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by John Hill
Takimikazuchi-no-Mikoto -- also known as Kashima Okami, "August Deity of the Kashima" -- is deity enshrined at the Kashima Grand Shrine in the Ibaraki prefecture. The shrine itself was probably established sometime in the seventh century. There is speculation that the current incarnation of the deity is prefigured by a more ancient thunder god called "Kashima no Kami" or "Deity of Kashima." Takimikazuchi-no-Mikoto is a sword spirit, thunder deity, god of traffic, master of water serpents, protector of eastern Japan from earthquakes, tutelary of the Fujiwara regents, avatar of many Buddhist divinities, and patron deity of warriors and warrior arts.

Takimikazuchi-no-Mikoto was born from the blood of the slain fire-god. Later, Amaterasu, wishing to establish the rule of her grandson over the earth, sent Takimikazuchi-no-Mikoto along with Futusunushi-no-Mikoto, the deity celebrated at the Katori Grand Shrine, to pacify the realm. Balancing on the point of his upturned sword, Takimikazuchi-no-Mikoto began to treat with the rebellious deities. One of the rebels, Takeminikata-no-Kami challenged Takimikazuchi to a test of strength. Takeminikata then attempted to take hold of Takimikazuchi's arm. The deity of the Kashima first turned his arm into a column of ice and then changed it into a sword blade, causing his opponent to draw away in fear. The rebellious deities then pledged fealty to Ninigi, grandson of Amaterasu, ancestor of the first human emperor of Japan, thus establishing the imperial line of Japan. With his martial credentials well established, Takimikazuchi-no-Mikoto became a patron of the military arts. This link to the martial arts remains to this day, for one of the extant classical schools of Japanese military arts, the Kashima-Shinryu, holds that the martial art that they practice is divinely inspired by Takimikazuchi-no-Mikoto who, in 1477, gave divine revelations about the martial arts to Matusmoto-bizen-no-kami, the founder of Kashima-Shinryu.

Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Kashima Okami

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