Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto (Japanese: 天宇受売命, 天鈿女命) is the goddess of dawn, mirth, meditation, revelry and the arts in the Shinto religion of Japan, and the wife of fellow-god Sarutahiko Ōkami.
Ame-no-Uzume is the Shinto goddess of dawn, a master of merry-making, humor, and dancing. A highly positive kami (a type of god or spirit in the Shinto religion), her ingenuity brought Amaterasu, the sun goddess, back into the world, saving the earth from eternal winter’s night. A popular deity, Ame-no-Uzume is credited with the origination of the performing arts.
Ame-no-Uzume is very different from her mistress, however, being more inclined to joviality and creativity, which connect to the potential, creation, and happiness often associated with sunrise. Because of this, Ame-no-Uzume is often portrayed as smiling.
Traditional stories describe Ame-no-Uzume as wearing loose or revealing clothing, which other kami in these stories find comical, but Ame-no-Uzume is joyful and unconcerned. Unlike the very reserved and proper Amaterasu, Ame-no-Uzume is open, easygoing, and dedicated to bringing joy to the world. Her nature makes her a great diplomat, and she acts as one of Amaterasu’s most trusted servants.
Mirrors, a sacred symbol of the Imperial family, are often connected to Ame-no-Uzume because of the way the ocean on Japan’s eastern coast reflects the dawn sun like a mirror.
Ame-no-Uzume is credited with the creation of many Japanese art forms, such as kagura, a kind of dance telling the stories of kami, and some forms of comedy and theater such as the ancient noh. Ame-no-Uzume is often depicted in kyogen, a comedic theater tradition, and here she is often displayed semi-nude to comic effect. Because of these theatrical connections, Ame-no-Uzume is the goddess of revelry.
In relation to her husband, she is also considered an inari kami, or a goddess connected to kitsune, Japanese fox spirits known for their cunning and wiles.
“Ame no Uzume ‘s themes are honor, longevity, wisdom, psychic abilities, prosperity, protection and kinship. Her symbols are antique items, aged wines or cheese (anything that grows better over time) and sacred dances. A Japanese ancestral Goddess, Ame no Uzume’s magic is that of generating a long, happy life for Her followers. Shinto festivals in Her honor include special dances that invoke the Goddess’s favor for longevity, honor, prosperity, protection and a close-knit family. In some areas, people also turn to Her for foresight, considering Ame no Uzume the patroness of psychic mediums.