In Japanese mythology, Ama-tsu-Mikaboshi (ja:天津甕星, "August Star of Heaven"), also called Ame-no-Kagaseo (ja:天香香背男, "Brilliant Male"), and later Ama-no-Minaka-nushi ("Divine Lord of the middle heavens") was originally a Shinto god of evil or primordial chaos. Under Chinese Buddhist influence, the god was identified with "Myo-Ken" (Sudarshana), as either Venus or the Polestar, before being combined with the god of all stars, Ama-no-Minaka-Nushi. Originally, Amatsu Mikaboshi was supposed to have existed before the Kotoamatsukami, and so his combination with one of them was probably a latter theory. Few Shinto shrines and priests openly venerated those creators of the universe before the Meiji era, as they were more akin to esoteric and distant deities, like the hindu god Brahma.
Amatsu Mikaboshi is mentioned in passing in the Nihon Shoki as an opponent of Takemikazuchi-no-kami during the latter's conquest of the land of Izumo, and is sometimes identified with the figure of Takeminakata in the Kojiki.
In modern media
Mikaboshi inspired the Marvel Comics character of the same name, which was prominent during the Chaos War event as the mastermind behind it, and was revealed to be a personification of the Universe before creation.
In the PlayStation 2 game Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon, Mikaboshi appears as a boss character in the fifth chapter.
The Okami franchise bases its final boss on Mikaboshi, representing the cycles of human evil and corruption.
- New Larousse encyclopedia of mythology, by Félix Guirand and Robert Graves, Hamlyn, 1968, p.415
- 長崎大学教育学部人文科学研究報告 (Nagasaki Daigaku Kyōiku-bu Jinbun Kagaku Kenkyū Hōkoku) [Nagasaki University Education Department Report on Humanities Research]. Issues 37-45 (in Japanese). Nagasaki: Nagasaki University. 1988. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
...願染みの度合い、等の様々な観点から判定して、この金星が、やはり、天津甕星(天香 香背男)として、一番相応しいのではないかと考える。 - ...so judging from degree of familiarity, and various other perspectives, this Venus indeed looks to be the most appropriate match for Ama tsu Mikaboshi (Ame no Kagaseo).
- Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities by Charles Russell Coulter and Patricia Turner, Routledge, 4 Jul 2013, p.96