Gods are supernatural beings born from the wishes of humans and worshipped for having control over the fate of humans and their fortunes and well-beings. Their main job aside from fulfilling the wishes of humans is to exterminate the ayakashi that plague humans.
Gods are born from the wishes and desires of people. Gods can be born from any wish and continue to exist until they are completely forgotten because this means their duties have been fulfilled. Deceased spirits can and will be deified in order to soothe them and prevent them from cursing humans, such as Rabo and Tenjin .
Gods usually take the appearance of being human looking. However, not all Gods are human looking such as Inari, which is a fox God and has fox ears and tails (but still looks mostly human) and Stationmaster Tama who is an upcoming popular God born from the spirit of a calico cat. Also, most Gods differ in age. For example, Yato was seen being born as a child but aged until he hit roughly his late teens, early twenties, while Tenjin has an appearance of an old man and Bishamonten has been seen as a woman in her late twenties. Ebisu has been shown as a child who grew into a man in his mid thirties or forties but has recently been reincarnated into a small child and will most likely age until he is at his mid thirties.
Having been born from human wishes, Gods must fulfill the wishes of humans. Gods have different categories that define what specific wishes they should fulfill, such as Yato who is a Calamity God and therefore grants dark wishes such as murdering people, though it is not definite as he has been shown trying to move away from that and redefine himself as a God of Fortune, showing that Gods are not defined by the wish they were born from and can become a different kind of God than they were before. In addition, as protectors of human fortune, they must also kill ayakashi which are corrupted spirits that influence negative thoughts in humans, causing them to commit sins and terrible acts or even suicide.
Gods are capable of divine possession, as shown when Yato managed to possess Hiyori's body when her soul slipped out of her body. In OVA 2, Tenjin goes to explain further that Gods used to possess humans in order to fulfill a specific purpose or spread word of their religion and existence. Usually the one being possessed is a devout follower, a priest or priestess. In addition, Gods can and must take in souls of humans who have died through tragic accidents or before they were ready and willing to die and can use them as weapons. Gods bestow a name for the shinki as both a weapon and a person. However, shinki change shape depending on the master. For example, for Mayu when she was named Tomone by Yato she was a short dagger but for her current master Tenjin she transforms into a smoke pipe. Certain shinki are also useless such as Mineha who transforms into a broken mirror. They can use the shinki to slay ayakashi, shinki, humans, corrupted shinki, and even other Gods.
Responsibilities of God to a Shinki Edit
After taking a shinki as his/her subordinate, a god is to provide basic necessities for the shinki (shelter and clothing to be precise; other things like food, drink, entertainment etc. is optional). The god is also to train a shinki if the shinki is still new.
Aside from basic necessities, the god bears the responsibility of taking the burden of all the emotions the shinki has, and sins it does. The burden the god bears is in the form of stabbing pain on the back of his/her 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.
A god's most guarded secret is their Shinki's name and past life.They must never tell their Shinki details about their former life. Doing so will allow their Shinki to remember their past life and how they died. The trauma and negative thoughts turns the Shinki into a "Karma" ayakashi. At this point, the Shinki is beyond redemption and a purification ceremony will not work. The god's only option is to slay the Karma.
Responsibilities of Shinki to God Edit
A shinki is responsible to obey his/her master at all times, control their emotions, and also control him/herself from falling into temptations that lead to committing sins. This is because the name bestowed onto him/her is actually connected to the god’s life, and therefore any kinds of disturbance - intense emotions, sins committed, death - will be sensed by the god in the form of stabbing pain.
It is once assumed that when a soul becomes a god’s shinki, the god and the shinki become one in mind and body, therefore the pain should go in both directions. However it is not so; the pain will only transfer from the shinki to the god owner because the shinki is previously human, and humans have been applied with the concepts of good and evil, sin, heaven and hell. Gods on the other hand are not restricted by this concept and therefore are free to do as they please.
Once a god feels stabbing pain due to his/her shinki’s doing, appropriate action should be taken against the offending shinki. Usually a ritual called the purification ceremony is performed against the shinki, making it confess all of its sins, and depending on the severity of the offense the shinki will also have its name released and banished, or worse killed by the owner god. However the decision to release the shinki’s name and banish it is up to the owner god. For example, Yato didn’t release Yukine ’s name even though Yukine nearly killed him with the sins the shinki did; Tenjin on the other hand released Miyu ’s name and banished her on the spot when she cut her own wrist once.
It is also unethical for a shinki to bow down on a god when it is already serving another. This action is considered rude towards the god it’s supposed to serve.
God's Greatest Secret Edit
A god's greatest secret ("Kami no Himegoto, 神の秘め事) is a shinki's real name from when they were human. When a god names a shinki, the name bestowed by the god seals the memories of the shinki's human life, including their real name. The god sees these memories upon naming the shinki and must keep them a secret. If a shinki learns their real name, the posthumous name given by the god is destroyed, and the shinki becomes instantly corrupted by the memories of their own untimely death. At this point, the shinki's soul is unsalvageable and the only thing that can be done is to kill it.
Gods have a strong instinctive aversion to revealing any information regarding a god's greatest secret, however they are not entirely physically incapable of it, as demonstrated by Nora goading Yato into revealing Sakura's real name to her, despite his internal objections. A god's greatest secret can also be revealed by Father's technique "Liberation" while wielding Nora, as was done to Tsuguha.
Nora herself seems to be immune to a god's greatest secret, as she is able to discuss it, invoke it, and witness it to no ill effect, whereas it is stated that if normal shinki become aware of even the existence of the secret, their curiosity about their pasts becomes all-consuming until they degenerate.
How a God Survives or Dies Edit
Gods are born from the wishes of people, so once a God loses purpose and stops receiving wishes they die. This is because Gods are born to fulfill the wishes of the people and if they succeed, people will remember them. However, Gods have an existence such that if not interacting with humans over a long basis or do not fulfill a number of consecutive wishes that allows them to be remembered, the gods will not be remembered by humans and thus will die. This is because once people forget a God, this means they no longer have use for them and therefore a God's duty is done.However, this does not mean a God needs numerous followers to remember them in order for them to survive. Yato has survived for centuries through his father who, through divine possession, has lived for centuries and has been the only person to remember Yato, making him Yato's lifeline because if he dies Yato will most likely die since he is the only human to vividly remember Yato. Another way to kill a God is when they don't have shinki to use to defend themselves against ayakashi. An ayakashi can attack and corrupt a God, blighting them until they die. They can also attack and kill a God. Shinki can also kill Gods when used by other Gods. For example, Bishamonten nearly came close to killing Yato using her shinki and Yato is said to have used Nora to kill Gods. Gods can also die from being blighted by their shinki. When their shinki commit a sin and feel guilty, their guilt and negative emotions blight their God and if proper actions aren't taken the God can die.
As shown in OVA 3 , these are the main ways to kill a God and other means to attempt to kill a God that would normally work in killing a human will not work. When the crazed author/murderer tried to kill Yato, he struck Yato with a large blow using an iron bar, and while Yato did bleed he woke up the next day fine and healthy. He also tried to kill Yato through poisoning him with a strong fertilizer, shooting bullets, shooting an arrow at his head, burning him alive, and even drowning him by throwing him off a cliff, but none of these had any effect on him aside from temporary pain.
Gods can in fact get ill, however, 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 ill, as shown in episode 3 when some of Bishamonten's child shinki started crying she started feeling dizzy and nauseous. Similarly, when Yukine was depressed over the aspect of Hiyori forgetting him and Yato, Yato felt a pain in his heart. When Yukine was suffering depression over Suzuha 's death, Yato felt ill but he didn't seem blighted or have any poison spreading throughout his body. 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 not cause blight.
Also of note is that there are special medicines to suppress illness for Gods, as shown by the fact that Kuguha was Bishamonten's doctor and gave her medicine that not only made her feel better but was even able to temporarily make her blight go away. Similarly, in the underworld Ebisu was shown injecting himself with some sort of medicine that temporarily stave away his blight caused by him naming and controlling ayakashi.
If a God is remembered, even if the God is killed, they will be resurrected. However, when the God is reincarnated, while they do retain the majority of their base personality, they lose all their memories from their previous life.
Lower God vs. Recognized God Edit
Gods can be born from any wish and there are many Gods that have existed. However, many die because they are low Gods who, once they have fullfilled their duties or fail to fullfill the wish, are forgotten and die. In contrast, more well known Gods are easier to remember such as Ebisu, Bishamonten, Okukinushi, and Tenjin who, even after they die, will be reborn. Gods are required to be recognized by the heavens with proof being that the respective God has a shrine in order to be accepted into the heavens. Once accepted, Gods can attend meetings where they remain anonymous as they discuss the events that concern them, attend festivals in heaven, have their own plot of land, sell merchandise without getting into trouble, and go to and from heaven.
Heaven are the current faction of gods in Japan, though they didn't used to be and had waged a war with local Gods to achieve their power. The top Gods consist of mainly extreme, vicious gods who will do whatever it takes to preserve their power and ensure all Gods are loyal to them, even killing local Gods and giving them shinki loyal to them to ensure the reincarnations of the local gods become loyal to the heavens.
The most popular Gods are the Seven Gods of Fortune.
She is the highest ranking goddess and the God of the Sun.
As goddess of the underworld along with the mother of the very first Gods, she is a rare existence of a God in which she cannot die because she is ruler of the underworld and so long as life and death exist she will continue on living.
List of Known Gods Edit
- Kofuku (a.k.a Binbougami)
- Ōkuninushi (a.k.a. Daikokuten)
- Uka-no-Mitama (a.k.a. Inari)
- Stationmaster Tama
- Izanagi (mentioned only)
- Yato-no-Kami (mentioned only)
- Mizuhanome-no-Kami (mentioned only)