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Home » 2. Kami (Deities) » Kami in Classic Texts
Amewakahiko
[Ame wakahiko] (Kojiki)(Nihongi)
Other names: Ame no wakahiko(Kojiki, Nihongi)



The child of Amatsukunitama. In preparation for the Descent of the Heavenly Grandchild (tenson kōrin), Amenohohi was first sent from the Plain of High Heaven to the residence of the earth kami Ōkuninushi, to pacify the Central Land of Reed Plains and engage in negotiations for its transfer to the Heavenly Grandchild. Amenohohi did not return, however, with the result that Amenowakahiko was entrusted with bow and arrow from the heavenly kami, and dispatched with the same mission. According to Kojiki, this appointment was at the recommendation of Omoikane, while Nihongi states that it was at the recommendation of all the heavenly kami.

Amewakahiko, however, took to wife Shitateruhime, the daughter of Ōkuninushi, and made plans to rule himself over the Central Land. Like his predecessor, Amewakahiko sent no report back to the Plain of High Heaven, with the result that Takamimusuhi and others convened a council of the heavenly kami; upon deliberation, they decided to dispatch the pheasant Nakime to inquire of Amewakahiko's true intentions. But Amawakahiko, urged on by Amenosagume, used the bow and arrow received from the heavenly kami to shoot the pheasant Nakime. The arrow pierced Nakime and continued to climb to heaven where it was found by Takamimusuhi; discerning the false heart of Amewakahiko, he flung the arrow back down at the Central Land where it struck Amewakahiko mortally in the breast.
Nihongi records that at the time he was killed, Amewakahiko was resting after observing the festival of firstfruits (Niinamesai), while Kojiki states that he was lying in bed one morning. The histories relate that this event was the origin of the maxim, "fear a returning arrow," and the story is also touched upon in the "norito for the exorcism of a vengeful deity" (Tataru kami utsushiyarau).

Amewakahiko's name is mentioned in the fragmentary records of the Settsu no kuni fudoki, the Utsubo monogatari, Sagoromo monogatari, as well as the later Otogi zōshi. His name appears to have been widely used as a generic reference to male deities who descended from heaven to earth. Deities called Amewakahiko are worshiped at some shikinaisha in the province of Izumo.

-Mori Mizue
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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