Amenomahitotsu no Kami (天目一箇神)

Amenomahitotsu no Kami is a Shinto god of iron manufacture and blacksmiths who appears in Japanese mythology. He appears in the "Kogoshui" (History of the Inbe Clan), the "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), and the "Harimanokuni Fudoki" (Records of the Culture and Geography of Harima Province). He is also known as Amenomahitotsune no Mikoto and Amenokushimahitotsu no Mikoto. He has something to do with Daidara-bocchi (a giant in Japanese mythology).


According to the "Kogoshui," Amenomahitotsu no Kami is a child of Amatsuhikone no Mikoto. He made swords, axes, and bronze bells during the 'iwato-gakure,' when Amaterasu Omikami, the sun goddess, hid herself in a cave after a fight with her brother. He worked as a blacksmith to make the necessary items when the god Omononushi was enshrined. The document also says that during the reign of Emperor Sujin, a descendant of Amenomahitotsu no Kami and a descendant of Ishikoridome (the ancestral goddess of mirror makers) recast the sacred mirror. In the "Nihonshoki," the second issho (addendum) in the section on the pacification of Ashihara no Nakatsukuni (the Central Land of Reed Plains) says that Takamimusubi (one of the three creator gods of Japanese mythology) designated Amenomahitotsu no Kami as the blacksmith when they enshrined the gods of Izumo. In the "Kogoshui," he is described as the ancestor of the Inbe Clans in Tsukushi Province and Ise Province, and it also mentions some relationship to Futodama (another ancestral deity of the Inbe Clan).

He is a god of blacksmithing and is thought to be the same god as Amatsumara, who is described as a smith in the iwato-gakure section of the "Kojiki" (the Records of Ancient Matters). The 'mahitotsu' part of his name means 'one eye,' and it is said this was derived from the fact that blacksmiths closed one eye to judge the temperature of iron from its color, or another story that blacksmiths had an industrial disease which made one eye blind. The same thing can be said about Amatsumara because the 'mara' in 'Amatsumara' is derived from the word 'meura,' which also means 'one eye'.

Amenomahitotsu no Kami appears under the name of Amenomahitotsu no Mikoto in the section on the Takanokori region in the "Harimanokuni Fudoki" (the topography of Harima Province). The story has it that Michinushihime no Mikoto, the local guardian goddess, gave birth to a child whose father was unknown, but when she let the child choose which god out of the many he would pour ukeizake (sake which is offered to a deity to ask his or her will) for and the child chose Amenomahitotsu no Mikoto, she realized that Amenomahitotsu no Mikoto was the father. It is believed that this myth represents a close relationship between agricultural people and metalworkers. Amenomahitotsu no Kami is enshrined at Amenomahitotsu-jinja Shrine (Ogi-cho, Nishiwaki City, Hyogo Prefecture (formerly Ogi, Hino Village, Taka District), the current shrine building is a reconstruction), where he was worshipped as a god of iron manufacturing.


Although Ichimokuren, also known as Hitotsume no Muraji, is thought to be the same as the Amenomahitotsu no Kami enshrined at Ichimokuren-jinja Shrine, which is an annex shrine of Tado Taisha Shrine (Tado-cho, Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture), this deity was originally a dragon which had lost one eye and this led people to eventually identify him with Amenomahitotsu no Kami.

Ichimokuren is regarded as a god who controls the weather and, in the Edo period, people frequently prayed to him for rain and for protection against shipwrecks in Ise Bay. Kunio YANAGIDA concludes that this belief originated in sailors at sea on Ise Bay using the appearance of Mt. Tado to predict changes in the weather. Mt. Tado, which is at the southern tip of the Yoro Mountains, must have been a good mountain for predicting the weather because, of the mountains to the north of Ise Bay, it is the closest to the bay and changes in the weather, such as fog on the mountain, can easily be seen.

The section on 'umi no okase' (whirlwind) in the "Wakan Sansai Zue" (an encyclopedia compiled in the Edo period) says 'Well, unexpected windstorms sometimes occur in Sei-shu (Ise Province), Bi-shu (Owari Province), No-shu (Mino Province), and Tan-shu (Hida Province), and such storms are generally called Ichimokuren and considered as a divine wind. Once this wind blows, it destroys everything: it pulls out trees, makes big rocks fall, and breaks houses. However, this occurs just along a narrow corridor and it does not damage any other places. A shrine for Ichimokuren is located on Mt. Tado, in Kuwana District, Sei-shu.'
According to a legend from Ise, Owari, Mino, and Hida Provinces, a windstorm occurred when Ichimokuren left the shrine and ran wild, and it is believed that the description in the encyclopedia was derived from this folklore. The main building of Ichimokuren-jinja Shrine does not have a door, and it is said this is to enable Ichimokuren to go in and out of the shrine anytime he wants in order to show his divine power.

[Original Japanese]