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The contents of this article and/or its subpages contain manga spoilers.

Gods are supernatural beings worshiped for having control over the fate of humans' fortunes and well-being.

Origin & Duties

Gods are born from and through any wish made by humans. Deceased spirits can be deified through wishes, mostly in order to soothe them and prevent them from cursing humans, such as Rabo[citation needed] and Tenjin.[1]

Gods must fulfill the wishes of humans, having different natures (such as war, poverty, learning, marriage, economy, etc.). Their original wishes can be put into categories, such as conceding wishes related to fortune, calamity (dark wishes), etc. The latter isn't definite as Yato, a God of Calamity who murdered people, tried to move away from that and redefine himself as a God of Fortune who prevented threats. Going as far as to show that they aren't so connected to their birth wish and can become a different kind of God than they were before.

As protectors of human fortune, Gods must kill ayakashi, corrupted spirits that influence negative feelings in humans, causing them to partake in negative behaviors such as aggression and violence.

Appearance

Many, but not all, gods are identical to humans in appearance. Notable exceptions include: Inari, who has fox ears and tails (but still looks mostly human). Stationmaster Tama, who is the spirit of a calico cat.[2] Kunimi's unnamed first master, who appeared in the form of a palm-sized, faceless paper doll.[3]

Gods also differ in age. For example, Yato was born as a child[4] but aged until he reached approximately his early twenties. Similarly, Ebisu has aged from a child[3][5] to his mid-thirties or forties.[6] Bishamonten has the appearance of a woman in her late twenties, and Tenjin that of an elderly man.

Notably, some gods have a second form which they can take. Ōkuninushi can transform into a giant spider,[7] Takemikazuchi into a lightning dragon,[8] and Yatagarasu into a three-legged crow.[9]

Skills & Abilities

Gods have common abilities, including:

  • Creation of Shinki: Gods can take in wandering souls of humans who have died through tragic accidents or before they were ready to die, bestowing them new names. The souls - now shinki - can transform into objects or animals, though their form and specific abilities will depend on the master.[citation needed] They can use the shinki to slay humans,[citation needed] ayakashi,[10] shinki,[11][12] or other gods.
  • Divine Possession: Gods are capable of controlling a human body by temporarily substituting/taking over the soul.[6]
  • Teleportation: Once Gods have their own shrines, their connection to Heaven allows them to freely teleport themselves and others between Takamagahara and the living realm.[6][13]
    • Notably, even without a shrine, Yato has been shown to be able to teleport to different locations on the Near Shore through a phone call.[10]
  • Near Invulnerability: Most means of killing a human won't work on a god.[14] For example: Yato got struck with a large blow using an iron bar and bleed, but woke up the next day fine and healthy. He was poisoned with a strong fertilizer, got shot by bullets and an arrow at his head, burning him alive and even drowning him by throwing him off a cliff. However, none of these had any effect on him aside from temporary pain.
    • Gods also seem to be invulnerable to shinki techniques, although this has only been stated in references to particular abilities rather than as a general rule. The spell Rourou is shown not to work on gods[15], and it is said that borderlines are not enough to kill a god[8] (although they can be used in tandem to entrap one[16]).

Responsibilities of a God to Their Shinki

After taking a shinki as their subordinate, the god bears the responsibility of taking the burden of all the emotions the shinki has and sins it commits. The burden the god bears is in the form of stabbing pain on the back of their neck. Other than stabbing pain, the area of the god's neck will also become infected by impurities, called blight. If the shinki continues to commit sin and no action is taken against it, the blight will spread all over the god’s body, causing the god to slowly degrade and die.[17]

A god is expected to provide basic necessities and comforts for the shinki, such as shelter, clothing, food, and drink.[18] In some cases, it is also necessary to train shinki if they are still new to the Far Shore.[19] Heaven provides surveys for shinki to file complaints about their masters, including any instances where the god fails to meet these responsibilities. In this case, the god can be punished by the heavens.[20]

God's Greatest Secret

The God's Greatest Secret ( (かみ) () (ごと) Kami no Himegoto) is a shinki's true name from when they were human. When a god names a shinki, they see fragments of the shinki's memories.[4][1] The name bestowed by the god seals these memories,[21] and falls on the god to keep them secret. If a shinki learns their real name, the posthumous name given by the god is destroyed and the shinki becomes corrupted by negative thoughts caused by the memories of their own untimely death.[1]

Notably, it appears that gods naturally have a strong aversion against revealing the Secret to shinki, although this instinct can be ignored should they choose to.[1]

A God's Death

Humans

Gods are born to fulfill the wishes of humans,[citation needed] so they naturally fade away when they stop receiving wishes and therefore lose their purpose.[6]

This doesn't necessarily mean that a God needs a large amount of followers to remember them in order for them to survive. For example, Yato has survived for centuries through his lifeline, Father, who possesses human bodies and continues to remember Yato.[citation needed] It it currently thought that if Father were to die, Yato would die with him.[citation needed]

Ayakashi and Blight

Gods can be killed by ayakashi attacking and blighting them to death.[citation needed]

Similarly, gods are able to be killed by their shinki who have turned into ayakashi, be it through sin-caused blight[17] or revelation of the God's Greatest Secret.[1] In rare cases, gods who name ayakashi without using the Word are also subject to this outcome.[22]

Shinki

Although shinki cannot kill a god using techniques such as borderlines[23] or spells[24] shinki can likely kill gods when wielded in their vessel form by their own master. Although an example of this has not been shown directly, Yato is said to have used Nora to kill Gods.[citation needed] It is possible that the explosion that killed Ebisu was caused by a shinki.[25] Yato also intends to use Yukine to kill Bishamonten.[26]

The only exception to this rule is Izanami, the "mother" of the first Gods and goddess of the Underworld. She is a rare existence of a God, in which she cannot die because she is the ruler of Yomi, so she will continue on living so long as life and death exist.[citation needed]

Illness

Gods can in fact get ill, though this seems to be due to the condition of their shinki. While, at times, shinki feel sad or upset or angry, it doesn't immediately blight the God but does make them feel lethargic.[citation needed] Some examples being: Bishamonten felt dizzy and nauseous when her child shinki started to cry.[27] Yato felt a pain in his heart when Yukine was depressed over the issue of Hiyori forgetting them.[28] Mayu[29] and Kazuma[citation needed] have also stated that Yukine's state of mind affect Yato's wellbeing. This may imply that while sins can blight the god which can spread and kill a god, negative emotions such as sadness and anger can hurt and make a god fall ill but nothing more.

There are special medicines to suppress illness for god. Kugaha, who has acted as Bishamon's doctor, often gave her medicine to make her feel better[28] and even temporarily make her blight go away.[30] Similarly, the previous Ebisu used to inject himself with a "sedative" drug which temporarily staved away his blight.[31]

Even if a God is killed, the God will be resurrected through reincarnation if they are remembered. While they do retain the their base personality and many of their habits, they lose all their memories from their previous life[5] and there may still be subtle differences. For example, one reincarnation of Ebisu was interested in skiing while the next was completely disinterested[3] – but most, if not all, incarnations of Ebisu share the habit of burying important things in a particular spot in their yard.[32]

Lower God vs. Recognized God

As gods can be born from any wish, there are many gods that have existed. To be recognized and accepted by the heavens, gods are required to have proof of having their own shrines.[6] Once accepted, they can attend Colloquies[22] and Kamuhakari,[33] have their own plot of land, sell merchandise without getting into trouble, and go to and from Heaven.[6]

Heaven

Heaven is the current faction and home of most Gods in Japan, though they didn't used to be and had waged a war with local Gods to achieve their power.[citation needed]

Many gods show deep loyalty to Heaven, unwilling to hear out those they view as rebels[34] and attempting to subjugate them using violence.[25][35] After a rebel god is subdued, the Heavens place loyal shinki as their guideposts.[5] They may also remove shinki they view as problematic or disloyal, going as far to exterminate all of Ebisu's strays[7] or seal a hafuri in a stone sarcophagus for centuries after revoking her name.[36]

List of Known Gods

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Chapter 47: Taboo (Vol 12)
  2. Chapter 58: Messy Entanglements, Crossed Signals (Vol 15)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Chapter 73: If You Hear a Scream (Vol 19)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Chapter 46: Children At Play (Vol 12)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Chapter 38: Because I Promised (Vol 10)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Chapter 25: When Sleeping Gods Are Provoked (Vol 7)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Chapter 33: Wielder of an Iron Will (Vol 9)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Chapter 66: Smoldering Sparks (Vol 17)
  9. Chapter 98: Natural Law (Vol 25)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Chapter 3: Like Snow (Vol 1)
  11. Chapter 19: Prayer (Vol 5)
  12. Chapter 20: Prayerful Oath (Vol 6)
  13. Chapter 18: Drawn Swords (Vol 5)
  14. Stray Stories Chapter 6: A Story of Conforming to Temporary Stereotypes (Vol 1)
  15. Chapter 48: You, My Dear One (Vol 13)
  16. Chapter 20: Prayerful Oath (Vol 6)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Chapter 11: A Name (Vol 3)
  18. Chapter 1: The Man in the Sweatsuit (Vol 1)
  19. Chapter 5: Borderline (Vol 2)
  20. Stray Stories Chapter 2: A Story of Exploring the Mind of a Shinki (Vol 1)
  21. Chapter 55: Cut x Off (Vol 14)
  22. 22.0 22.1 Chapter 29: The Affairs of Three Realms (Vol 8)
  23. Chapter 66: Smoldering Sparks (Vol 17)
  24. Chapter 48: You, My Dear One (Vol 13)
  25. 25.0 25.1 Chapter 35: Death (Vol 9)
  26. Chapter 21: Don't Go—Stay With Me (Vol 6)
  27. Chapter 16: Hell (Vol 5)
  28. 28.0 28.1 Chapter 14: Her Memories (Vol 4)
  29. Chapter 12: To Cut, or Not To Cut (Vol 4)
  30. Chapter 17: In Search of A Place to Go (Vol 5)
  31. Chapter 28: God of Calamity (Vol 8)
  32. Chapter 86: The Box (Vol 22)
  33. Chapter 57: Where Loyalties Lie (Vol 15)
  34. Chapter 69: Shinki (Vol 18)
  35. Chapter 61: Renegade (Vol 16)
  36. Chapter 59: The Disobedient Ones (Vol 15)
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