VAMPIRES<br />After William was imprisoned, Viktor, Markus and Amelia settled in as rulers of the Vampires, becoming the V...
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Khang2
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Khang2

1,032 views
1,006 views

Published on

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
1,032
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
2
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Khang2

  1. 1. VAMPIRES<br />After William was imprisoned, Viktor, Markus and Amelia settled in as rulers of the Vampires, becoming the Vampire Elders, creating the covens as the main organization of the Vampires. However, Viktor took control from Markus, ensuring he would never have the strength to free his brother. The coven later embarked on an ill-fated scheme to turn the surviving Lycans into slaves, using them to guard their castle in the daylight. They did not have human form until Lucian was born, he was the first werewolf born in human form, as seen in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. However, after the romance and subsequent pregnancy between Viktor's daughter Sonja and the Lycan slave Lucian was discovered, Sonja was executed, along with her and Lucian's unborn child, and the war began.<br />After some time, it was believed Lucian had been killed, and the Death Dealers were charged with hunting down any and all surviving Lycans. By the time of the first film, Amelia and the Vampire council were in control. However, nobody suspected the truth: Kraven had struck a deal with Lucian, allowing him to gain power and a position as regent in the Coven. In the present day, the coven had become increasingly decadent under Kraven's leadership, with Amelia ruling from the New World branch of the coven. It was then that Lucian struck, killing Amelia and the Vampire Council, and increasing his search for the human descendant of Corvinus (Michael Corvin). In him the two races could be merged, creating a Hybrid, leaving Kraven to rule the Vampires. However, his plan was derailed when Selene awakened Viktor and alerted him to Kraven's treachery.Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person. Although vampiric entities have been recorded in many cultures and in spite of speculation by literary historian Brian Frost that the "belief in vampires and bloodsucking demons is as old as man himself", and may go back to "prehistoric times", the term vampire was not popularized until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe, although local variants were also known by different names, such as vrykolakas in Greece and strigoi in Romania. This increased level of vampire superstition in Europe led to mass hysteria and in some cases resulted in corpses actually being staked and people being accused of vampirism.While even folkloric vampires of the Balkans and Eastern Europe had a wide range of appearance ranging from nearly human to bloated rotting corpses, it was the success of John Polidori's 1819 novella The Vampyre that established the archetype of charismatic and sophisticated vampire; it is arguably the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century, inspiring such works as Varney the Vampire and eventually Dracula. <br />However, it is Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula that is remembered as the quintessential vampire novel and which provided the basis of modern vampire fiction. Dracula drew on earlier mythologies of werewolves and similar legendary demons and "was to voice the anxieties of an age", and the "fears of late Victorian patriarchy". The success of this book spawned a distinctive vampire genre, still popular in the 21st century, with books, films, video games, and television shows. The vampire is such a dominant figure in the horror genre that literary historian Susan Sellers places the current vampire myth in the "comparative safety The Oxford English Dictionary dates the first appearance of the word vampire in English from 1734, in a travelogue titled Travels of Three English Gentlemen published in the Harleian Miscellany in 1745. Vampires had already been discussed in German literature. After Austria gained control of northern Serbia and Oltenia with the Treaty of Passarowitz in 1718, officials noted the local practice of exhuming bodies and "killing vampires". These reports, prepared between 1725 and 1732, received widespread publicity. The English term was derived (possibly via French vampyre) from the German Vampir, in turn derived in the early 18th century from the Serbian вампир/vampir, when Arnold Paole, a purported vampire in Serbia was described during the time Serbia was incorporated into the Austrian Empire.<br />The Serbian form has parallels in virtually all Slavic languages: Bulgarian and Macedonian вампир (vampir), Croatian upir /upirina, Czech and Slovak upír, Polish wąpierz, and (perhaps East Slavic-influenced) upiór, Ukrainian упир (upyr), Russian упырь (upyr'), Belarusian упыр (upyr), from Old East Slavic упирь (upir'). (Note that many of these languages have also borrowed forms such as "vampir/wampir" subsequently from the West; these are distinct from the original local words for the creature.) The exact etymology is unclear. Among the proposed proto-Slavic forms are *ǫpyrь and *ǫpirь. Another, less widespread theory, is that the Slavic languages have borrowed the word from a Turkic term for "witch" (e.g., Tatar ubyr). <br />The first recorded use of the Old Russian form Упирь (Upir') is commonly believed to be in a document dated 6555 (1047 AD). It is a colophon in a manuscript of the Book of Psalms written by a priest who transcribed the book from Glagolitic into Cyrillic for the Novgorodian Prince Volodymyr Yaroslavovych. The priest writes that his name is "Upir' Likhyi " (Оупирь Лихыи), which means something like "Wicked Vampire" or "Foul Vampire". This apparently strange name has been cited as an example both of surviving paganism and of the use of nicknames as personal names. Another early use of the Old Russian word is in the anti-pagan treatise "Word of Saint Grigoriy", dated variously to the 11th–13th centuries, where pagan worship of upyri is reported. <br />Folk beliefs<br />The notion of vampirism has existed for millennia; cultures such as the Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Ancient Greeks, and Romans had tales of demons and spirits which are considered precursors to modern vampires. However, despite the occurrence of vampire-like creatures in these ancient civilizations, the folklore for the entity we know today as the vampire originates almost exclusively from early 18th century Southeastern Europe, when verbal traditions of many ethnic groups of the region were recorded and published. In most cases, vampires are revenants of evil beings, suicide victims, or witches, but they can also be created by a malevolent spirit possessing a corpse or by being bitten by a vampire. Belief in such legends became so pervasive that in some areas it caused mass hysteria and even public executions of people believed to be vampires. <br />Description and common attributes<br />It is difficult to make a single, definitive description of the folkloric vampire, though there are several elements common to many European legends. Vampires were usually reported as bloated in appearance, and ruddy, purplish, or dark in color; these characteristics were often attributed to the recent drinking of blood. Indeed, blood was often seen seeping from the mouth and nose when one was seen in its shroud or coffin and its left eye was often open. It would be clad in the linen shroud it was buried in, and its teeth, hair, and nails may have grown somewhat, though in general fangs were not a feature. <br />Creating vampires<br />The causes of vampiric generation were many and varied in original folklore. In Slavic and Chinese traditions, any corpse that was jumped over by an animal, particularly a dog or a cat, was feared to become one of the undead. A body with a wound that had not been treated with boiling water was also at risk. In Russian folklore, vampires were said to have once been witches or people who had rebelled against the Russian Orthodox Church while they were alive. <br />Cultural practices often arose that were intended to prevent a recently deceased loved one from turning into an undead revenant. Burying a corpse upside-down was widespread, as was placing earthly objects, such as scythes or sickles, near the grave to satisfy any demons entering the body or to appease the dead so that it would not wish to arise from its coffin. This method resembles the Ancient Greek practice of placing an obolus in the corpse's mouth to pay the toll to cross the River Styx in the underworld; it has been argued that instead, the coin was intended to ward off any evil spirits from entering the body, and this may have influenced later vampire folklore. This tradition persisted in modern Greek folklore about the vrykolakas, in which a wax cross and piece of pottery with the inscription "Jesus Christ conquers" were placed on the corpse to prevent the body from becoming a vampire. Other methods commonly practised in Europe included severing the tendons at the knees or placing poppy seeds, millet, or sand on the ground at the grave site of a presumed vampire; this was intended to keep the vampire occupied all night by counting the fallen grains, indicating an association of vampires with arithmomania. Similar Chinese narratives state that if a vampire-like being came across a sack of rice, it would have to count every grain; this is a theme encountered in myths from the Indian subcontinent, as well as in South American tales of witches and other sorts of evil or mischievous spirits or beings. In Albanian folklore, the dhampir is the son of the karkanxholl or the lugat. If the karkanxholl sleeps with his wife, and she is impregnated with a child, the offspring is called dhampir and has the unique ability to discern the karkanxholl; from this derives the expression the dhampir knows the lugat. The lugat cannot be seen, he can only be killed by the dhampir, who himself is usually the son of a lugat. In different regions, animals can be revenants as lugats; also, living people during their sleep. Dhampiraj is also an Albanian surname. <br />Identifying vampires<br />Many elaborate rituals were used to identify a vampire. One method of finding a vampire's grave involved leading a virgin boy through a graveyard or church grounds on a virgin stallion—the horse would supposedly balk at the grave in question. Generally a black horse was required, though in Albania it should be white. Holes appearing in the earth over a grave were taken as a sign of vampirism. <br />Corpses thought to be vampires were generally described as having a healthier appearance than expected, plump and showing little or no signs of decomposition. In some cases, when suspected graves were opened, villagers even described the corpse as having fresh blood from a victim all over its face. Evidence that a vampire was active in a given locality included death of cattle, sheep, relatives or neighbours. Folkloric vampires could also make their presence felt by engaging in minor poltergeist-like activity, such as hurling stones on roofs or moving household objects, and pressing on people in their sleep. <br />Premature burial<br />It has also been hypothesized that vampire legends were influenced by individuals being buried alive because of shortcomings in the medical knowledge of the time. In some cases in which people reported sounds emanating from a specific coffin, it was later dug up and fingernail marks were discovered on the inside from the victim trying to escape. In other cases the person would hit their heads, noses or faces and it would appear that they had been "feeding." A problem with this theory is the question of how people presumably buried alive managed to stay alive for any extended period without food, water or fresh air. An alternate explanation for noise is the bubbling of escaping gases from natural decomposition of bodies. Another likely cause of disordered tombs is grave robbing. <br />In modern fiction<br />The vampire is now a fixture in popular fiction. Such fiction began with 18th century poetry and continued with 19th century short stories, the first and most influential of which was John Polidori's The Vampyre (1819), featuring the vampire Lord Ruthven. Lord Ruthven's exploits were further explored in a series of vampire plays in which he was the anti-hero. The vampire theme continued in penny dreadful serial publications such as Varney the Vampire (1847) and culminated in the pre-eminent vampire novel of all time: Dracula by Bram Stoker, published in 1897. Over time, some attributes now regarded as integral became incorporated into the vampire's profile: fangs and vulnerability to sunlight appeared over the course of the 19th century, with Varney the Vampire and Count Dracula both bearing protruding teeth, and Murnau's Nosferatu (1922) fearing daylight. The cloak appeared in stage productions of the 1920s, with a high collar introduced by playwright Hamilton Deane to help Dracula 'vanish' on stage. Lord Ruthven and Varney were able to be healed by moonlight, although no account of this is known in traditional folklore. Implied though not often explicitly documented in folklore, immortality is one attribute which features heavily in vampire film and literature. Much is made of the price of eternal life, namely the incessant need for blood of former equals. <br />Literature<br />The vampire or revenant first appeared in poems such as The Vampire (1748) by Heinrich August Ossenfelder, Lenore (1773) by Gottfried August Bürger, Die Braut von Corinth (The Bride of Corinth (1797) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's unfinished Christabel and Lord Byron's The Giaour (1813). Byron was also credited with the first prose fiction piece concerned with vampires: The Vampyre (1819). However this was in reality authored by Byron's personal physician, John Polidori, who adapted an enigmatic fragmentary tale of his illustrious patient. Byron's own dominating personality, mediated by his lover Lady Caroline Lamb in her unflattering roman-a-clef, Glenarvon (a Gothic fantasia based on Byron's wild life), was used as a model for Polidori's undead protagonist Lord Ruthven. The Vampyre was highly successful and the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century. Varney the Vampire was a landmark popular mid-Victorian era gothic horror story by James Malcolm Rymer (alternatively attributed to Thomas Preskett Prest), which first appeared from 1845 to 1847 in a series of pamphlets generally referred to as penny dreadfuls because of their inexpensive price and typically gruesome contents. The story was published in book form in 1847 and runs to 868 double-columned pages. It has a distinctly suspenseful style, using vivid imagery to describe the horrifying exploits of Varney. Another important addition to the genre was Sheridan Le Fanu's lesbian vampire story Carmilla (1871). Like Varney before her, the vampire Carmilla is portrayed in a somewhat sympathetic light as the compulsion of her condition is highlighted. <br />No effort to depict vampires in popular fiction was as influential or as definitive as Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897). Its portrayal of vampirism as a disease of contagious demonic possession, with its undertones of sex, blood and death, struck a chord in Victorian Europe where tuberculosis and syphilis were common. The vampiric traits described in Stoker's work merged with and dominated folkloric tradition, eventually evolving into the modern fictional vampire. Drawing on past works such as The Vampyre and "Carmilla", Stoker began to research his new book in the late 19th century, reading works such as The Land Beyond the Forest (1888) by Emily Gerard and other books about Transylvania and vampires. In London, a colleague mentioned to him the story of Vlad Ţepeş, the "real-life Dracula," and Stoker immediately incorporated this story into his book. The first chapter of the book was omitted when it was published in 1897, but it was released in 1914 as Dracula's Guest. One of the first "scientific" vampire novels was Richard Matheson's 1954 I Am Legend which as been used as the basis for the films The Last Man on Earth in 1964, The Omega Man in 1971, and I Am Legend in 2007. <br />The 21st century has brought more examples of vampire fiction, such as J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and other highly popular vampire books which appeal to teenagers and young adults. Such vampiric paranormal romance novels and allied vampiric chick-lit and vampiric occult detective stories are a remarkably popular and ever-expanding contemporary publishing phenomenon. L.A. Banks' The Vampire Huntress Legend Series, Laurell K. Hamilton's erotic Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series, and Kim Harrison's The Hollows series, portray the vampire in a variety of new perspectives, some of them unrelated to the original legends.<br />The latter part of the 20th century saw the rise of multi-volume vampire epics. The first of these was Gothic romance writer Marilyn Ross' Barnabas Collins series (1966–71), loosely based on the contemporary American TV series Dark Shadows. It also set the trend for seeing vampires as poetic tragic heroes rather than as the more traditional embodiment of evil. This formula was followed in novelist Anne Rice's highly popular and influential Vampire Chronicles (1976–2003). Vampires in the Twilight series (2005–2008) by Stephenie Meyer ignore the effects of garlic and crosses, and are not harmed by sunlight (although it does reveal their supernatural nature). Richelle Mead further deviates from traditional vampires in her Vampire Academy series (2007–present), basing the novels on Romanian lore with two races of vampires, one good and one evil, as well as half-vampires. <br />Film and television<br />Considered one of the preeminent figures of the classic horror film, the vampire has proven to be a rich subject for the film and gaming industries. Dracula is a major character in more movies than any other but Sherlock Holmes, and many early films were either based on the novel of Dracula or closely derived from it. These included the landmark 1922 German silent film Nosferatu, directed by F. W. Murnau and featuring the first film portrayal of Dracula—although names and characters were intended to mimic Dracula's, Murnau could not obtain permission to do so from Stoker's widow, and had to alter many aspects of the film. In addition to this film was Universal's Dracula (1931), starring Béla Lugosi as the Count in what was the first talking film to portray Dracula. The decade saw several more vampire films, most notably Dracula's Daughter in 1936. The legend of the vampire was cemented in the film industry when Dracula was reincarnated for a new generation with the celebrated Hammer Horror series of films, starring Christopher Lee as the Count. The successful 1958 Dracula starring Lee was followed by seven sequels. Lee returned as Dracula in all but two of these and became well known in the role.[161] By the 1970s, vampires in films had diversified with works such as Count Yorga, Vampire (1970), an African Count in 1972's Blacula, the BBC's Count Dracula featuring French actor Louis Jourdan as Dracula and Frank Finlay as Abraham Van Helsing, and a Nosferatu-like vampire in 1979's Salem's Lot, and a remake of Nosferatu itself, titled Nosferatu the Vampyre with Klaus Kinski the same year. Several films featured female, often lesbian, vampire antagonists such as Hammer Horror's The Vampire Lovers (1970) based on Carmilla, though the plotlines still revolved around a central evil vampire character. <br />The pilot for the Dan Curtis 1972 television series Kolchak: The Night Stalker revolved around reporter Carl Kolchak hunting a vampire on the Las Vegas strip. Later films showed more diversity in plotline, with some focusing on the vampire-hunter, such as Blade in the Marvel Comics' Blade films and the film Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy, released in 1992, foreshadowed a vampiric presence on television, with adaptation to a long-running hit TV series of the same name and its spin-off Angel. Still others showed the vampire as protagonist, such as 1983's The Hunger, 1994's Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles and its indirect sequel of sorts Queen of the Damned, and the 2007 series Moonlight. Bram Stoker's Dracula was a noteworthy 1992 film which became the then-highest grossing vampire film ever.[162] This increase of interest in vampiric plotlines led to the vampire being depicted in movies such as Underworld and Van Helsing, and the Russian Night Watch and a TV miniseries remake of 'Salem's Lot, both from 2004. The series Blood Ties premiered on Lifetime Television in 2007, featuring a character portrayed as Henry Fitzroy, illegitimate son of Henry VIII of England turned vampire, in modern-day Toronto, with a female former Toronto detective in the starring role. A 2008 series from HBO, entitled True Blood, gives a Southern take to the vampire theme. Another popular vampire-related show is CW's The Vampire Diaries. The continuing popularity of the vampire theme has been ascribed to a combination of two factors: the representation of sexuality and the perennial dread of mortality.[163] Another "vampiric" series that has recently come out is the Twilight Saga, a series of films based on the book series of the same name.<br />Powers and abilities<br />A Vampire's transformation is not nearly as startling as their Lycan counterparts. When they transform, their eyes turn a startling shade of electric blue or bright gold, while their canine teeth lengthen to become pointed fangs. At all times, the lateral incisors on all vampires are elongated and come to a sharp point. The Underworld vampires display most of the prominent vampire traits seen in myth and in popular culture: superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, agility, coordination, endurance, regeneration process and heightened senses. Selene and several other Death Dealers have been seen leaping from very high places; at least 10 stories in some places, and landing without injury or harm. Selene has been shown moving with enough speed to evade gunfire in Evolution, and to outrun an enraged Raze in the first film. All vampires, on the other hand, share a common weakness to sunlight, due to a fatal allergic reaction to Ultraviolet radiation. The Lycans, at the beginning of Underworld, take advantage of this weakness by filling their bullets with a photogenic solution. It was theorized that they were of military development, but it is later revealed they were made by Andreas Tanis. It can be assumed that the other vampires possessed various degrees of these abilities, due to their age and experience. Their heightened senses manifest in acutely increased depth perception, sense of smell, hearing, etc. Erika, a low-level vampire, is shown to have the ability to cling to the ceiling and jump at superhuman speed.<br />Their bite releases the vampire virus, which can aggressively overtake a normal human's physiology, causing them to become a Vampire as well. Biting humans is not the only way for vampires to "reproduce" as it is shown that vampires can interbreed with each other.<br /> Vampire Elders<br />Markus first turned the Hungarian warlord Viktor in exchange for his military intelligence, and Amelia was turned sometime later. They were to aid him in capturing his brother William. Viktor's army was made into the original Death Dealers. As the oldest and strongest vampires, they became the three Vampire Elders. Viktor was considered the strongest and was the main source of military force. Amelia was the most diplomatically powerful, aiding in spreading the coven's influence. Markus, however, was undermined and over-shadowed, even though he was the first-ever vampire, and presumably the most powerful. The prequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans shows that the Elders were once aided by a larger council that could exert some influence over their chief; this council was killed near the end of the film. In Underworld, when Amelia was assassinated her Council died with her.<br />Notable vampires<br />Markus Corvinus - First vampire and Vampire Elder<br />Viktor - Vampire Elder<br />Amelia - Vampire Elder<br />Sonja - Death Dealer, Vampire Council member, daughter of Viktor<br />Andreas Tanis - Coven Historian<br />Selene - Master Death Dealer<br />Kraven - Coven Leader, Ordoghaz regent<br />Erika - Seductress and socialite<br />Kahn - Chief Death Dealer and Weapons Master<br />Soren - Bodyguard and Soldier<br />Nathaniel - Death Dealer<br />Rigel - Death Dealer<br />Dominique – Maidservant<br />Dmitri - Diplomat<br />Luka - Lady In Waiting<br />Coloman - Past High Council Member<br />Orsova - Past High Council Member<br />Ulrik - Past High Council Member<br />Kosta - Past Overseer<br />Sandor - Past Death Dealer Captain<br />Malvina – Chambermaid<br /><br />him and the settled in southern China, where they had four children, who became the ancestors of mankind. <br /> GODS AND GODDESSES<br />MONKEY: The infamous irrepressible Monkey King, Trickster God, and Great Sage Equal Of Heaven.<br />GUAN-YU: A DAOist God of War and Martial Arts. Also well thought of by Buddhists. <br />JADE-EMPEROR: Supreme God of Chinese Folk Religion, the JADE-EMPEROR is Ruler of Heaven, Creator of the Universe, member of the SAN-QING, and Lord of the Imperial Court. <br />YEN-LO-WANG: The God of Death and Ruler of the Fifth Court of FENG-DU, the Chinese Hell. GUAN-YIN: Goddess of Compassion and Caring, and one of the Four Supreme BODHISATTVAs of Chinese Buddhism. <br />EIGHT-IMMORTALS: Eight Chinese individuals who, by pure chance, achieved Immortality via a bizarre set of events.<br />FENG-DU: The Realm of the Dead, containing all the Chinese Hells. <br />AO-CHIN: One of the DRAGON-KINGS, he's in charge of the Southern Ocean.<br />QI-LIN: The Chinese Unicorn. It's a splendid mythological beast with the body of a deer, the hooves of a horse, and a long elegant horn. <br />AO-KUANG: King of the DRAGON-KINGS. He's in charge of the Eastern Ocean. Regarded as the highest and mightiest of the Four Ocean Dragons, AO-KUANG is majestic, utterly regal and aloof. Despite that, he's always being pestered by people after a favor. <br /> <br />Japanese Mythology<br />Japan (/dʒəˈpæn/; Japanese: 日本 Nihon or Nippon, officially 日本国HYPERLINK "http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/86/Ja-nippon_nihonkoku.ogg" o "Ja-nippon nihonkoku.ogg"Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku) is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The characters that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes referred to as the "Land of the Rising Sun".<br />Japan is an archipelago of 6,852 islands. The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, together accounting for ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area. Japan has the world's tenth-largest population, with over 127 million people. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the de facto capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.<br />Archaeological research indicates that people lived in Japan as early as the Upper Paleolithic period. The first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD. Influence from other nations followed by long periods of isolation has characterized Japan's history. Since adopting its revised constitution in 1947, Japan has maintained a unitary constitutional monarchy with an emperor and an elected parliament called the Diet.<br />A major economic power, Japan has the world's third-largest economy by nominal GDP and by purchasing power parity. It is also the world's fourth largest exporter and fifth largest importer. Although Japan has officially renounced its right to declare war, it maintains an extensive modern military force in self-defense and peacekeeping roles. After Singapore, Japan has the lowest homicide (including attempted homicide) rate in the world. According to both UN and WHO estimates, Japan has the longest life expectancy of any country in the world. According to the UN, it has the third lowest infant mortality rate.<br />The English word Japan is an exonym. The Japanese names for Japan are Nippon (にっぽんHYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Installing_Japanese_character_sets" o "Help:Installing Japanese character sets"?) and Nihon (にほんHYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Installing_Japanese_character_sets" o "Help:Installing Japanese character sets"?) both names are written using the kanji 日本. The Japanese name Nippon is used for most official purposes, including on Japanese yen, postage stamps, and for many international sporting events. Nihon is a more casual term and is used in contemporary speech. Japanese people refer to themselves as Nihonjin (日本人HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Installing_Japanese_character_sets" o "Help:Installing Japanese character sets"?) and to their language as Nihongo (日本語HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Installing_Japanese_character_sets" o "Help:Installing Japanese character sets"?). Both Nippon and Nihon mean "sun-origin" and are often translated as Land of the Rising Sun. This nomenclature comes from Japanese missions to Imperial China and refers to Japan's eastward position relative to China. Before Nihon came into official use, Japan was known as Wa (倭HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Installing_Japanese_character_sets" o "Help:Installing Japanese character sets"?) or Wakoku (倭国HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Installing_Japanese_character_sets" o "Help:Installing Japanese character sets"?).<br />The English word for Japan came to the West via early trade routes. The early Mandarin or possibly Wu Chinese (吳語) word for Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本 'Japan' is Zeppen [zəʔpən]. The old Malay word for Japan, Jepang, was borrowed from a Chinese language, and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Malacca in the 16th century. It is thought the Portuguese traders were the first to bring the word to Europe. It was first recorded in English in a 1565 letter, spelled Giapan. <br />Japan's population is estimated at around 127.3 million. Japanese society is linguistically and culturally homogeneous with small populations of foreign workers. Zainichi Koreans, Zainichi Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese Brazilians, and Japanese Peruvians are among the small minority groups in Japan. In 2003, there were about 136,000 Western expatriates. The most dominant native ethnic group is the Yamato people; primary minority groups include the indigenous Ainu and Ryukyuan peoples, as well as social minority groups like the burakumin. <br />Japan has the highest life expectancy rate in the world. The Japanese population is rapidly aging as a result of a post–World War II baby boom followed by a decrease in birth rates. In 2004, about 19.5 percent of the population was over 65. The changes in demographic structure have created a number of social issues, particularly a potential decline in workforce population and increase in the cost of social security benefits like the public pension plan. A growing number of younger Japanese are preferring not to marry or have families. Japan's population is expected to drop to 100 million by 2050 and to 64 million by 2100. Demographers and government planners are currently in a heated debate over how to cope with this problem. Immigration and birth incentives are sometimes suggested as a solution to provide younger workers to support the nation's aging population. Japan has a steady flow of about 15,000 immigrants per year. According to the UNHCR, in 2007 Japan accepted just 41 refugees for resettlement, while the US took in 50,000. <br />Japan suffers from a high suicide rate. In 2009, the number of suicides exceeded 30,000 for the twelfth straight year. Suicide is the leading cause of death for people under 30.[Japan's population is estimated at around 127.3 million. Japanese society is linguistically and culturally homogeneous with small populations of foreign workers. Zainichi Koreans, Zainichi Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese Brazilians, and Japanese Peruvians are among the small minority groups in Japan. In 2003, there were about 136,000 Western expatriates. The most dominant native ethnic group is the Yamato people; primary minority groups include the indigenous Ainu and Ryukyuan peoples, as well as social minority groups like the burakumin. <br />Japan has the highest life expectancy rate in the world. The Japanese population is rapidly aging as a result of a post–World War II baby boom followed by a decrease in birth rates. In 2004, about 19.5 percent of the population was over 65.[144] The changes in demographic structure have created a number of social issues, particularly a potential decline in workforce population and increase in the cost of social security benefits like the public pension plan. A growing number of younger Japanese are preferring not to marry or have families. Japan's population is expected to drop to 100 million by 2050 and to 64 million by 2100. Demographers and government planners are currently in a heated debate over how to cope with this problem. Immigration and birth incentives are sometimes suggested as a solution to provide younger workers to support the nation's aging population. Japan has a steady flow of about 15,000 immigrants per year. According to the UNHCR, in 2007 Japan accepted just 41 refugees for resettlement, while the US took in 50,000. <br />Japan suffers from a high suicide rate. In 2009, the number of suicides exceeded 30,000 for the twelfth straight year. Suicide is the leading cause of death for people under 30.<br /> The mythology of Japan has a long history dating back more than 2,000 years. It became part of two major religious traditions: Shinto, an indigenous religion, and Buddhism, which developed in India and came to Japan from China and Korea. <br />Japanese mythology includes a vast number of gods, goddesses, and spirits. Most of the stories concern the creation of the world, the foundation of the islands of Japan, and the activities of deities, humans, animals, spirits, and magical creatures. Some myths describe characters and events associated with particular places in Japan. Others are set in legendary locations, such as the heavens or the underworld. <br />Sources for Japanese Myths <br />For many centuries myths were transmitted orally in Japan. In A . D . 712, a written version of the mythology, the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), was compiled for the Japanese imperial court. The tales in the Kojiki tell of the creation of the world, the origin of the gods, and the ancestry of the Japanese emperors, who claimed descent from the sun goddess Amaterasu. <br />Another early source of Japanese mythology is the Nihongi, or Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan). Completed in 720, this work also includes various myths and legends, and it helps establish the genealogy of the imperial family The Nihongi was greatly influenced by Hachiman, one of the most popular gods of Japanese mythology, was the patron of warriors.<br />Major Deities and Characters <br />In Japanese mythology, everything in nature has a kami— a deity or spirit. As a result, the Japanese pantheon is enormous, with some sources claiming that there are millions of different spirits and deities. Throughout Japan, local myths and legends tell about the kamt of a particular place, such as a rock, a pair of trees, or a mountain. However, several major deities appear in significant roles in a number of stories from different regions. <br />The two most important creator deities are Izanagi and his sister Izanami. According to the myths, they made the islands of Japan as well as many of the gods and goddesses. Izanagi and Izanami also appear in a story about a descent to Yomi-tsu Kuni, a land of darkness and death associated with the underworld. <br />Perhaps the best-known Japanese deity is the sun goddess Amaterasu. Said to be the ancestor of the imperial family, she brings light into the world and is responsible for fertility. Her shrine at Ise is the most important shrine in Japan. <br />indigenous - native to a certain place <br />deity - god or goddess <br />underworld - land of the dead <br />imperial - relating to an emperor or empire <br />genealogy- record of a person's ancestry <br />pantheon - all the gods of a particular culture <br />Amaterasu has two brothers: the moon god Tsuki-yomi and Susano-ô, a powerful and violent god often associated with storms. Of the two, Susano-ô plays a more important role in mythology, appearing in a number of major legends, including several with Amaterasu. <br />Ôkuninushi, a descendant of Susano-ô (possibly his son), is a central character in the Izumo Cycle, a series of myths set in the Izumo region of western Japan. Like the heroes in the legends of other cultures, Ôkuninushi has many adventures and undergoes various ordeals. <br />One of the most popular deities of Japanese mythology is Hachiman, a patron of warriors. The character of Hachiman is based on the emperor Ôjin, who lived in the A . D . 300S and was renowned for his military skills. According to tradition, after Ôjin died he became the god Hachiman. In the 700s, Hachiman became part of the Shinto pantheon. <br />The god Inari appears in few myths, but he is important because of his association with the growing of rice, the major food crop in Japan. Thought to bring prosperity, Inari is the patron of merchants and sword makers. <br />Among the many spirits and creatures in Japanese mythology are the tengu, minor deities that are part human and part bird. According to tradition, they live in trees in mountainous areas. The tengu enjoy playing tricks on humans but resent being tricked themselves. They are more mischievous than wicked. <br />The Oni, a more threatening group of spirits, may have originated in China and traveled to Japan with Buddhism. These horned demons, often of enormous size, can take human or animal shape. Sometimes invisible, the Oni have the ability to steal the souls of humans. They can be very cruel and are associated with various evil forces such as famine and disease. <br />Japanese Creation Myth<br /> Different people, cultures and religions have described the creation of Earth in their mythology and folklore. The stories that explain about the creation of the universe and its elements are know as creation myth. According to Japanese creation myth, the Heaven and the Earth were not divided. All the elements of the Heaven and the Earth were entwined and mixed together with one germ of life. It is believed that this germ of life mixed everything together until the lighter part rose and the heavier part sank. It so happened that entire earth was covered with a muddy ocean and there was a chaos in the ocean. From this ocean arose a reed, which grew until it reached the sky. This reed was transformed into a god and the place where the head of the reed touched became the Heaven. This god created many gods including the Gods of Creation such as Ame-no-Minaka-Nushi-no-Mikoto (the Deity-of-the-August-Center-of-Heaven), Takami-Musubi-no-Mikoto (the High-August-Producing-Wondrous-Deity), and a third god called Kammi-Musubi-no-Mikoto (the Divine-Producing-Wondrous-Deity). Izanagi and Izanami were the gods that were created last. They were the most remarkable of all the gods. <br />Creation of the Islands of Japan Many believe it were the gods Izanagi and Izanami who created the islands of Japan. Izanami, the female god, and Izanagi, the male god once stirred the ocean with their jeweled spear until it curdled to become a hard mass of land. Thus the first island of Japan called Onokoro was created. They built a house with a strong central pillar in this island. Both the gods, walked around the pillar in opposite directions until they met face to face. That was when they decided to get married. Their first-born was a boy, when he was around three years of age, his parents put him in a reed boat. He became Ebisu - the God of the fishermen. Izanagi and Izanami created all kinds of living beings – plants and animals. Later Izanami delivered a beautiful girl child. The gods made her the Sun because she was too beautiful to live on earth. Tsuki-yami , their second daughter became the Moon. They had an unruly son who was sentenced to rule the sea. He is the one who creates the storms. Before giving birth to these gods, Izanami created eight Japanese islands. <br />Creating the islands. She told him, she would ask the spirits of the Land of Gloom to relieve her. Till then, he should not try to look for her. After a long period of waiting, Izanagi got tired and made a torch from one of the tooth of his hair comb and went in search of her. He was shocked to see her rotting body with swarms of maggots on it. He also noticed that she was giving birth to the eight Gods of Thunder. The sight revolted him. When Izanami realized that her husband had not kept his word, she commanded the foul spirits of the Land of Gloom to kill him. However, Izanagi outwitted the spirits by flinging his headdress that turned into grapes. The greedy spirits stopped to nourish on the grapes instead of pursuing him. Later he threw down his comb, which grew into bamboo shoots. As he was nearing the border between the Land of dead and the Land of Living, his dead wife, Izanami, caught up with him. But he was too quick for her, on crossing over to the Land of Living; he pushed a huge boulder over the mouth of the Land of dead. It is believed that this created the permanent demarcation between life and death. There are many such stories about the Japanese Creation Myth and mythology. Even today, Japanese believe that Izanami rule the Land of Gloom and Death, while the Land of Living is ruled by Izanagi.<br />Japanese Creation Myth<br /> Different people, cultures and religions have described the creation of Earth in their mythology and folklore. The stories that explain about the creation of the universe and its elements are known as creation myth. In brief, a creation myth is a narration of the supernatural and mytho-religious stories. According to Japanese creation myth, the Heaven and the Earth were not divided. All the elements of the Heaven and the Earth were entwined and mixed together with one germ of life. It is believed that this germ of life mixed everything together until the lighter part rose and the heavier part sank. It so happened that entire earth was covered with a muddy ocean and there was a chaos in the ocean. From this ocean arose a reed, which grew until it reached the sky. This reed was transformed into a god and the place where the head of the reed touched became the Heaven. This god created many gods including the Gods of Creation such as Ame-no-Minaka-Nushi-no-Mikoto (the Deity-of-the-August-Center-of-Heaven), Takami-Musubi-no-Mikoto (the High-August-Producing-Wondrous-Deity), and a third god called Kammi-Musubi-no-Mikoto (the Divine-Producing-Wondrous-Deity). Izanagi and Izanami were the gods that were created last.<br />Creation of the Islands of Japan Many believe it were the gods Izanagi and Izanami who created the islands of Japan. Izanami, the female god, and Izanagi, the male god once stirred the ocean with their jeweled spear until it curdled to become a hard mass of land. Thus the first island of Japan called Onokoro was created. They built a house with a strong central pillar in this island. Both the gods, walked around the pillar in opposite directions until they met face to face. That was when they decided to get married. Their first-born was a boy, when he was around three years of age, his parents put him in a reed boat. He became Ebisu - the God of the fishermen. Izanagi and Izanami created all kinds of living beings – plants and animals. Later Izanami delivered a beautiful girl child. The gods made her the Sun because she was too beautiful to live on earth. Tsuki-yami , their second daughter became the Moon. They had an unruly son who was sentenced to rule the sea. He is the one who creates the storms. Before giving birth to these gods, Izanami created eight Japanese islands.<br />Gods Created by Izanami As a part of Japanese Creation Myth it is believed that Izanami gave birth to the God of the Land, God of Wind and Rain. While she was giving birth to the God of Fire, she was badly injured. She later succumbed to the burns. Her husband slain the God of Fire out of fury. He went in search of her by calling out her name. But it was in vain. Finally he entered the Land of Gloom in search of her. Here he heard her voice telling him that she had already eaten the fruit of that land and it was too late for her to return. He was not ready to leave her there as they had yet to complete their work of creating the islands. She told him, she would ask the spirits of the Land of Gloom to relieve her. Till then, he should not try to look for her. After a long period of waiting, Izanagi got tired and made a torch from one of the tooth of his hair comb and went in search of her. He was shocked to see her rotting body with swarms of maggots on it. He also noticed that she was giving birth to the eight Gods of Thunder. The sight revolted him. When Izanami realized that her husband had not kept his word, she commanded the foul spirits of the Land of Gloom to kill him. However, Izanagi outwitted the spirits by flinging his headdress that turned into grapes. The greedy spirits stopped to nourish on the grapes instead of pursuing him. Later he threw down his comb, which grew into bamboo shoots. As he was nearing the border between the Land of dead and the Land of Living, his dead wife, Izanami, caught up with him. But he was too quick for her, on crossing over to the Land of Living; he pushed a huge boulder over the mouth of the Land of dead. It is believed that this created the permanent demarcation between life and death. There are many such stories about the Japanese Creation Myth and mythology. Even today, Japanese believe that Izanami rule the Land of Gloom and Death, while the Land of Living is ruled by Izanagi.<br />Japanese Gods and Goddesses<br />AmaterasAmateras (Amaterasu) was born from the left eye of the primeval being Izanagi. She is the greatest of the Japanese gods, the sun goddess, ruler of the Plain of Heaven.<br />HoderiHoderi, the son of Ninigi (first ruler of the Japanese islands) and Ko-no-Hana (daughter of the mountain god Oho-Yama [Encyclopedia Mythica]) and the brother of Hoori, is the divine ancestor of the immigrants coming from the south over the sea to Japan.<br />HoteiHotei is one of the 7 Japanese Shinto gods of luck (Shichi Fukujin), depicted with a great belly. He is the god of happiness, laughter, and the wisdom of contentment.<br />HooriSon of Ninigi and Ko-no-Hana, and brother of Hoderi, Hoori is the divine ancestor of the emperor.<br />Izanami and Izanagi<br /> In Japanese Shinto mythology, Izanami is a primordial goddess and personification of the Earth and darkness. Izanagi and Izanami were the first parents. They created the world and produced Amaterasu (sun goddess), Tsukiyomi no Mikoto (moon god), Susanowo (sea god), and Kaga-Tsuchi (fire god), as their offspring. Izanagi went to the Underworld to find his wife who had been killed giving birth to Amaterasu. Unfortunately, Izanami had already eaten and so could not return to the land of the living, but became queen of the Underworld. ["Izanagi and Izanami" A Dictionary of Asian Mythology. David Leeming. Oxford University Press] See Persephone for a similar motif in Greek mythology.<br />KagutsuchiJapanese god of fire who burned his mother, Izanami, to death when she gave birth. Kagutsuchi's father is Izanagi.<br />OkuninushiA son of Susanowo, he was a spirit type called a kami. He ruled Izumo until the coming of Ninigi. ["Okuninushi" A Dictionary of Asian Mythology. David Leeming. Oxford University Press]<br />SusanohAlso spelled Susanowo, he ruled the oceans and was god of rain, thunder, and lightning. He was banished from heaven for bad behavior while drunk. He became an underworld god Susanoh is a brother of Amaterasu. ["Shinto Mythology" A Dictionary of Asian Mythology. David Leeming. Oxford University Press]<br />TsukiyominoMikotoThe Shinto moon god and another brother of Amaterasu, who was born from the right eye of Izanagi.<br />Ukemochi(Ogetsu-no-hime)Food goddess killed by Tsukiyomi. ["Tsukiyomi" The Oxford Companion to World Mythology. David Leeming. Oxford University Press]<br />UzumeAlso Ama no Uzume, she is the Shinto goddess of joy and happiness, and good health. Uzume brought Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu back from her cave.<br />him and the settled in southern China, where they had four children, who became the ancestors of mankind. <br /> GODS AND GODDESSES<br />MONKEY: The infamous irrepressible Monkey King, Trickster God, and Great Sage Equal Of Heaven.<br />GUAN-YU: A DAOist God of War and Martial Arts. Also well thought of by Buddhists. <br />JADE-EMPEROR: Supreme God of Chinese Folk Religion, the JADE-EMPEROR is Ruler of Heaven, Creator of the Universe, member of the SAN-QING, and Lord of the Imperial Court. <br />YEN-LO-WANG: The God of Death and Ruler of the Fifth Court of FENG-DU, the Chinese Hell. GUAN-YIN: Goddess of Compassion and Caring, and one of the Four Supreme BODHISATTVAs of Chinese Buddhism. <br />EIGHT-IMMORTALS: Eight Chinese individuals who, by pure chance, achieved Immortality via a bizarre set of events.<br />FENG-DU: The Realm of the Dead, containing all the Chinese Hells. <br />AO-CHIN: One of the DRAGON-KINGS, he's in charge of the Southern Ocean.<br />QI-LIN: The Chinese Unicorn. It's a splendid mythological beast with the body of a deer, the hooves of a horse, and a long elegant horn. <br />AO-KUANG: King of the DRAGON-KINGS. He's in charge of the Eastern Ocean. Regarded as the highest and mightiest of the Four Ocean Dragons, AO-KUANG is majestic, utterly regal and aloof. Despite that, he's always being pestered by people after a favor. <br /> <br />

×