Kuebiko (久延毘古)

Kuebiko is an ancient god that appears in Japanese Mythology (Shinto god).

Kuebiko appears in a legend about nation building by Okuninushi. In this legend, Okuninushi is visited by a small god from across the ocean, who would not reveal his name to anybody and whose name nobody knows. Wishing to know his name, a toad sends for Kuebiko, who is believed to know everything about the world, but is told that Kuebiko was unable to walk. Okuninushi then visits Kuebiko with his men to find out that Kuebiko is a scarecrow standing in a rice paddy on a mountain. In response to Okuninushi's question, Kuebiko answers that the visiting god is Kamimusubi's son named Sukunabikona.

Kuebiko is a scarecrow deified as the god of rice paddies in farming and local communities. Due to their shape, scarecrows are often regarded as symbols of gods. In some areas of Japan, scarecrows are worshipped as symbols of mountain gods in scarecrow festivals held at the time of harvest or during New Year holidays. Standing in rice paddies all day long watching what goes on in the world, scarecrows came to be regarded as knowing everything.

The name of the god, 'Kuebiko,' literally means a 'deformed man,' signifying a weather-beaten, ragged scarecrow. The name may also be derived from 'Tsuehiko' (a man walking with a cane), which reminds us of its possible relationship with the Funatonokami god (road god) born from a cane thrown by Izanagi to clean off impurities that she brought from the land of the dead.

Kuebiko is worshipped as the god of paddies and also as the god of learning, and is enshrined in shrines such as Kutehiko-jinja Shrine (Nakanoto-machi, Kashima-gun, Ishikawa Prefecture) and Kuehiko-jinja Shrine, a branch shrine of Omiwa-jinja Shrine (Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture).

[Original Japanese]