Ukemochi no kami (保食神)

"Ukemochi no kami" is a god (Shinto) appearing in Japanese Mythology. She does not appear in Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), and appears only in the eleventh "alternate writing" of the chapter on kamiumi (birth of the gods) of Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan). She is generally believed to be a goddess.

Description according to mythology

Amaterasu Omikami (the Sun Goddess) ordered Tsukuyomi to go take a look at a goddess called Ukemochi no kami in Ashihara no nakatsukuni (literally, "Central Land of Reed Plains", which refers to the human world). When Tsukiyomi no mikoto went to Ukemochi no kami, Ukemochi no kami faced the land and discharged rice from her mouth, and then faced the sea and discharged fish from her mouth, and finally faced the mountain and discharged a beast from her mouth, and served Tsukiyomi no mikoto with them. Tsukiyomi no mikoto became angry, saying 'how filthy you are to make me eat something you spit out of your mouth,' and killed her with a blade. Upon hearing this Amaterasu Omikami became angry, and said she no longer wanted to see Tsukiyomi no mikoto. That is why the moon and sun appear separately for night and day.

Amaterasu Omikami sent Amenokumahito to Ukemochi no kami, but Ukemochi no kami had passed away. From the remains of Ukemochi no kami, horses and cattle were born from the head, and millet from the forehead, silkworm from the eyebrows, Japanese (barnyard) millet from the eyes, rice plant from the abdomen, barley, soybean, and azuki beans from the genitals. When Amenokumahito brought all of these back, Amaterasu Omikami was delighted, and used these as seeds in the fields, believing that they were foods necessary for people to live.


This setsuwa (anecdote) is the myth surrounding the origin of food in Japanese Mythology, and is a Hainuwele myth-style setsuwa seen mainly in Southeast Asia and all over the world. In Kojiki, a similar setsuwa exists for Susano and Oogetsuhime. Therefore, Ukemochi no kami is sometimes believed to be the same god as Oogetsuhime. Additionally, she is believed to be the same god as Ukanomitama, who is also a Shokumotsu-shin (the god of foodstuffs), and is sometimes enshrined in Inari-jinja Shrine instead of Ukanomitama-no-kami.

Uke in the shinmei (name of god) has the same root as 'uke' in Toyoukebime and 'uka' in Ukanomitama-no-kami, and means food.

Not only because she is a Shokumotsu-shin, but also because 'horses and cattle were born from her head,' she is also considered to be the god of cattle and horses. Komagata-jinja Shrine, which is common in eastern Japan enshrines Ukemochi no kami as the god of horses, and is also viewed as equal to Bato Kannon (horse-headed Kannon) because of the 'horse from head' incident.

[Original Japanese]