Note: The numbers preceding the names of these kami represent their position in the the traditional chronology

Tales of

the Kami 

Note: An annotated list of all the kami I have catalogued so far can be found here.  English Kami names are from Chamberlain's Kojiki translation.

This section is a selective and loose retelling of the major episodes of Book 1 of the Kojiki, the Age of Gods, based on the translations by Chamberlain and Philippi, although I have frequently  referred to the original for clarification, particularly with regard to names. The section numbers are derived from the original as given by Yamaguchi (Japanese). Some of the section titles are taken from Chamberlain. The sections are linked to the corresponding ones in How Many Kami in Japan?, and vice versa.

1. Ame-no-Minaka-nushi 

天の御中主

"Master  of the August Centre of Heaven"

Main Shrines

Tōkyō Daijingu                   東京大神宮        

Fujimi 2-4-1, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō                         

東京都千代田区富士見2-4-2                                 

Chichibu Jinja                      秩父神社             

Banba-machi 1-3, Chichibu-shi, Saitama-ken

埼玉県秩父市番場町1-3                             

Yohashira Jinja                   四柱神社                  

Ōte 3-3-20, Matsumoto-shi, Nagano-ken                  

 長野県松本市大手3-3-20                           

Kushiro Jinja                       釧路神社                  

Tōya 52, Kushiro-chō, Kushiro-gun, Hokkaidō                 

北海道釧路郡釧路町字遠野52                  

Shrines bearing the name Ame-no-minaka-nushi

Arranged by Prefecture

Chiba-ken, Chōsei-gun, Chōnan-machi Chōnan 1257

   千葉県長生郡長南町長南1257番地

Chiba-ken, Isumi-shi, Nittano 109

   千葉県いすみ市新田野109

Chiba-ken, Katsuura-shi, Nakajima 374

   千葉県勝浦市中島374-

Chiba-ken, Sakura-shi, Kamishizu 962

   千葉県佐倉市上志津962

Chiba-ken, Sanmu-shi, Toda 1000

   千葉県山武市戸田1000番地

Chiba-ken, Yotsukaidō-shi, Yamanashi 823

   千葉県四街道市山梨823番地

Ehime-ken, Kitauwa-gun, Kihoku-chō Nakanokawa 187

   愛媛県北宇和郡鬼北町中野川187番

Fukushima-ken, Yama-gun, Nishiizu-machi, Okugawa Ōtsunagi 

   福島県耶麻郡西会津町奥川大綱木字小舟沢3363-

Hyōgo-ken, Sumoto-shi, Ikenouchi 410

   兵庫県洲本市池内410

Kagoshima-ken, Kirishima-shi, Kokubunkiyomizu 3-4-17-17

   鹿児島県霧島市国分清水3-4-17-17

Kagoshima-ken, Makurazaki-shi, Kotobuki-chō 259

   鹿児島県枕崎市寿町259番

Kagoshima-ken, Minamikyushu-shi, Kawanabe-chō Furuton 2417

   鹿児島県南九州市川辺町古殿2417

Kagoshima-ken, Minamisatsuma-shi, Kaseda Tsunuki 12072

   鹿児島県南さつま市加世田津貫12072番

Kagoshima-ken, Satsumasendai-shi, Nakamura-chō 7330

   鹿児島県薩摩川内市中村町7330番

Okayama-ken, Kurashiki-shi, Hashima 899

   岡山県倉敷市羽島899

Shiga-ken, Ōmihachiman-shi中之庄町612

   滋賀県近江八幡市中之庄町612-

Wakayama-ken, Shingū-shi, Sano 1065

   和歌山県新宮市佐野1065-

Yamaguchi-ken, Hōfu-shi, Kurumazuka-chō 5-28

   山口県防府市車塚町五番三八号

Section 1The Beginnings of Heaven and Earth (Kami 1-12)

The first kami, appearing at the very beginning of the Kojiki. In Chamberlain's translation “The names of the Deities that were born in the Plains of High Heaven when the Heaven and the Earth began were the Deity Master-of-the-August-Centre-of-Heaven...” (p17). He makes no further appearance in the Kojiki and is also mentioned just once in a note in the Nihon Shoki. The Plains of High Heaven (Takama-ga-hara) is the dwelling place of the gods and is said to be connected to the earth by the Floating Bridge of Heaven (Ama-no-uki-hashi). Ame-no-minaka-nushi and the two kami who appeared after him in Takama-ga-hara, Takami-Musubi-kami (the High-August-Producing-Wondrous Deity) and Kami-Musubi-kami (the Divine-Producing-Wondrous Deity), are commonly referred as the Three Gods of Creation, Zōka-no-Sanjin.

The early parts of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki were for centuries considered to be imitations of Chinese models and it is not until the appearance of the brother/sister duo Izanagi and Izanami in the 12th generation of kami that they take on a fully Japanese persona. During the Edo period, however, Nativist scholars re-examined this interpretation and Hirata Atsutane propounded a theory contending that Ame-no-minaka-nushi was the primary kami of the seven major stars making up the Ursa Major constellation. Like Motoori, Hirata has been kamified and is enshrined at the Hirata-jinja in Tōkyō’s Shibuya-ku. His theory was taken up by the government during the early years of the Meiji Restoration as part of a nationalist drive to clearly separate Shintō and Buddhism and promote the former at the expense of the latter Shin-butsu bunri. Prior to this many shrines and Buddhist temples shared the same space and many Buddhist gods were also Shintō deities. One of these, Myōken, a bodhisattva considered to be the personification of the North Star, was replaced by Ame-no-minaka-nushi in shrines. I have identified 45 Myōken Jinja, 33 of them in the west of the country. It would seem a safe assumption that at least some of them were previously temples but at the moment I don’t have time to look into this. An interesting byway to meander along later.

 
 
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© Rod Lucas 2016-2019

All text and photos by Lucas unless otherwise stated