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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 


"Master  of the August Centre of Heaven"

Main Shrines

Tōkyō Daijingu                   東京大神宮        

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


Chichibu Jinja                      秩父神社             

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


Yohashira Jinja                   四柱神社                  

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


Kushiro Jinja                       釧路神社                  

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


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.

Shrines bearing the name Ame-no-minaka-nushi

Arranged by Prefecture

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


Chiba-ken, Isumi-shi, Nittano 109


Chiba-ken, Katsuura-shi, Nakajima 374


Chiba-ken, Sakura-shi, Kamishizu 962


Chiba-ken, Sanmu-shi, Toda 1000


Chiba-ken, Yotsukaidō-shi, Yamanashi 823


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


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


Hyōgo-ken, Sumoto-shi, Ikenouchi 410


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


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


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


Kagoshima-ken, Minamisatsuma-shi, Kaseda Tsunuki 12072


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


Okayama-ken, Kurashiki-shi, Hashima 899


Shiga-ken, Ōmihachiman-shi中之庄町612


Wakayama-ken, Shingū-shi, Sano 1065


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


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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