AMATSU-KAMI (JAPANESE GODS)
Classification: Gods (Extra-Dimensionals/Immortals)
Location/Base of Operations: Ama (Japanese Heaven)
Known Members: Amaterasu (goddess of the sun), Ame-no-Mi-Kumari (goddess of water), Awo-kashiki, Aya-kashiki, Bishamon (god of war & fortune), Ebisu, Ho-Ti (god of happiness), Inari (god of rice), Izanagi (god of the sky), Izanami (or Yo; actually Gaea), Kaminari (goddess of thunder & lightning), Kagutsuchi (god of fire), Mikaboshi (god of evil), Oho-tomahiko, Oho-tomahe, Susanoo (god of the sea & storm), Takamimusubi, Tsukiyomi (god of the moon)
Affiliations: Other races of Gods
Worshipped by the people of Japan.
First Appearance: Thor I#300 (October, 1980)
Powers/Abilities/Traits: The Amatsu-Kami all possess certain superhuman physical attributes. They are virtual immortals who age extremely slowly upon reaching adulthood, and they cannot die by conventional means. The Amatsu-Kami are immune to all terrestrial diseases and are resistant to conventional injury. If an Amatsu-Kami is wounded, his or her godly life force will enable him or her to recover at a superhuman rate. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it incinerates an Amatsu- Kami or disperses a major portion of his or her bodily molecules to cause him or her to die. Even then, it may be possible for a god of greater or equal power, or several gods acting together, to revive the deceased god before the god's life essence is beyond resurrection. Amatsu-Kami flesh and bone are about two times denser than similar human tissue, contributing to the gods' superhuman strength and weight. An average male god can lift about 20 tons; an average goddess can lift about 10 tons. Though generally weaker than Asgardian and Olympian deities, the Amatsu-Kami have proportionately faster reflexes. The gods' metabolism gives them superhuman endurance in all physical activities. Many Amatsu-Kami also possess additional superhuman powers. For instance, the water goddess Ame-No-Mi- Kumari can create instant tidal waves and floods.
History: (Thor & Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica) - The Amatsu-Kami have been worshipped by Japan's inhabitants as early as 10,000 BC into modern times, although Shinto ceased to be Japan's state religion in 1945 AD. Most of the Amatsu-Kami dwell in Ama, a small "pocket" dimension adjacent to Earth; an interdimensional nexus between Ama and Earth known as Ama-No-Hashidate (the "Bridge of Heaven") once existed near Miyazu Bay (in modern-day northern Kyoto Prefecture, Japan), although the nexus has since been severed. Ama is also inhabited by other kami (divine spirits), including both guardian spirits and gods of the land ("Kunitsu-Kami"). The extradimensional netherworld realm of Yomi is associated with but separate from Ama and inhabited by various shinma demons, oni (horned ogres), and tengu (avian-like devils). Although Shinto is no longer Japan's state religion, many households still contain shrines associated with the Amatsu-Kami.
The Amatsu-Kami's precise origin, like that of all Earth's pantheons, is shrouded in legend. According to ancient myths, the Amatsu-Kami originated in the otherdimensional realm known as Ama, where they had lived for seven generations. After many of the demonic Elder Gods were purged from Earth by the Demogorge, the interdimensional barriers separating Ama and Earth were weakened and the Amatsu-Kami Izanagi (also known as "Yo") was sent to the Earth realm where he met Izanami (also known as "In"), an aspect of the primordial Earth Mother Gaea. Together, Izanagi and Izanami ventured into a formless world that was dominated by a dark, primordial void where the ancient force of nature known as Amatsu-Mikaboshi existed and reigned alone in the state of eternal nothingness. Izanagi and Izanami stood upon the Bridge of Heaven and dipped Izanagi's Jeweled Spear into the seemingly endless void, forming the islands of Japan. The divine couple then descended to the newly formed land masses and began to populate them with living creatures as well as lesser Amatsu-Kami who later came to be worshipped as gods by the inhabitants of Japan.
The chaos of life now perpetuated in an endless cycle where there had once been a lifeless void, and this enraged Mikaboshi, whose solitary existence came to an abrupt end at the moment Izanagi and Izanami began their acts of creation. His attempts to topple the fledgling Amatsu-Kami pantheon were foiled, and he was forced to descend to Yomi, the gloomy and desolate realm that Izanagi designated to serve as the Shinto underworld. Later, when Izanami vanished after giving birth to the fire god Kagutsuchi, Izanagi believed she had perished and descended to Yomi, but his attempts to retrieve her from the land of the dead were unsuccessful.
(Thor I#300 (fb) ) - Later, when the extraterrestrial Celestials threatened the Earth in approximately 1000 AD, Izanagi attended the Council of Godheads' meeting to discuss this threat.
(Marvel Comics Presents I#55) - In modern times, the god of happiness Hotei briefly offered his services to the Chinese government and was assigned to capture the brothers Han, Chang, Lin, Sun & Ho Tao-Yu (the Collective Man), who had escaped imprisonment; but Hotei relented in his pursuit upon seeing the joy that the brothers' presence brought to their sick mother.
(Wolverine: Soultaker#4) - Later, the rice god Inari assisted Wolverine (Logan/James Howlett) and the Miko priestess Mana against Mana's corrupt sister Hana and the shinma demon Ryuki by revealing Ryuki's weakness to gold, which Wolverine exploited.
(Ares#1-5) - Meanwhile, Mikaboshi remained in Yomi, biding his time as he usurped control of the legions of shinma demons, oni, and other evil spirits inhabiting the underworld. He eventually acquired Kusanagi, the mystical Grasscutter Sword once wielded by the storm god Susanoo, and used it to destroy many of the lesser kami and force the surviving Amatsu-Kami into hiding. Mikaboshi then launched a full-scale invasion into the Olympian realm, abducting Alexander Aaron (demigod son of the Olympian war god Ares) and tricking him into nearly killing his father and becoming the new Olympian war god. Ares ultimately returned his son to his senses, while Inari joined forces with the Olympian god Hermes and tricked the Amatsu-Kami and Olympians into forming an alliance despite their pride. Together, the Amatsu- Kami and Olympians defeated Mikaboshi and his demonic forces, but not before the Olympian ruler Zeus was slain and the realm of Olympus was virtually destroyed and rendered uninhabitable.
Leadership was divided between Izanagi, Takamimusubi, and Amaterasu. Religously, Izanagi was supplanted by the other two as the divine couple, but all the myths rever Amaterasu as the true power and her husband as sort of a "figurehead."
In his second appearance Marvel's Ho-Ti was curiously allied with the Chinese (rather than Japanese) government, in spite of his mythology. The reason's for his defection to one of Japan's traditional enemies is unknown. Possibly, he also had worshippers in China and became an honorary member of the Xian (Gods of China).
The Kami have a profile in the All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update#1.
The main image in this profile is by Mario Gully.
Thor & Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica, p6
Thor I#300 (October, 1980) - Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (writers), Keith Pollard (pencils), Gene Day (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Thor I#301 (November, 1980) - Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (writers), Keith Pollard (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Bizarre Adventures#32 (August, 1982) - Larry Hama (writer/artist), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Marvel Comics Presents#55 (July, 1990) - Greg LaRocque (writer), Harry Candelario (pencils), Brad Vancata (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Marvel Universe: The End#2 (May, 2003) - Jim Starlin (writer/pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Marvel Universe: The End#4-6 (June-August, 2003) - Jim Starlin (writer/pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Wolverine: Soultaker#4 (July, 2005) - Akira Yoshida (writer), Shin Nagasawa (artist), Nick Lowe (editor)
Thor: Blood Oath #6 (February 2006) - Michael Aven Oeming (writer), Scott Kolins (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Ares#1-5 (March-July, 2006) - Michael Avon Oeming (writer), Travel Foreman (penciler), Derek Fridolfs (inker), Warren Simons (editor)
Incredible Hercules#117-120 (April-October, 2008) - Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente (writers), Rafa Sandoval (pencils), Roger Bonet Martinez (inks), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Thor & Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica (2009) - Anthony Flamini, Greg Pak, Fred Van Lante & Paul Cornell (writers), Jeff Youngquist (editor)
Last updated: 07/05/14
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
All characters mentioned or pictured are
™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights
Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com
Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
Back to Races