Mizuhanome (ミヅハノメ)

Mizuhanome is a deity (Shinto religion) that appears in Japanese Mythology. Her name is written as 弥都波能売神 (Mizuhanome no kami) in the Kojiki (The Record of Ancient Matters) and 罔象女神 (Mitsuhame no kami) in the Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) respectively. When enshrined, her name is also written as 水波能売命 (Mizuhanome no mikoto). Along with Takaokami no kami, she is a representative deity of water (Suijin - deity of water) in Japan.

According to the story of kamiumi (birth of deities) described in the Kojiki, she was born, together with Wakumusubi, from the urine discharged by Izanami who was in pain due to a scalding on her genitals caused by the delivery of Kagutsuchi. According to the second issho (a book quoted in the Nihonshoki) of the Nihonshoki, Izanami delivered Haniyama-hime and Mitsuhame no kami just before her death and Wakumusubi was born between Haniyama-hime and Kagutsuchi.

Her name of 'mizuha' is interpreted as either water for irrigation by translating 'mizuha' as 'mizuhashiri' (running water) or the starting point of water (a fountain or a well) by translating 'mizuha' as 'mizutsuhaya' (starting point of water). The name of Kuramitsuha that appears in the Kojiki is also considered to have derived from the same origin. Concerning the Chinese character '罔象' that represents 'mitsuha,' it is explained in Chinese literature such as "Enanji" that '罔象' means a water spirit whose shape is a dragon or a child.

She is worshipped as a deity of irrigation water as well as a deity of wells and it is believed that she gives divine grace for rainfall or for stopping rain. She is enshrined at Niukawakami-jinja Shrine (Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture) together with Takaokami no kami as well as at other shrines across the nation as haishishin (deities other than a main enshrined deity). At Okada-jinja Shrine, an auxiliary shrine of Otaki-jinja Shrine (Echizen City, Fukui Prefecture), a legend has been handed down that Mizuhanome taught villagers paper making technique.

[Original Japanese]