ANTH 101 Exploring Sociocultural Anthropology


Discuss the meanings of the word “kami”.

Answer to Question: ANTH 101 Exploring Sociocultural Anthropology

Kami can be described as a Shinto god or goddess.

The Shinto religion considers kami to be spirits.

These may be natural elements, as well as qualities that an individual inherits from another person.

If they have practiced the virtues of kami during their lives, then emperors or other leaders could become kami.

Kami’s can be described as nature itself, and are therefore not different from nature.

Kami might have positive or negative, good- or bad characteristics (Sever).

The theory states that the Yamato court’s intelligent designs for national confederation lie behind the human body.

Japanese refer to kami as a word that is used in place or worship of supernatural spirits and gods.

Shinto natives identified these 5 characteristics.

The kami have two heads.

They are both good and harmful for the good.

They are lovable when they are well treated. If they get mistreated they can become a disaster.

Kami exist everywhere and are not visible to the human realm.

They are found in many sacred places (Ono and Woodard).

They travel and may visit any place they are worshipped.

There are many types and varieties of kami.

There are 300 different types of kami.

Different kami have their own duties. It is the obligation of humans to please kami through their worship and the duty of kami that they perform functions for the betterment of humanity ().

Shinto’s natives celebrate many festivals and ceremonies in honor of kami.

The first Niiname–sai festival saw the offering of newly harvested rice for kami to make them happy.

Shinto-shrine (Pye. 1.1) is another ritual that purifies themselves before they present themselves for the kami.

This involves washing your hands, gargling and so on.

This was done to cleanse their bodies and souls before visiting the kami.

These notable kami include:

Amaterasu can be described as the goddess both of sun and universe.

Amaterasu derives her name from the word amateur, which means “shinning at heaven”.

Amaterasu is actually her full name. This is the great august god kami Amaterasu who shines in light heaven.

Yata-no Kagami, Amaterasu’s preferred mirror, is kept at the shrine. This is Japan’s imperial regalia.

Shikinen Sengu (a festive) is held every year to honor Amaterasu.

Each day, the goddess is presented with new clothes and food. This practice has been in place for 690+ years (Breen, Teeuwen, 132-167).

Susanoo is amaterasu’s brother and is known as the storm god summer.

Takehaya Susanoo no Mikito is his second name.

His spouse is kushinadahime.

It is believed that Susanoo and his sister amaterasu (Breen, Teeuwen) used to have an aggressive rivalry.

Izanagi, the Japanese mythological first god, is Izanagi.

His name (Izanagino Mikoto) in Japanese is pronounced as ‘h who invites’.

His spouse is Izanami.

Izanagi gave life to amaterasu when he cleaned his left eye, Tsukuyomi by washeding his right and Susanoo by washeding his nose from the pollutants in Yomi (underworld).

Izanamino-Mikoto, the Japanese god Izanagino-Mikoto’s wife, is IzanaminoMikoto.

Kojiki meaning of her name is “she-who invites”.

She is the goddess that creates and kills.

Kojiki holds that Izanagi’s soul was transferred to an animal and a person before she died (Holland, Florence).

Tsukuyomiyomiomi-no–Mikoto is Shinto’s moon god.

He was the second child in a family of three noble siblings, and was born by washing Izanagi’s left eye.

He was reunited with his sister amaterasu and lived in heaven.

Japanese mythology explains how the night and day were separated. Tsukuyomi killed Uke Mochi (goddess in food), when he felt disgusted at her way of cooking.

She then moved on to the other side. (Bo, 012).

This is the Japanese belief that day and nights never meet.

Hachiman, the tutelary deity of warriors and the divine protector japan, is also called Hachiman.

His name literally means “godof eight banners”.

While he is known as the god of War, his messenger and animal is the dove.

His eight heavenly banners were symbolic of the birth and reign of Ojin, the divine Emperor.

Inspired by foreign religions and thoughts, kami was born.

Confucianism was, Christianity and Buddhism were among the influences on Japanese theologians.

All these teachings were supportive of the ideology kami and made it more varied among Japanese (Rusu. 91-95).

With the advancement of countries, many religions emerged. This led to the juxtaposition a variety of gods.

Kami are identical in human form and can respond to prayer.

According to Shinto tradition there are eight million million of these kami in Japan.

Every thing has kami. However, the person who possesses the qualities of kami will be called kami.

The two main mottoes of kami are musubi (“harmonizing power”) and makoto (“truthful will”).

Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801), a Japanese scholar and religion expert, described kami briefly as:

“I don’t understand what the term ‘kami’ means.

It can be understood to refer to all divine beings from heaven and earth who appear in the classics.

In particular, the kami are spirits that reside in and are worshipped by the shrines.

Kami was the name given to anything strikingly remarkable, which possessed the quality and virtue of excellence and virtue.

Works CitedBo, Dong.

“Female Worship: Its Evolution A Basic Clue of Ancient Japanese History [J].

World Ethno-National Studies 4 (2011) : 012.

Breen and John Teeuwen.

“The History of a Myth.”

Shinto’s New History: Pages 129-167

Breen and John Teeuwen.

Shinto in History: Ways Of The Kami. Routledge, 2013.Holland-Minkley, Dorothy Florence.

God in the Machine. Diss.

University of Pittsburgh 2010.

Ono. Sokyo. William Woodard.

Shinto Shinto, the kami-way.

Tuttle publishing, 2011.Pye, Michael.

“Shinto. Primal religion and international identification.”

Marburg Journal of Religion. 1.1 (2015).

Rusu. Renata Marie.

“Redefining Japanese Mythology’s Concept of Deity from the Perspectives of Norse Gods, Goddesses.” Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai-Philologia 2 (2010): 91-95.Sever, Merin.

“Japanese Mythology And Nationalism: Myths Of Genesis, Japanese Identity, and Familism.”

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