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Kami and Healing
Today, accounting for illness and healing is the singular role of modern medicine. However, there are still cases in which humans are not necessarily satisfied by medical explanations alone. When confronted with an undiagnosable illness, or an illness which is malignant in nature, for example, religion often offers people the most appropriate explanation. Even the rapid conversion of new believers to Shinto-derived New Religions in the modern era can be attributed, in part, to those religions' attention to providing religious answers to questions about the cause of illness and what people suffering from illness can do to help speed their recovery. These explanations typically take the form of statements about how illness is a kami's way of drawing a person's attention to something. The relation between illness and kami, at the same time, is not limited to New Religions. In book one of the Nihongi, the kami Ōnamuchi no mikoto, combining his powers with the kami Sukunahikona no mikoto, created everything under heaven and set forth both methods for healing illness among its human inhabitants, their livestock, and their domesticated animals, as well as magical means of averting disasters. Based on this, it is evident that both healing and magic have existed at least since the Age of the Kami (kamiyo).
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