Female heroines are rare in mythology. In Greek, off the top of my hippocampus, I can only recall one, Atlanta. In Chinese folklore, possibly the most popularly known, Hua/Fa Mulan. Does Shinto mythology (Japanese folklore) have a similar heroin legend?
Amaterasu or Amaterasu-ōmikami is one of the major deities in the animistic Shinto religion of Japan; her full name means “Great Divinity Illuminating Heaven.” One of the world’s few female solar deities, a principal myth featuring Amaterasu depicts her conflict with her brother, Susanoo, god of storms and the sea. Angered with Susanoo because he threw a flayed horse into her weaving hall (rude), Amaterasu withdrew to a cave and brought an age of darkness upon the world. She was eventually coaxed into leaving the cave (pictured above), but Susanoo was banished from heaven. As a gesture of reconciliation, he gifted her the legendary sword Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (天叢雲剣, “Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven”).
The diverse roles of women in Shinto myths make it difficult for scholars to generalize about women's roles at Shinto's origin.2 Amateratsu, the sun goddess, and Himiko, an early shaman queen of Japan, are central figures in the faith. Other goddesses include Benten, a dragon-woman of good luck, and Inari, a rice goddess who takes the form of kitsune, a vixen (female fox) at many Shinto shrines. The Kojiki, a collection of stories which form Shinto practices, purport to be collected from a courtesan, Hieda no Are, and written down at the request of an Empress, Gemmei.