Ukehi or ukei is a Japanese Shinto divination ritual.
Function and performance
Hayashi Oen, a nineteenth-century practictioner of ukehi, identified six functions of the rite. He claimed it could be used to:
- ask for information or messages from the kami
- establish the will of the kami
- predict the outcome of an event
- enervate or animate living
- control bad weather
- kill one's enemies
The dictates of ukehi can come as a dream, but more commonly the petitioner would use the ritual to ask a question of the kami and then await an omen of some sort to confirm their  response. If nothing happened, it was assumed that the kami did not favour the proposed course of action. The questioning of the kami took the form of an oath or vow. Sometimes the ritual involved inscribing the choices available on bamboo slips, which were then shaken in a container; whichever slip fell out dictated the appropriate course of action.
- An ukehi ritual undertaken by the deities Amaterasu and Susanoo-no-Mikoto resulted in the birth of eight more deities.
- In Yukio Mishima's retelling of the Shinpūren Rebellion, he described Hayashi Oen's performance of ukehi as being a key factor in the rebellion's formation.
- Helen Hardacre; Adam Lewis Kern (1997). New Directions in the Study of Meiji Japan. BRILL. p. 427. ISBN 90-04-10735-5.
- Donald Keene (13 August 2013). Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912. Columbia University Press. p. 779. ISBN 978-0-231-51811-6.
- Edwin A. Cranston. The Gem-Glistening Cup. Stanford University Press. p. 483. ISBN 978-0-8047-3157-7.
- Nichibunken Japan Review: Bulletin of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies. The Center. 1998. p. 200.
- Tenri Journal of Religion. Tenri University Press. 1979. p. 108.
- Henry Scott Stokes (8 August 2000). The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima. Cooper Square Press. pp. 151–152. ISBN 978-1-4616-2422-6.