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Amenominakanushi (天御中主 or 天之御中主神, "Heavenly Ancestral God of the Originating Heart of the Universe") is, according to the Shinto Kojiki,[1] the first kami and the source of the universe.[2] In Japanese mythology, Amenominakanushi is described as a "god who came into being alone" (hitorigami), the first of the zōka sanshin ("three kami of creation"), and one of the five kotoamatsukami ("distinguished heavenly gods").[2]


Amenominakanushi had been considered a concept developed under the influence of Chinese thought,[2] but now most scholars believe otherwise.[3] With the flourishing of kokugaku the concept was studied by scholars.[2] The theologian Hirata Atsutane identified Amenominakanushi as the spirit of the North Star, master of the seven stars of the Big Dipper.[2] The god was emphasized by the Daikyōin[clarification needed] in the Meiji period, and worshipped by some Shinto sects.[2] There are also scholars who believe that the Amenominakanushi concept was introduced in Japan sometime in the 7th or 8th century by the Nestorian or the Keikyo believers, underpinning its Christian origin.[4]

Kami concept[edit]

The god manifests in a duality, a male and a female function, respectively Takamimusubi and Kamimusubi.[5] In other mythical accounts the originating kami is called Umashiashikabihikoji ("God of the Ashi [Reed]") or Kuninotokotachi (the "God Founder of the Nation"), the latter used in the Nihon Shoki.[6] Some sources identify these deities as the three Kamis called (three creator-Kami", a conceptualization that also reflect the so-called Kami of the threefold whirl (Amatsu uzu-uzushiyatsunagi) in Yamakage Shinto.[7] These three gods, identified as a third of the three versions of the cosmogonic myths involving the kami, appeared in Takamanohara or the "domain of heaven" during the birth of the cosmos.[8]

According to The Ancient Shinto Deity Ame-no-minaka-nushi-no-kami Seen in the Light of To-day, by Professor Katō Genchi, no authentic shrines dating from antiquity were dedicated to this deity, though two "recent" shrines, Wada-jinja (founded in A.D. 1659) and Okada-jinja, are allegedly dedicated to this god. Shinsen Shōjiroku mentioned only two families as descendant of Ame-no-Minaka-Nushi-no-Kami: Hattori-no-muraji and Miteshiro-no-Obito.

With the shinbutsu bunri, the deity of Buddhist origin Myōken, the "North Star", which was worshiped at many shrines, was changed to Amenominakanushi.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kitagawa, 1987. p. 29, note 92
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Amenominakanushi. Encyclopedia of Shinto.
  3. ^ 匝瑤 葵「宇宙を構成する古事記の別天神―出雲大社の天空神」 『アジア遊学』No.121, pp.94-101, 勉誠出版, 2009年
  4. ^ Lee, Samuel (2010). Rediscovering Japan, Reintroducing Christendom: Two Thousand Years of Christian History in Japan. Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books. p. 87. ISBN 9780761849490.
  5. ^ Kitagawa, 1987. p. 29
  6. ^ Kitagawa, 1987. pp. 28-29
  7. ^ Yamakage, Motohisa (2006). The Essence of Shinto: Japan's Spiritual Heart. Tokyo: Kodansha International. pp. 212. ISBN 4770030444.
  8. ^ Kitagawa, Joseph Mitsuo (1987). On Understanding Japanese Religion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. pp. 29. ISBN 0691073139.


  • Joseph Mitsuo Kitagawa. On Understanding Japanese Religion. Princeton University Press, 1987. ISBN 0691102295

External links[edit]