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A Kami by any other Name
It is widely known that Shinto is counted among the worlds polytheistic religions, but each Shinto kami also bears multiple names, making their stories harder to untangle. Originally, in the Kojiki and Nihongi, the ways of referring to the same kami often differed. While in the Kojiki, kami names were expressed in manyōgana (the predecessor of the present-day katakana syllabary) in the Nihongi they were expressed in kanbun, or literary Chinese characters. For example, whereas the Kojiki records the name of a certain kami as ڲǷ, or Konohana no sakuyahime, in the Nihongi the same name becomes ڲڳɱ, or Konohana sakuyahime. Examples like this, however, are more like variant spellings rather than variant names, and if you have seen the pair of variant spellings once, they are easy to equate. However, in cases in which a kami bears multiple variant names, one becomes aware of the complexity of its origin. Ōkuninushi is a prime example of a kami with many variant names. In the Kojiki alone, this kami is referred to as Ōnamuchi, Ashiharashikowo no kami, Yachihoko no kami, and Utsushikunitama no kami. There is also the hypothesis that Ōmononushi is yet another name for Ōkuninushi. Hohodemi is another example of a kami with many variant names. The name Hohodemi, however, is little known today among the general populace, whereas his variant name Yamasachibiko is well known. This is just one of many examples in which a variant name for a kami has become more popular than its original.
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