Oyagami (祖神, Soshin, Sojin) is a term in Shinto that refers to an Ancestor, Deity, or Soul (Sorei) of an ancestor who was worshipped as a deity in a certain clan[1] When not used to express the idea of a tutelary deity, it is used to express a connotation of kami caring for human beings in the same way that human parents care for their children. This can be seen as analogous to the phrase God the father.[2]

Some Shinto sects believe that the entire world or cosmos is a living entity, full of vitality and productive power that originates from the oyagami, which is the ultimate existence that gives birth to everything. According to this belief, humans are "offspring of the kami" and have been given life by them..[2] This belief is linked to the deity Ame-no-Minakanushi or the first kami

In the Tenrikyō new religion, the main deity is called "Oyagami," and the sect's founder is known as "Oyasama." This use of the word "parent" before the name of the kami being worshipped is believed to reflect the traditional Japanese understanding of the meaning of divine beings. Overall, the concept of oyagami emphasizes the close relationship between humans and kami and the belief that divine beings care for humans like parents care for their children.[2]

Ancestral deities

The Imperial Household and many other Japanese clans believe in Oyagami as gods they are descended from, also known as Ujigami. They are considered their original ancestor to be the Oyagami. The notion of the Oyagami as a common ancestor helped create unity, as Ujigami also did prior to their transition from ancestral deities to land linked deities. The clan gods used to be based on family ties, but later became more connected to the land they lived on, and were like other local gods.[3]

Other uses

The word means "parent god".[2]

It is the title God goes by in Tenrikyo.[4][2]

Other pages


  1. ^ "Glossary of Shinto Names and Terms: S". 2012-01-14. Archived from the original on 2012-01-14. Retrieved 2023-08-31.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Oyagami". Encyclopedia of Shinto. Retrieved 2023-08-31.
  3. ^ "International Encyclopedia Britannica, "Ujigami", p.
  4. ^ The Doctrine of Tenrikyo (Tenth, 2006 ed.). Tenri, Nara, Japan: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1954. p. 3.