Kami

(Image: “Shin Yoshiwara ōnamazu yurai”)

The Japanese Kami is a gigantic, catfish-like creature that lived in the great ocean and underneath the islands of Japan. When the fish moved, it would cause waves to crest on the shores, and when it swam it caused horrible storms and waves. The great creature was sometimes said to make an exceptional effort to jump out of the water onto the land; although it would never succeed, the waves it created flooded cities and it caused the earth to rumble. These disasters were killing people, and the Great Deity of Deer took pity on the islands and stabbed a great sword through the kami, pinning it to the bottom of the sea and making its wriggles case less damage. In time, this great sword was buried by a large granite mountain, where it has remained (Rose 203). It seems that the kami was largely peaceful, just prone to mistakes.

Kami’s frantic wriggling seems to cause natural disasters, both in the forms of floods and storms at first and then earthquakes and tsunamis later on. The great granite rock that surrounded the sword after many years may have been to explain a large mountain of rock in the sea.

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