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Amenominakanushi (天御中主 "All-Father of the Originating Hub", or 天之御中主神 "Heavenly Ancestral God of the Originating Heart of the Universe") is, according to the Kojiki,[1] the first kami, and the source of the universe according to Shintoism.[2] In mythology he 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 emphasised by the Daikyōin in the Meiji period, and worshiped by some Shinto sects.[2]

The god manifests in a duality, a male and a female function, respectively Takamimusubi and Kamimusubi.[4] 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.[5]

According to The Ancient Deity Ame-no-Minaka-Nushi-no-Kami seen in the light of today, by Professor Katō Genchi, no authentic shrines from the times of yore 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 Myoken, the "North Star", which was worshiped at many shrines, was changed to Amenominakanushi.[2]

See also


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


  1. Kitagawa, 1987. p. 29, note 92
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 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. Kitagawa, 1987. p. 29
  5. Kitagawa, 1987. pp. 28-29

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