Kukurihimenokami (菊理媛神)

Kukurihimenokami is a Japanese deity. She is identified with Shirayamahimenokami, who is enshrined at Hakusan in Kaga and other Hakusan-jinja shrines throughout the nation.


In Japanese Mythology, she appears neither in Kojiki (The record of Ancient Matters) nor in the text of Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) and appears only once in the Issho (a book cited in Nihonshoki) of Nihonshoki. According to this document, Izanagi visited yomi (the world after death) to see Izanami during the process of the birth of deities, but he run away after seeing Izanami who was dead and cold. However, Izanami caught up with him at Yomotsuhirasaka and they squabbled there.
Then, Yomotsuchimoribito appeared there and conveyed Izanami's message saying 'I cannot follow you.'
When Kukurihimenokami said something, Izanagi offered praise and went home. Nothing is written about what Kukurihimenokami said and there is no description of her place of birth, etc. Based on this anecdote, Kukurihimenokami is regarded as a deity of match-making since she reconciled Izanagi and Izanami. Further, she is also said to be a goddess of shaman (a miko (shrine maiden)) because she reconciled the deceased (Izanami) and the living (Izanagi). She is also regarded as a deity who takes away impurities.

Her deity name 'Kukuri' means 'bind' and this deity name is believed to have been derived from the anecdote in which she reconciled Izanagi and Izanami.
Other than the above, there are several views on the origins of her name, such as the one that asserts it relates to spinning thread ('kukuru' also means 'bind strings'), the one that asserts it relates to 'kuguri (pass under water)' and she is a deity of water, and the one that asserts it is derived from 'kikiireru (accept a person's request).'

The details concerning the reason why she came to be identified with Shirayamahimenokami are not clear. Concerning the enshrined deity of Shirayamahime-jinja Shrine (Hakusan City, Ishikawa Prefecture), the head shrine of the Hakusa-jinja shrines, only Izanagi and Izanami were referred to in books written up to the medieval Period. However, in "Dainihon Ichinomiya Ki (List of prominent shrines in Japan)" written by Kanetomo YOSHIDA during the Muromachi period, Kukurihimenokami was referred to as the enshrined deity of the Kamisha of Shirayamahime-jinja Shrine and in the books written in the Edo period, it is clearly stated that Shirayamahimenokami and Kukurihimenokami are the same deity.

During the era of synthesis of Shinto and Buddhism, Shirayamahimenokami was called either Hakusan-Daigongen, Hakusan-Myori-Gongen, or Hakusan-Myori-Bosatsu, and the honji-butsu (the original Buddhist divinity) was called the 11-faced Kannon (the Goddess of Mercy).

Currently Shirayamahime-jinja Shrine enshrines, together with Izanagi and Izanami, Kukurihimenokami (Shirayamahimenokami) as its principal deities.

Kukurihime depicted in fiction

In fiction, Kukurihime is often depicted as a mysterious being because little is known about her.

Further, there are some works in which a character reflects the image of Kukurihimenokami by using a portion of her name.

[Original Japanese]