Toshigami (年神)

"Toshigami"(年神, also written as 歳神) is a Shinto god (Shinto).

He (or she) is a raiho-shin (visiting god) visiting homes every New Year's Day. Different regions call him (or her) Otondo-san, Shogatsu-sama, Eho-gami, Otoshi no kami, Toshidon, Toshi jisan, Wakadoshi-san, etc.

Toshi' refers to the harvest of rice, and he (or she) is a grain god. At the root is the death and rebirth of grain. In ancient Japan, with the development of agriculture, prayers at the beginning of the year for an abundant crop began, and developed to honor Toshigami, which became the main event for New Year's. The New Year's decorations used today, were originally for welcoming Toshigami. Kadomatsu (New Year pine tree branch decoration) is an object to which the Toshigami is drawn, and the mirror-shaped rice cake was an offering to Toshigami. Families built shelves called toshigamidana or ehodana, and placed the offering for Toshigami there.

Meanwhile, in some regions, Toshigami is honored as sorei, or ancestral spirits protecting the household. It is because the god protecting agriculture and the sorei protecting the family were equated, and the deity of rice fields and harvests and the sorei were also believed to descend from the mountains (refer to mountain god). Kunio YANAGITA considered the three gods, god protecting the year, deity of rice fields and harvests protecting agriculture, and sorei protecting the household, to be worshipped as one simple folk god, as Toshigami.

Around the middle ages, 'Toshigami (年神 or 歳神)' began being referred to as 'Toshitoku-jin (年徳神 or 歳徳神).'
Toku (徳: virtue) leads to toku (得: profit) and was considered good luck. It was also adopted in direction, and the direction of Toshitoku-jin was called 'eho' (favorable direction) and was considered a direction that brings good luck. In the almanac, Toshitoku-jin is depicted as a female god, but the mythical Otoshi no kami is a male god, and some say he appears as an old man. Originally a god of folk belief, there was variation in people's perception of his (or her) figure.

Otoshi no kami and Mitoshi no kami
In Japanese mythology, he (or she) is believed to be Otoshi no kami, who was born between Susanoo and Kamu-oichi-hime (daughter of Oyamatsumi). These gods had another child, Ukano-mitama, who is also a grain god. Additionally, Otoshi no kami and Kayo-hime had a child, Mitoshi no kami (or Otoshi no kami), and a grandchild, Wakatoshi no kami, who were gods of similar divinity.

Otoshi no kami is believed to be the father of many other gods. This shows what an important god he was.

Children between Ino-hime (daughter of Kamu-ikusubi no kami)
Ohokunimitama no kami - means divine spirit of the country
Kara no kami - god worshipped by clans from Korea
Sohori no kami - believed to be the imperial capital of Silla (ancient Korean kingdom) (Seoul)
Shirahi no kami
Hijiri no kami
Children between Kayo-hime
Ohokaguyamatomi no kami
Mitoshi no kami
Children between Amenochikaru mizuhime
Okitsuhiko no kami
Okitsu-hime - also known as Ohohe-hime. Goddess of the cooking stove.

Ohoyamakuhi no kami - also known as Yamasue no ohonushi no kami.
Mountain god of Mt. Hiei, and the enshrined deity of Hiyoshi-taisha Shrine and Matsuo-taisha Shrine

Nihatsuhi no kami - means the sun shining on the garden.
God of residence

Asuha no kami - god of residence
Hahiki no kami
Kaguyamatomi no kami
Hayamato no kami - god ruling the base of a mountain
Nihatakatsuhi no kami - means the sun shining on the garden.
God of residence

Ohotsuchi no kami - also known as Tsuchinomioya no kami
God of the soil

Children between Hayamato no kami and Ogetsu hime no kami
Wakayamakui no kami - mountain god
Wakatoshi no kami
Wakasaname no kami - means young female rice planter
Mizumaki no kami - god of water and irrigation
Natsutakanohi no kami - Also known as Natsunome no kami. Means the god of summer sun from up high.

Akibime no kami - Goddess of autumn
Kukutoshi no kami - means the stalk of a rice-plant growing
Kukuki-wakamurotsunane no kami - also known as Wakamurotsunane. Means building a new room and tying with arrowroot rope. Believed to be about constructing a building for Niinamesai (ceremonial offering by the Emperor of newly-harvested rice to the deities).

There is no description other than of the genealogy in the Kiki (Kojiki and Nihonshoki), but in the Kogoshui (Gleaning of Ancient Words), there is a story about the rice seedling in Otokonushi no kami's rice field that is almost running dry due to a curse by Mitoshi no kami, and how they grew when Otokonushi no kami prayed to Mitoshi no kami with offerings of a white horse and a white hog..

Otoshi no kami is enshrined in Otoshimioya-jinja Shrine (Aoi Ward, Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture), Hida Ichinomiya Minashi-jinja Shrine (Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture), etc. He is also enshrined in small shrines on the ridge between rice fields as the Otoshi-jinja Shrine, Otoshisama, particularly in western Japan. Katsuragi Mitoshi-jinja Shrine (Gose City, Nara Prefecture) is considered the chief shrine.

[Original Japanese]