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Amenominakanushi (天御中主 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 Shinto.[2] In Japanese mythology, they are 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[clarification needed] 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 Shinto Deity Ame-no-minaka-nushi-no-kami Seen in the Light of To-day, by Professor Katō Genchi, no authentic shrines dating from antiquity 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 Myōken, the "North Star", which was worshiped at many shrines, was changed to Amenominakanushi.[2]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kitagawa, 1987. p. 29, note 92
  2. ^ a b c d e f g 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


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

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