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Ukehi or ukei is a Japanese Shinto divination ritual.

Function and performance[edit]

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[1]

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 [2] response. If nothing happened, it was assumed that the kami did not favour the proposed course of action.[1] The questioning of the kami took the form of an oath or vow.[3][4] 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.[citation needed]

Notable ukehi[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Helen Hardacre; Adam Lewis Kern (1997). New Directions in the Study of Meiji Japan. BRILL. p. 427. ISBN 90-04-10735-5. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Edwin A. Cranston. The Gem-Glistening Cup. Stanford University Press. p. 483. ISBN 978-0-8047-3157-7. 
  4. ^ Nichibunken Japan Review: Bulletin of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies. The Center. 1998. p. 200. 
  5. ^ Tenri Journal of Religion. Tenri University Press. 1979. p. 108. 
  6. ^ 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.