Volume, the shapes generated between the heaven and the earth were unknown. However, it is the same that they became the gods. The gods coming into existence were as follows. The names in the list with white dots are another names for the gods mentioned above.

Kuni no Tokotachi no Mikoto
Kuni no Sokotachi no Mikoto
Kuni no Satsuchi no Mikoto
Kuni no Satachi no Mikoto
Toyokunimushi no Mikoto
Toyokumuno no Mikoto
Toyokabuno no Mikoto (豊香節野尊)
Ukabuno no Toyokafu no Mikoto
Toyokunino no Mikoto
Toyokabuno no Mikoto (豊齧野尊)
Hakokunino no Mikoto
Mino no Mikoto

According to the arufumi of the Second Volume, something like reed's shoots were generated. It is said that they became gods. That is to say, the contents is the same as those of the honjo, but names of the gods are different.

Umashi Ashikabi Hikoji no Mikoto
Kuni no Tokotachi no Mikoto
Kuni no Satsuchi no Mikoto

In the arufumi of the Third Volume, the name of the gods created were also different. In addition, it told that the gods that had been born looked like human beings.

Umashi Ashikabi Hikoji no Mikoto
Kuni no Sokotachi no Mikoto

In the arufumi of the Fourth Volume, the names of the gods that had been born were as follows. This variant version is similar to the description in "Kojiki."

Kuni no Tokotachi no Mikoto
Kuni no Satsuchi no Mikoto
The following three gods were born in Takamanohara after these two gods.

Ame no Minakanushi no Mikoto
Takamimusuhi no Mikoto
Kamimusuhi no Mikoto

In the arufumi of the Fifth Volume, something that looked like reeds' shoots coming out of mud were generated in the heaven and the earth. It is said that they became gods in human shape. The contents is almost the same as the honjo, but only one god appears.

Kuni no Tokotachi no Mikoto

In the arufumi of the Sixth Volume, gods were born from the objects that looked like reeds' shoots, which was almost the same as the honjo. Although Kuni no Tokotachi no Mikoto was born from another object that looked like floating grease.

Ama no Tokotachi no Mikoto
Umashiashikabihikoji no Mikoto
Kuni no Tokotachi no Mikoto

Appearance of pairs of male and female gods
After the heaven and the earth were separated from chaos, gods without sex were born, and then gods with sex came into existence. Blood relations of these gods were not written in the honjo, but the arufumi writings contains them as a variant version.

According to the honjo, four pairs of eight gods were born. These four pairs consisted of male and female gods, and in the following list, the left is male god and the right is female god. The list with a black dot is another name of the god mentioned above.

Uhijini no Mikoto, Suhijini no Mikoto
Another names for the two gods
Uhijine no Mikoto, Suhijine no Mikoto
Ohotonoji no Mikoto, Ohotomabe no Mikoto
Another names for the two gods
Ohotomahiko no Mikoto, Ohotomahime no Mikoto
Ohotomaji no Mikoto, Ohotomabe no Mikoto
Another name for Ohotonoji no Mikoto
Ohotonobe no Mikoto
Omodaru no Mikoto, Kashikone no Mikoto
Another name for Kashikone no Mikoto
Ayakashikone no Mikoto
Imukashiki no Mikoto
Aokashiki no Mikoto
Ayakashiki no Mikoto
Izanagi no Mikoto, Izanami no Mikoto

In the arufumi of the First Volume, Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto were considered sons of Aokashiki no Mikoto.

In the arufumi of the Second Volume, the genealogy of gods was shown more clearly.

Kuni no Tokotachi no Mikoto
Ama no Kagami no Mikoto
A child of Kuni no Tokotachi no Mikoto.

Ameyorozu no Mikoto
A child of Ama no Kagami no Mikoto.

Awanagi no Mikoto
A child of Ameyorozu no Mikoto.

Izanagi no Mikoto
A child of Awanagi no Mikoto.

The honjo tells us that Kuni no Tokotachi no Mikoto, Kuni no Satsuchi no Mikoto, Toyokumunu no Mikoto, and the above four pairs of eight gods were generically called Kaminoyo Nanayo.

According to the arufumi of the First Volume, the names of four pairs of eight gods are different.

Uhijini no Mikoto, Suhijini no Mikoto
Tsunokuhi no Mikoto, Ikukuhi no Mikoto
Omodarumi no Mikoto, Tashikone no Mikoto
Izanagi no Mikoto, Izanami no Mikoto

Commentary
Names of gods

Influence of Chinese Thought
The opening line of "Nihonshoki," 'Long, long ago, when the heaven and the earth were not separated yet, and light and darkness were not distinguished...' was derived from 'The heaven and the earth were not separated yet; light and darkness were not distinguished yet; the four seasons were not separated yet; all things were not generated yet....' of a Chinese classic, "Huainanzi" (The Masters/Philosophers of Huainan).