Festivals of Light - Shinto
In the traditional native religion of Japan - Shinto - mirrors hold a particular significance. The mirror forms part of the sacred regalia of Japan along with a jewel and a sword. All these are associated with Amaterasu Omikami, the Sun Goddess, as described in the 8th-century Kojiki, Japan's oldest extant chronicle, recording events from the mythical age of the gods.
Amaterasu is accompanied by her younger brother, the deity Susanoo no Mikoto. Deeply offended by his actions Amaterasu hid herself in a cave leaving the universe in complete darkness and chaos.
The other gods begged her to emerge, but it was only after the Goddess of Mirth, Ama-no-Uzume, hung a mirror on a tree and performed an erotic dance outside the cave that the laughter of the other gods made Amaterasu peep out of the cave with curiosity.
The Sun Goddess caught a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror and was so startled that the other gods were able to pull her out and convince her to return to the sky, thus returning light and order to the world. Her return to the sky is celebrated on the winter solstice on 21 December.
Amaterasu's grandson was sent to pacify Japan and his great-grandson became the first emperor of Japan - hence the Japanese emperors claim descent from the sun god.