Amatsukami (Japanese: 天津神, 天つ神, 'Kami of heaven') is a category of kami in Japanese mythology. Generally speaking, it refers to kami born in, or residing in, Takamagahara.

Creation myths of Japan-eng.svg

Amatsukami is one of the three categories of kami, along with their earthly counterpart Kunitsukami (国津神, 国つ神), and yaoyorozu-no-kami (八百万の神).[1]: 56 

Modern Shinto no longer makes the distinction between Amatsukami and Kunitsukami.[2] According to Yijiang Zhong the distinction was made by the writers of the Nihon Shoki and the Kojiki to formulate a political discourse.[3]


Amatsukami refers to kami residing in Takamagahara, along with kami who were born in Takamagahara but later descended to Japan.[4] In the mythological event of kuni-yuzuri, the descendants of amatsukami descended to pacify the world, which was occupied by the kunitsukami.[5][6] In Shinto practice, there is no clear distinction between amatsukami and kunitsukami, as their definitions change with time and in different source materials.[4][5][7]

List of amatsukamiEdit


  1. ^ Yamakage, Motohisa; Gillespie, Mineko S.; Gillespie, Gerald L.; Komuro, Yoshitsugu; Leeuw, Paul de; Rankin, Aidan (2007). The Essence of Shinto: Japan's Spiritual Heart (1st ed.). Tokyo: Kodansha International. ISBN 978-4770030443.
  2. ^ "kami | Definition, Translation, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-09-28.
  3. ^ Zhong, Yijiang (2016-10-06). The Origin of Modern Shinto in Japan: The Vanquished Gods of Izumo. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4742-7109-7.
  4. ^ a b Endō, Jun. "Amatsukami, Kunitsukami". 國學院デジタルミュージアム. Kokugakuin University. Archived from the original on 2021-01-16. Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  5. ^ a b Brian Bocking (30 September 2005). A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Routledge. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-135-79739-3.
  6. ^ Kobori, Keiko. "Kuniyuzuri". Encyclopedia of Shinto. Kokugakuin University. Archived from the original on 2021-01-16. Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  7. ^ Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics (1985). Basic Terms of Shinto. Kokugakuin University. p. 26.