nakiuk (nakiuk) wrote in faeries,

Japanese Kami

The Japanese Kami are very much like the original ideas of European fairies. Indeed the two sets of beings likely come from the same traditions. At one time the Altaic peoples (of which the Japanese are a part) and the Indo-European peoples (which make up most of the peoples of Europe, including the Celts) were a single people and much of their beliefs remained similar up to the modern era. In reading Japanese Fairy tales which I have been having translated, along with the fairy tales of many of Europe's peoples I have come to find these similarities very striking.
In Europe people knocked on wood in order to wake the fairies within so that they might ask favors of these, while in Japan they clapped their hands to wake the kami. Of course the idea of waking the spirits with a clapping noise isn't unique in and of it self, but when one considers that both cultures hung cloth from trees to show their respect, that they believed that mountain and rock fairies/kami were most likely to appear in dreams while thunder and wind kami would likely appear in person. Or that mountain kami and field fairy/kami were responsible for good harvests the relationship between the belief systems of the belief systems begins to stand out a bit more. It's useful of course to have read the fairy tales of the Mongols, the Turkic people and the Uralic people which live between Japan and Europe to begin to see how the beliefs transitioned from one land to another and how they are connected. I've been working on developing this collection of fairy tales for some time and am so far as I know the first to have translated a number of fairy tales of the Eurasian steppes into English in order to achieve this.
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