Myth and Folk Legend: Hiruko, the first infant wit disability


In the three century Japan, a person with disability appears with the beginning of history. Seemingly, according to the oldest  document on Japanese history, the "Kojiki" (Records of Ancient Matters), male and female deities, Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto were entrusted by the Heavenly Deities to creating the land of Japan. 

They bore many livings of animism. Among them the first infant  was so premature that he was unable to stand due lack of the legs even reaching the age of 3. He was named the "Leech Child" (Hiruko), originated in the form of a worm that lives in a paddy field, etc. and sucks the blood of people or an animal.

The parents sent the baby Hiruko away in a reed boat. It flowed over the sea and reached the shore safely. Later a folk legend tells about Hiruko who became a god of fishing named "Ebisu". Currently he is worshiped as a god of fortune.

Moreover, in a Japanese myth, there are gods disabled such as a dwarf or unable to walk, and they were regarded for their special brilliance at that time.

Japanese mythology is composed of native themes and continental imports mainly under the aegis of Buddhism and Toaism from China, Korea and India.

The chief literature sources of Japanese myths are the "Kojiki" (712, Records of Ancient Matters) and the "Nihon Shoki" (720, Chronicle of Japan; also known as "Nihongi").

These works were assembled at imperial command from a wide assortment of no longer extant and other powerful family lines, over whom the Yamoato kings had only in the 7th century fully established their ascendancy. ("JAPAN: An Illustrated Encyclopedia", Kodansha)

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