Glossary of Shinto Names and Terms: K

Kada no Azumamaro 荷田春満


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kada no Azumamaro (1669-1736).


kagamimochi 鏡餅


mirror rice cakes.

Flat, round mochi rice cakes resembling a mirror. Most often, a large and small kagamimochi are stacked together and used as offerings to kami and buddhas.


kagura 神楽


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kagura.


Kagutsuchi カグツチ (記: 迦具土神、紀: 軻遇突智 (命))


The kami of fire in the myths of the Kiki. In giving birth to this kami, Izanami burned her genitals and died. In anger, Izanagi killed Kagutsuchi with a sword, and the resulting blood produced Takemikazuchi and other kami. Various yamatsumi (mountain kami) were produced from Kagutsuchi's corpse.


kaichô 開帳


Exhibition of images.

A public exhibition of religious statuary or sacred objects normally kept hidden. Ikaichô refers to the exhibition of a shrine or temple's own statuary, while dekaichô refers to the loan of statuary to another shrine or temple for exhibition.


kamidana 神棚


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kamidana.


kamisama カミサマ


shamaness, female spiritual medium.

One of several names for folk shaman in the Kitaouu district of northeastern Japan. See also itako and gomiso.


kamiyo 神代


Age of the Gods.

The period based on the mythology in the Kiki from the cosmological beginning through Ugayafukiaezu, the father of Emperor Jimmu. Also used generally to refer to very ancient times.


Kamo no Mabuchi 賀茂真淵


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kamo no Mabuchi (1697-1769).


Kampei Taisha 官幣大社


a major imperial shrine.

An imperial shrine of the major category, one the class of shrines established as part of the shrine classification system enacted by the Meiji government. This system classified shrines as either official government shrines or "other" shrines. The official shrines were divided into imperial shrines kampeisha of the minor, medium, or major category, and national shrines (kokuheisha), likewise categorized as minor, medium, or major. In general, kampeisha were shrines venerated by the imperial family, and those enshrining emperors, imperial family members, or meritorious retainers. In contrast, kokuheisha enshrined kami considered beneficial to more local areas.


Kanasana Jinja 金鑽神社


Kanasana Shrine.

A shikinaisha shrine in Kodama County, Saitama Prefecture. Popularly referred to as Ninomiya-sama. The shrine omits a main sanctuary building, since the mountain behind it is considered the sanctuary where the kami dwells. The mountain is popularly believed to be the place where Yamatotakeru no mikoto's fire-striking stone was deposited at the time of his campaign to subjugate the outlying eastern provinces. The shrine is noted for its Hikiri Shinji, or "firestone festival" observed on the evening November 23rd.


Kanda matsuri 神田祭


Kanda festival.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kanda Matsuri.


kanmiso 神御衣


divine garment.

"Festival of divine raiment." Divine garments offered at the major festival Kanmisosai, observed at the Grand Shrines of Ise (Inner Shrine) and the Aramatsuru no Miya at the twice-annual changing of clothes in May and October.


kannagara 惟神


kami nature.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kannagara.


Kashima Jingû 鹿島神宮


Kashima Shrine.

A shikinaisha shrine in Kashima County, Ibaraki Prefecture enshrining Takemikazuchi Ôkami. This kami and the kami of Katori Shrine, Futsunushi, were dispatched by Amaterasu and decended to Izumo. After Ôkuninushi surrendered the land to them, they pacified the Central Land of the Reed Plain (Ashihara no nakatsu kuni). Since the Kamakura period, Takemikazuchi has been worshiped as a martial kami.


Kasuga 春日


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kasuga.


Katori Jingû 香取神宮


Katori Shrine.

A shikinaisha shrine in Sahara City, Chiba Prefecture enshrining Futsunushi Ôkami, a kami whom Amaterasu dispatched to Izumo together with the kami of Kashima Shrine, Takemikazuchi. After Ôkuninushi surrendered the land to them, they pacified the Central Land of the Reed Plain (Ashihara no nakatsu kuni). Since the Kamakura period, Futsunushi has been worshiped as a kami of martial arts


Kawamura Hidene 河村秀根


(1723-92). A scholar of National Learning in the mid-Edo era. Trained in Shintô, classical literature, and Japanese history, Kawamura established a rational and investigative approach to classical research. With the cooperation of his brother and son, he established a unqiue Kawamura family academic style that became known as kidengaku or classical tradition studies.


Kawatsura Bonji 川面凡児


(1862-1929). A folk religionist who popularized the practice of misogi (ascetic purification in water). Founder of Miitsukai. Collected Works published in 10 volumes.


kegare 穢


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kegare.


Keichû 契沖


(1640-1701). A Buddhist monk of the Shingon Sect and one of the founders of early modern "nativism." Kei opened a new stage in the study of waka poetry and classical texts through bibliographic research and the espousal of non-doctrinaire interpretations, and exerted significant impact on Motoori Norinaga.


keidai 境内


shrine precincts or temple precincts.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Keidaichi.


keishin-sûso 敬神崇祖


revere the kami, respect one's ancestors.

One of the fundamental ideas in Shintô. It is based on the belief that the ancestral spirits become the kami that provide protection for decendants and the family with the perfomance of Shintô ceremonies. This is an integration of reverence for kami and ancestor worship. It has been emphasized by Kokugaku scholars.

kenpeishi 献幣使


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kenpeishi.


Keta Jinja 気多神社


Keta Shrine.

A shikinaisha shrine in Hakui City in Ishikawa Prefecture. Famous since the Nara period as a great shrine (taisha) of the Hokuriku region. Among the shrine's observances are a Cormorant Divination Festival, in which the quality of the havest is predicted using cormorants, and Taira no Kuni Festival (also called Oide Matsuri, Kunimuke Matsuri, or Heikokusai), which is associated with the subjugation of the country by Ônamuchi (Ôkuninushi no mikoto).


Kiki 記紀



A conventional abbreviation used to refer jointly to the Kojiki (compiled 712) and the Nihon shoki (compiled 720).


Kitabatake Chikafusa 北畠親房


(1293-1354). A courtier of the late Kamakura era and Northern and Southern Courts period. A trusted advisor to the Southern Court of Emperor Godaigo and author of Jinnô shôtôki (Chronicle of the Direct Decent of Divine Sovereigns). Kitabatake and his works have strong links to Ise Shintô.


Kitamura Sayo 北村サヨ


(1900-1967). Founder of the New Religion Tenshô kôtai jingû-kyô.


Kitano Tenjin 北野天神


The kami enshrined at the shrine Kitano Tenmangû in Kyoto. The kami is the deified Fujiwara no Michizane.


kitô 祈祷


A ritual invocation directed to kami and buddhas for the purpose of seeking blessings or protection.


ko shôgatsu 小正月


Little New Year's.

New Year's according to the ancient lunar calendar, observed on the fifteenth day (full moon), or between the 14th and 16th, of the year's first month, now generally observed on January 15th by the new calendar. Also refer to Ôshôgatsu.


Kojiki 古事記


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kojiki.


Kojiki-den 古事記伝



Written by Motoori Norinaga, an annotated edition of the Kojiki in 44 books and 44 chapters. Completed in 1798 and published posthumously by his pupils in 1822 as a complete edition. It is the pivotal work of Norinaga's scholarship and that of his scholarly tradition. It comprises volumes 9 through 12 of The Complete Works of Motoori Norinaga.


Kokka Shintô 国家神道


state Shinto.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kokka Shintô.


kôkoku shisô 皇国思想


imperial-rule thought.

A thought that emphasizes the centrality of the Emperor in governing Japan.


Kokugaku 国学


National Learning / nativist studies.

The umbrella term given to Edo period restorationist scholarship and thought based on the interpretation of classical Japanese texts and literary sources.


Kokugakuin Daigaku 國學院大學


Kokugakuin University.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kokugakuin Daigaku.


Kokuikô 国意考


Kokuikô (Thoughts on the Meaning of the Nation).

Work by Kamo no Mabuchi, published posthumously in 1806, in which he proclaims the superority of Japan's ancient spoken language, particularly as reflected in the Man'yôshû in comparison to the "written language" of imported systems of thought such as Confucianism and Buddhism.


Konkô-kyô 金光教


A sect of Kyôha Shintô. One of the pre-war Shintô Jûsampa. Founded by Akazawa Bunji (1814-83), who in 1859 claimed the kami Konkô Daijin had taken possession of his body. The sect was organized by followers in 1885 after Akazawa's death and recognized as an independent sect by the government in 1900. Overseas proselytizing was initiated prior to WWII, and the group now has established churches in the Americas. Headquartered in Asakuchi County, Okayama Prefecture; reported membership is 440,000.


Konkô Daijin 金光大神


The religious name adopted by Akazawa Bunji (1814-1883), founder of Konkô-kyô,


Konohanasakuyahime no mikoto コノハナ〔ノ〕サクヤヒ (ビ) メ (記: 木花之佐久夜毘売、木花 (華) 開耶姫命)



A female kami appearing in the Kiki. Daughter of Ôyamatsumi, and consort of Ninigi. In an ordeal by fire she gave birth to the three gods Hoderi, Osuseri, and Hoori. Enshrined at Sengen Shrine at Mount Fuji.


Koshi-den 古史伝



A 37-volume work by Hirata Atsutane modeled after Motoori Norinaga's Kojiki-den. Hirata provides a chapter-by-chapter commentary on his own Koshi seibun, attempting to elaborate a unified view of the universe and humanity through a new interpretation of ancient tradition. At the time of Hirata's death the manuscript was incomplete, but it was finished by Yano Harumichi, a Kokugaku scholar of the Hirata school and published in 1911. It comprises volumes 1 through 4 of The Complete Works of Hirata Atsutane.


kôshitsu saishi 皇室祭祀


imperial house rituals.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kôshitsu saishi.


Kôtai Jingû gishiki-chô 皇太神宮儀式帳


Register of Ceremonies for the Grand Shrine (Naiku) of Ise.

A book detailing plans and ceremonies of the Inner Shrine of the Grand Shrine of Ise. Submitted jointly with the Outer Shine's Toyukegû gishiki-chô to the Dajôkan (Department of Political Affairs) in 804, as the Enryaku gishiki-chô.


Kotani Kimi 小谷喜美


(1801-71). One of the founders of the Buddhist-based New Religion called Reiyûkai.


Kubo Kakutarô 久保角太郎


(1892-1944). One of the founders of the Buddhist-based New Religion called Reiyûkai.


Kumano Hongû Taisha 熊野本宮大社


Kumano Hongû Shrine.

A shikinaisha shrine in Wakayama Prefecture. One of the three shrines collectively known as Kumano Sanzan. The other two, Kumano Nachi Shrine and Kumano Hayatama Shrine, are also located in Wakayama.


Kuni(no)tokotachi no kami クニ〔ノ〕トコタチ (記: 国之常立神、紀: 国常立尊)


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kunitokodachi no mikoto.


kunitsukami 国津神


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Amatsukami, Kunitsukami, Ame-tsuchi, Kami.


Kurozumi-kyô 黒住教


A sect of Kyôha Shintô. One of the pre-war Shintô Jûsampa. Founded by Kurozumi Munetada (1780-1850). Is said to have had 100,000 adherents by the end of the Tokugawa era. In 1876, the group became the first independent sect of Kyôha Shintô to be recognized by the government. Active mostly in western Japan, the group also now has many branches in the Chugoku and Shikoku regions. Headquartered in Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture; reported membership is approximately 300,000.


Kurozumi Munetada 黒住宗忠


(1780-1850). Founder of Kurozumikyô.


Kyôbushô 教部省


Ministry of Religion.

Established in 1873 to replace the Jingikan (Department of Divinities), which from 1869 to 1871 had been pursuing the indoctrination of the people under the principle of unity of religion and rule (saisei itchi). The Jingikan was reformed in 1871 into a new Jingishô (Ministry of Divinities), which in turn underwent revision two years later into the Ministry of Religion. The Ministry oversaw religious affairs and policies, and sought to advance the Taikyô sempu (Proclamation of the Great Doctrine) through a system for indoctrination mobilizing both Shintoists and Buddhists. The Ministry was dissolved in 1877 in response to arguments for the separation of religious and governmental affairs, and its administrative functions were assumed by the Bureau of Shrines and Temples in the newly created Home Ministry.


Kyôdôshoku 教導職


Agency for Religious and Moral Instruction.

A system of government-appointed moral instructors established in 1872 for the purpose of administering the Taikyô sempu (Proclamation of the Great Doctrine). The system involved 14 levels of unpaid instructors in national moral education, using primarily Shintô specialists, government-appointed Shintô priests, and Buddhist priests. The system was abolished in 1884 after having demonstrated little success.


Kyôha Shintô 教派神道


sectarian Shinto.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Kyôha Shintô.


Kyôha Shintô Rengôkai 教派神道連合会


Association of Shintô Sects.

1) The pre-war federation of the sects of Kyôha Shintô (Sect Shintô). Its forerunner was the Shintô Dôshikai (Shintô Association), which was formed in 1895 by eight sects: Kurozumi-kyô, Jingû-kyô, Taisha-kyô (Izumo Ôyashiro-kyô), Fusô-kyô, Jikkô-kyô, Taisei-kyô, Shinshû-kyô, Ontake-kyô. Subsequently, there were additions and deletions in membership.

2) The current association is composed of twelve sects: Izumo Ôyashiro-kyô, Ômoto, Ontake-kyô, Kurozumi-kyô, Konkô-kyô, Jikkô-kyô, Shinshû-kyô, Shintô Shûsei-ha, Shintô Taisei-kyô, Shinri-kyô, Fusô-kyô, and Misogi-kyô.