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Naruto and Mythos

Naruto is a manga and anime (Japanese comic) series that is written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. I chose Naruto because the series itself has a lot of mythological references and anime is starting to become more popular in American culture.

In Naruto, Amaterasu is a technique used by main character and deuteragonist Sasuke and Sasuke’s brother Itachi. Amaterasu is a technique that can set someone on fire with black flames by just a looking at their opponent while using their sharingan (aka Copy Wheel Eye). According to Japanese myth Amaterasu is a Japanese Shinto sun goddess, whom enclosed herself inside of a cave with a boulder, because her brother Susanowa was being so noisy. With Amaterasu disappearance the world was without light and life. Uzume would succeed in getting Amaterasu out of the cave by putting a mirror on a nearby tree so that she could see her own reflection.

Tsuki-yomi is a Japanese Shinto god of the moon and the brother of Amaterasu is also mentioned in Naruto. The eye of moon plan (a big event in the series) deals with the use of an "Infinite Tsukuyomi”. Tsukuyomi is if not the ultimate genjutsu (illusionary technique) in the series. Izanagi and Izanami are both mentioned in Naruto as well. Izanagi and Izanami are both Japanese Shinto Gods. Izanami is a goddess and she personifies the earth and darkness. Izanagi is a god and he is the god of all that is light and heavenly. Izanagi was married to Izanami although they were brother and sister. They were given the task of creating the world; they would go on to create gods and humans. Izanami would die from child birth and Izanagi would attempt to retrieve her from the underworld but she refused to go back. Izanagi would return from the underworld and engage in cleaning rights. Izanagi washed his left eye and created Amaterasu. Then he created the Tsuki-yomi by washing his right eye. Lastly from his nose he created Susanowa. In Naruto Izanagi and Izanami are both powerful genjutsu that are used by the very few characters who have the sharingan ability.

Susanowa the Japanese Shinto god of winds, storms, and the ocean is yet another god that is noted in Naruto. Susanowa caused ravage on the world, he would go on to wander the earth and have many great adventures. Susanowa killed an eight-headed snake named Koshi and by doing this he obtained a power sword called Kusanagi-no-Tsurgi, also known as the grass cutting sword. In Naruto Susanowa is called Susanoo, and a Susanoo is a humanoid monster that surrounds the user. In the series Itachi uses the Susanoo’s Totsuka blade to seal Orochimaru away. Orochimaru was a character that used snakes, that moment in the series could be compared to the moment where Susanowa fought against Koshi. The

Rinnegan is also a part of the Naruto series. The rinnegan is a samsara reference that deals with repeated cycles of life. In the series the rinnegan is comparable to the sharingan but with a different design. Masashi Kishimoto uses saṃsara as a way to create six characters that deals with the six paths also known as realms and cycles. These characters are based off of the naraka path, preta path, animal path, asura path, human path, and deva path.

Japanese folklore is also heavily used in the series. The Tale of Jiraiya the Gallant is a tale that has been told since 1806 and is mentioned in the series. The characters from Jiraiya the Gallant can be compared with several characters of Naruto. In the series there are three characters that match the descriptions of the characters in the folktale. In the folktake there are there characters by the name of Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Orochimaru. The combination of Jiraiya's toad magic and Tsunade's slug magic manage to defeat Orochimaru who uses snake magic. In the series of Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Orochimaru are in a group called the Legendary Sannin. Each of them have the same type of magic, or ninjutsu, that the respective characters have in the folktale.

With these few examples I provided hopefully the reader can see that myth can influence a lot of things in today's world. Myths can be interpreted into movies, games, and many other forms of media. In Naruto mythological references mainly have to do with character attacks. The series Naruto is just an example of how myths can help make something more interesting and creative. In today’s pop culture there are many signs of mythological references that the general population has no idea or is even conscious of. Although myths can be changed to fit a person's ideals, myths can still be interpreted and passed through each generation by new technology.

Naruto is just one example of how myths can influence modern works. Myth is everywhere in our society and each day we start to learn more about myth without really knowing what myth truly is. Unless you are knowledgeable of the topic you may never realize how many myths you see daily. Our modern culture seems to change myths but keeps the main aspect of each myth alive. Even though myths are being changed, I think that we still learn about the main ideals from myth its self by simplifying watching or reading things that have mythological aspects to them.

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