Kamo clan

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Kamo clan (賀茂氏, Kamo-shi) is a Japanese sacerdotal kin group[1] which traces its roots from a Yayoi period shrine in the vicinity of northeastern Kyoto.[2] The clan rose to prominence during the Asuka and Heian periods when the Kamo are identified with the 7th-century founding of the Kamo Shrine.[3]

Kamo Shrine[edit]

The Kamo Shrine's name references the area's early inhabitants, many of whom continue to live near the shrine their ancestors traditionally served.[4] The formal names of corollary jinja memorialize vital clan roots in a history which pre-dates the founding of Japan's ancient capital.[5]

The Kamo Shrine encompasses what are now independent but traditionally associated jinja or shrines—the Kamo-wakeikazuchi Shrine (賀茂別雷神社, Kamo-wakeikazuchi jinja) in Kyoto's Kita Ward and; and the "Kamo-mioya Shrine'" (賀茂御祖神社, Kamo-mioya jinja) in Sakyo Ward. The jinja names identify the various kami or deities who are venerated; and the name also refers to the ambit of shrine's nearby woods.[6]

A wild vista unfolds at Tadasu no Mori.

Although now incorporated within boundaries of the city, the location was once Tadasu no Mori (糺の森),[7] the wild forest home of the exclusive caretakers of the shrine from prehistoric times.[8]

Notable clan members[edit]

Although Ieyasu Tokugawa never used the surname Matsudaira before 1566, his appointment as shogun was contingent on his claim to Matsudaira kinship and a link to the Seiwa Genji. Modern scholarship has revealed that the genealogy proffered to the emperor contained falsified information; however, since the Matsudaira used the same crest as the Kamo clan,[9] some academics suggest that he was likely a descendant of the Kamo clan."[10]


  1. ^ Breen, John and Mark Teeuwen. (2000). Shinto in History: Ways of the Kami, p. 86.
  2. ^ Shimogamo-jinja web site: history.
  3. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric et al. (2002). Japan Encyclopedia, p. 586.
  4. ^ Nelson, John K. (2000). Enduring Identities: The Guise of Shinto in Contemporary Japan, pp. 92-99.
  5. ^ Miyazaki, Makoto. "Lens on Japan: Defending Heiankyo from Demons," Daily Yomiuri. December 20, 2005.
  6. ^ Kamigamo-jinja web site: about the shrine Archived 2009-02-21 at the Wayback Machine..
  7. ^ Terry, Philip. (1914). Terry's Japanese empire, p. 479.
  8. ^ Nelson, p. pp. 67-69.
  9. ^ Nussbaum, Japan Encyclopedia, p. 34.
  10. ^ Plutschow, Herbert. (1995). "Japan's Name Culture: The Significance of Names in a Religious, Political and Social Context, p. 158.


External links[edit]