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Kami in Folk Religion


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Oyagami

"Parent deity," an extension of the image of parenthood to kami, expressing the belief that kami care for human beings in the same way that human parents care for their children. The term is believed to describe the close relationship between kami and humans, one embodying a particularly intimate a...

Raihōshin

"Visiting kami," a being which periodically visits a community from the other world to bring blessings. Beliefs in this type of kami are based on the ancient view of kami as transient beings that do not dwell permanently in a single place. With the establishment of permanent shrines to kami in the ...

Raijin

"Thunder kami." In ancient times, thunder and lightning were considered atmospheric expressions of the violent behavior of a thunder kami, and lightening striking earth was interpreted as the kami's temporal manifestation. The term for thunder, kaminari can be read to mean kami "sounding" (nari), w...

Sakainokami

  "kami of the border," a tutelary enshrined at the boundaries of settlements, and meant to prevent the ingress of evil spirits and kami of pestilence believed responsible for bringing plagues or other disasters to the community. Archeological excavations of areas bordering Yayoi-period communit...

Shichifukujin

"Seven deities of good fortune," seven deities reputed to bring good luck. Most commonly, the seven include Ebisu, Daikoku, Bishamonten, Fukurokuju, Jurōjin, Benzaiten, and Hōtei (Ch. Pu-tai), but during the early modern period, Fukurōju and Jurōjin were frequently identified as...

Suijin

"Water-kami," a general term for tutelaries of water, found in a variety of forms. Water is of crucial importance in agriculture, and the availability and quality of water can spell life or death to farmers; as a result, tutelaries of water naturally came to be associated with rice-field tutelaries...

Tanokami

  "Kami of the rice paddy," a tutelary of rice production. The general term ta no kami can be found nationwide, but regional variations exist in the specific names used to refer to the kami. Some include nōgami (farming kami) in the northeast, sakugami (kami of production) in Yamanashi and Nagan...

Toshigami, Toshitokujin

A kami that visits during the New Year's season, heralding the advent of the New Year, also called Shōgatsu-sama (lit., "Honorable New Year"). The name Toshitokujin has origins in Chinese Yin-Yang divination (Jp. Onmyōdō), and refers to a goddess with dominion over auspicious directi...

Ubusunagami

The tutelary kami of one's birthplace. Also known as ubusuna. A variety of orthographical representations for the term ubusuna are found historically, including ܵ, , , ׿, and . In any case, the element ubu means birth, though opinion is divided regarding the significance of ...

Ujigami

"Clan kami," in ancient Japanese society, an ancestral kami or other tutelary worshiped by individuals sharing the same clan (uji) name. As a result of historical changes in the composition of groups worshiping such kami, however, ujigami today are most frequently identified with local chthonic tut...

Uminokami

  "Kami of the sea," a tutelary of the ocean and ocean travel. Believed to live in the sea or the "other world" at the bottom of the sea, the umi no kami is a nature deity believed to have dominion over ocean winds and waves, the tides, and rains. It was anciently believed that if the sea kami we...

Yamanokami

  "Kami of the mountain." While the term yama no kami is a general expression referring to any kami dwelling in a mountain, a number of differences exist between low-land agriculturalists and mountain folk (people who make their living from various forestry or mountain-related occupations) in the cha...

Yashikigami

"Estate kami," a tutelary kami enshrined on or nearby the plot of land on which a human dwelling is built. Most yashikigami are found in the form of small shrines made of wood or stone, or a makeshift straw shrine which may be rebuilt at the time of each regular observance of worship. In other case...



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