An ujigami (氏神) is a guardian god or spirit of a particular place in the Shinto religion of Japan.
The ujigami was prayed to for a number of reasons, including protection from sickness, success in endeavors, and good harvests.
The ujigami is thought to have been believed in only since the eighth century.
In its current form, the term ujigami is used to describe several other types of Shinto deities. Originally, the term ujigami referred to a family god. (鎮守). In the Muromachi period the manorial system declined, and so the guardian deities were enshrined along with the ujigami. An ubusunagami (産土神) is a god of the land of one's birth. Over time, the ubusunagami and chinju came to be seen as the heart of the community, and were eventually referred to as ujigami.It is believed that, at first, these deities were worshiped at temporary altars. After the Heian period, the Japanese manorial system was established and nobles, warriors and temples had their own private land, the family-based society fell out of use, and belief in ujigami diminished. In turn, the lords of the manors began to pray to the deities to protect their land. These guardian deities were referred to as chinju
The term ujiko (氏子) is used to describe a person who worships an ujigami.
Kami are the spirits, phenomena or "holy powers" that are venerated in the religion of Shinto. They can be elements of the landscape, forces of nature, as well as beings and the qualities that these beings express; they can also be the spirits of venerated dead people. Many kami are considered the ancient ancestors of entire clans. Traditionally, great or sensational leaders like the Emperor could be or became kami.
Shinto is a religion which originated in Japan. Classified as an East Asian religion by scholars of religion, its practitioners often regard it as Japan's indigenous religion and as a nature religion. Scholars sometimes call its practitioners Shintoists, although adherents rarely use that term themselves. There is no central authority in control of Shinto and much diversity exists among practitioners.
Amaterasu, also known as Amaterasu-Ōmikami or Ōhirume-no-Muchi-no-Kami (大日孁貴神) among other names, is the goddess of the sun in Japanese mythology. One of the major deities (kami) of Shinto, she is also portrayed in Japan's earliest literary texts, the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki, as the ruler of the heavenly realm Takamagahara and the mythical ancestress of the Japanese imperial house via her grandson Ninigi. Along with her siblings, the moon deity Tsukuyomi and the impetuous storm god Susanoo, she is considered to be one of the "Three Precious Children", the three most important offspring of the creator god Izanagi.
In Japanese religion,Yahata formerly in Shinto and later commonly known as Hachiman is the syncretic divinity of archery and war, incorporating elements from both Shinto and Buddhism.
In Japanese religion, an ofuda is a talisman made out of various materials such as paper, wood, cloth or metal. Ofuda are commonly found in both Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples and are considered to be imbued with the power of the deities or Buddhist figures revered therein. Such amulets are also called gofu (護符).
A Shinto shrine is a structure whose main purpose is to house ("enshrine") one or more kami. Its most important building is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects and not for worship. Although only one word ("shrine") is used in English, in Japanese, Shinto shrines may carry any one of many different, non-equivalent names like gongen, -gū, jinja, jingū, mori, myōjin, -sha, taisha, ubusuna or yashiro.
Suijin is the Shinto god of water in Japanese mythology. The term Suijin refers to the heavenly and earthly manifestations of the benevolent Shinto divinity of water. It also refers to a wide variety of mythological and magical creatures found in lakes, ponds, springs, and wells, including serpents, and the flesh-eating kappa. Mizu no kamisama, Mizugami, or Suijin, is popularly revered and worshipped in temples and continues to influence Japanese culture. Suijin is also known as the water god, Suiten and Sui-ō/Suiu.
Shinbutsu-shūgō, also called Shinbutsu-konkō, is the syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism that was Japan's only organized religion up until the Meiji period. Beginning in 1868, the new Meiji government approved a series of laws that separated Japanese native kami worship, on one side, from Buddhism which had assimilated it, on the other.
The chinjufu shōgun, also translated loosely as “commander-in-chief of the defense of the north”, was a military post in classical and feudal Japan. Under the command of the seii taishōgun, the chinjufu shōgun was primarily responsible for the pacification of the Ezo people of northern Honshū and Hokkaidō, and Japan's defense against them.
Futsunushi, also known as Iwainushi, is a warrior god in Japanese mythology. Also known under the epithet Katori Daimyōjin (香取大明神) after his shrine in northern Chiba Prefecture, Katori Jingū, he is often revered alongside Takemikazuchi, with whom he is closely associated. He is regarded as a legendary ancestor of the Mononobe clan, and like Takemikazuchi is one of the tutelary deities of the Fujiwara clan.
Ame-no-Minakanushi is a deity (kami) in Japanese mythology, portrayed in the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki as the very first or one of the first deities that emerged after heaven and earth came into existence.
This is the glossary of Shinto, including major terms the casual reader might find useful in understanding articles on the subject. Words followed by an asterisk (*) are illustrated by an image in one of the photo galleries. Within definitions, words set in boldface are defined elsewhere in the glossary.
Yoshida Kanetomo was a Japanese Shinto priest of the Sengoku period. He was a seminal figure in the evolution of a coherent descriptive and interpretive schema of Shinto ritual and mythology.
John Lawrence Breen is a British academic and Japanologist. He is a specialist in Japanese history at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto. He writes in English and Japanese on the history of Shinto and the imperial institution.
Myōken, also known as Sonshō-Ō, is a Buddhist deity revered as the deification of the North Star. Worship of Myōken is mainly associated with the Nichiren, Shingon and Tendai schools of Japanese Buddhism.
In Japan, a chinjusha is a Shinto shrine which enshrines a tutelary kami; that is, a patron spirit that protects a given area, village, building or a Buddhist temple. The Imperial Palace has its own tutelary shrine dedicated to the 21 guardian gods of Ise Shrine. Tutelary shrines are usually very small, but there is a range in size, and the great Hiyoshi Taisha for example is Enryaku-ji's tutelary shrine. The tutelary shrine of a temple or the complex the two together form are sometimes called a temple-shrine. If a tutelary shrine is called chinju-dō, it is the tutelary shrine of a Buddhist temple. Even in that case, however, the shrine retains its distinctive architecture.
Yoshida Shintō (吉田神道) also frequently referred to as Yuiitsu Shintō was a prominent sect of Shintō that arose during the Sengoku period through the teachings and work of Yoshida Kanetomo. The sect was originally an effort to organize Shintō teachings into a coherent structure in order to assert its authority vis-a-vis Buddhism. However, by the Edo period, Yoshida Shintō continued to dominate the Shintō discourse, and influenced Neo-Confucian thinkers such as Hayashi Razan and Yamazaki Ansai in formulating a Neo-Confucian Shinto doctrine. Yoshida Shinto's dominance rivaled that of Ise Shintō.
Until the Meiji period (1868–1912), the jingū-ji were places of worship composed of a Buddhist temple and a Shintō shrine, both dedicated to a local kami. These complexes were born when a temple was erected next to a shrine to help its kami with its karmic problems. At the time, kami were thought to be also subjected to karma, and therefore in need of a salvation only Buddhism could provide. Having first appeared during the Nara period (710–794), jingū-ji remained common for over a millennium until, with few exceptions, they were destroyed in compliance with the Kami and Buddhas Separation Act of 1868. Seiganto-ji is a Tendai temple part of the Kumano Sanzan Shinto shrine complex, and as such can be considered one of the few shrine-temples still extant.
The kuni-yuzuri (国譲り) "Transfer of the land" was a mythological event in Japanese prehistory, related in sources such as the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki. It relates the story of how the rulership of Japan passed from the earthly kami (kunitsukami) to the kami of Heaven (amatsukami) and their eventual descendants, the Imperial House of Japan.