Artist's impression of Yata no Kagami
Artist's impression of Yata no Kagami

Yata no Kagami (八咫鏡) is a sacred mirror that is part of the Imperial Regalia of Japan.[1]

Name and significance

The Yata no Kagami represents "wisdom" or "honesty," depending on the source.[1] Its name literally means "The Eight Ata Mirror," a reference to its size.[2][3] Mirrors in ancient Japan represented truth because they merely reflected what was shown, and were objects of mystique and reverence (being uncommon items).

According to Shinsuke Takenaka at the Institute of Moralogy; Yata no Kagami is considered the most precious of the three sacred treasures.[4]


In the year 1040 (Chōkyū 1, 9th month), the compartment which contained the Sacred Mirror was burned in a fire.[5] Whether that mirror was irrevocably lost or not, it is said to be housed today in Ise Grand Shrine, in Mie Prefecture, Japan,[6] although a lack of public access makes this difficult to verify. Presently, a replica is enshrined in Three Palace Sanctuaries of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.[1]


In Shinto, the mirror was forged by the deity Ishikoridome; both it and the Yasakani no magatama were hung from a tree to lure out Amaterasu from a cave. They were given to Amaterasu's grandson, Ninigi-no-Mikoto, when he went to pacify Japan along with the sword Kusanagi. From there, the treasures passed into the hands of the Imperial House of Japan.[7]

The researcher Shinsuke Takenaka said according to the legends, Amaterasu told Ninigi: "Serve this mirror as my soul, just as you'd serve me, with clean mind and body."[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Denney, John W. (2011). Respect and Consideration. pp. 321, 318–326. ISBN 978-0-9568798-0-6.
  2. ^ Authors, Various (2021-03-18). RLE: Japan Mini-Set F: Philosophy and Religion (4 vols). Routledge. p. 127. ISBN 978-1-136-90356-4.
  3. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, R. A. B. (2014-06-03). Studies In Shinto & Shrines. Routledge. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-136-89294-3.
  4. ^ a b Anna Jones (27 April 2019). "Akihito and Japan's Imperial Treasures that make a man an emperor". BBC. Archived from the original on March 24, 2022.
  5. ^ Ackroyd, Joyce. (1982). Lessons from History: the Tokushi Yoron, p. 29.
  6. ^ Cali, Joseph; Dougill, John (2012-11-30). Shinto Shrines: A Guide to the Sacred Sites of Japan’s Ancient Religion. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 214–222. ISBN 978-0-8248-3775-4.
  7. ^ Roberts, Jeremy (2009). Japanese Mythology A to Z. Infobase Publishing. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-1-4381-2802-3.