What are Japanese Gods

Origin of Japanese gods

At the beginning of the Japanese cosmogony were the high celestial gods, or the five Koto Amatsukami. They created heaven and earth. Then Kamiyō Nanayō or Seven Generations of the Divine Age came down to earth, two of whom — brother with sister and divine consort Izanagi and Izanami — created 8 great Japanese islands (except Hokkaido and Southern Kurils).

After giving birth to the sun goddess Amaterasu, Izanagi removed herself to the Japanese counterpart of Hell Yomi, from where she began to threaten her brother with the destruction of humanity. She promised to strangle all people, to which her brother answered her with the creation of new and new women in labor. When Izanami coped with this threat, he removed himself into seclusion.

This pair of gods became the progenitor and creator of nearly 7 million officially recorded deities in different sources — the kami of Japan.

Amaterasu, the patron saint of Sun, Earth and farming and supreme goddess, later became the progenitor of the Imperial family of Japan.

The kami system

The number of Japanese gods is infinite. If the supreme kami have names and written history reflected in the holy books of Shinto, the myriad kami of streams and rocks are not.

It was not until the 14th century that Japanese officials established a strict system of myths and kami hierarchy, in which each god is assigned its place, rank and tradition of worship. It is clearly spelled out which days to worship which source and what to present it. Mount Fujiyama also has its kami. This system is reflected in the books of “Kojiki”, “Nihon shoki”.

Virtually every ancient Japanese genus considers the origin of one or another god.

As early as the last century, the divine origin and status of an ancestor god in the general system had significance when appointing a Japanese man to official positions.

The modern status of Japanese gods

Shintoism is the main Japanese religion, and it is translated — the Way of the Gods. But it must be understood that the times when every Japanese knew his origin from this or that kami have passed. The Imperial House, of course, will confirm that they come directly from Amaterasu, and many notables too, but direct genealogical connections have ceased to make up a slender system.

The gods are not banished, but not here either. Sure, vintage festivities — O-bon, the worship of sakura blossoms, awaken Japanese interest in their kami, but it’s short-lived and ends with the fall of the last pink petal.

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