Ameno Tajikarao (アメノタヂカラオ)

Ameno Tajikarao is a god that appears in Japanese Mythology (Shinto religion). Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) is written "天手力男神" in Chinese characters and Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) is written "天手力雄神."

Mythological description
While Amaterasu (the Sun Goddess) was hiding herself in a cave (Iwadokakure), Tajikarao was staying at the side of the cave and, when Amaterasu peeked out, he pulled her out of the cave ('forcing the rock wide open' according to "Nihonshoki" and "Kogo-shui" - History of the Inbe clan),
As the result brightness returned in the world.

Amaterasu infused deities of Omoikane (the god of wisdom and talent), Tajikarao, and Amanoiwatowake no kami into the three Sacred Treasures of the Imperial Family during its tensonkorin (the descent to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess). Since then Ameno Tajikarao is believed to have been enshrined in Sana no agata, Ise Province.

Ameno Tajikarao, whose name means 'a male god having strong arms,' representing physical strength or muscular strength.

Worshipped as a god of power or sports, Ameno Tajikarao is enshrined, for example, in Togakushi-jinja Shrine (Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture), Sana-jinja Shrine (Taki-gun, Mie Prefecture), Shirai-jinja Shrine (Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture), Oyama-jinja Shrine (Tateyama-machi, Nakaniigawa-gun, Toyama Prefecture), Tejikarao-jinja Shrine (Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture), Tejikarao-jinja Shrine (Kagamihara City, Gifu Prefecture), Toake-jinja Shrine (Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture), Amanotanagao-jinja Shrine (Iki City, Nagasaki Prefecture), and Nasubekku Shrine of Shinmeiaishin-kai (Nasu-gun, Tochigi Prefecture).

A legend connected to Togakushi-jinja Shrine goes that the rock of the cave thrown by Tajikarao fell on Mt. Togakushi, Shiga Province.

Tajikarao enshrined in Oyama-jinja Shrine is a god of Shugen on Mt.Tateyama. Located at the summit of Mt. Tateyama, the two honzon (principal images of Buddha) of Mine-honsha Shrine are believed to be Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata) and Fudo Myoo (Acala, one of the Five Wisdom Kings), which Honji-suijaku (theory of original reality and manifested traces) defines as Izanami and Tajikarao Honji-suijaku (theory of original reality and manifested traces), respectively. Oyama-jinja Shrine and Togakushi-jinja Shrine have their origins in mountain worship, which shows that Tajikarao is related to mountain worship. There was a belief in Japan that mountains were a different world; for example, sorei (ancestral spirit, collective ancestral spirits which have lost their individualities, ancestor deified as a kami, spirit of a kami) return to the mountains and tanokami (deity of rice fields and harvests) comes down from a mountain. This belief was connected to a Buddhist concept of Hell and developed into a mountain worship in and after the Heian period. The Ama no iwato (Cave of heaven) that Ameno Tajikarao opened wide can be associated with the border of a different world existing in a mountain. This is because Tajikarao was associated with mountains.

The popular image of the deity Tajikarao is one of a god with phenomenal physical strength and he appears in many kagura (sacred music and dancing performed at shrines) performed around Japan.

[Original Japanese]