【Rannyu Sensei's Column】A Little Thing About Deities

Meet Rannyu Sensei; a man who was so smart when he was young he was called God's Child (神童 shindō) or "prodigy".

Does the term God's Child exist in your country?
Japan is a religiously loose, or rather, very open country.

For example, it is a country where there are many people that have a wedding ceremony through Christianity, go to a shrine for the New Year (Shinto), and have a funeral at a temple (Buddhism).

There Are More Shrines than Convenience Stores 

There Are More Shrines than Convenience Stores

There are more than 88,000 shrines in Japan, with Niigata Prefecture boasting the most.

By the way, it is said that there are about 50,000 dentists and about 20,000 convenience stores in Japan, so there are shrines literally everywhere, from large to small.

Basically, it enshrines the deities of the land, so it seems to be a long-standing trend that there is a local deity in each land, with the people there being called local deity's children and living under the protection of said deity.

There are still various ways of thinking, so I hope you read it as just one of the many.

The Eight Million Deities

It is said that there are deities everywhere in Japan.
It is called the Yarozu no Kami (Eight Million Gods). "Yorozu" literally translates to "immeasurable" so there may even be more than 8 million.

The Kanji for rice (米), which is the staple food of Japan, can be decomposed into "八, 十, 八" (8, 10, 8), which is said to indicate that there are 88 gods in the rice.

Also, in Japan, October is generally called Kannazuki (神無月 a month with no god), and it is said that the deities are not present anywhere.
The reason is that it comes from the myth that all the deities gather at Izumo Grand Shrine (Shimane Prefecture).
And since the gods are gathering at Izumo, October is called Kamiarizuki (神在月 a month with many gods) in Izumo.

There are some shrines that are famous, but if you try going to various places and walk around a bit, you will find that there are shrines in various places, so how about taking a look around, seeing all the events and feeling the presence of the gods while you are in Japan?

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