Okami is remembered for its unique painted graphics, memorable characters, epic story, and special brush-based combat. director of the game, Hideki Kamiya, recently mentioned that he hopes to one day make a sequel, which has excited many fans. As children, players often think about Okami like a fantasy world, but older fans now know that Nippon is really ancient Japan and that much of that game’s content is inspired by Japan’s polytheistic religion Shinto. .
Part of what makes Shinto so special is that it has Japanese roots and is deeply intertwined with the nation’s history and culture. The religion has a strong belief in harmony with nature and purity, which is expressed in many ways Okami. Like any religion, Shinto has characters and stories and they are seen everywhere in the game, from villains to heroes and mini NPCs.
Characters in Okami from Shinto
Of course, the first character from Shinto is a main character, Amaterasu myself. She is the main character of Okami and the sun goddess in the form of a wolf. In Shinto, she is also the goddess of the Sun and one of the religion’s greatest deities, with her shrine being one of the holiest sites in the country, the Grand Shrine of Ise. In terms of being a wolf, though, it’s a completely original aspect of the video game. There are many stories about her, such as being the sister of the moon god, Tsukuyomi, and the storm god, Susanoo. One of the most popular stories is one in which Amaterasu sealed herself in a cave and many gods had to lure her out by throwing a party. In Shinto, it is also believed that the first Emperor of Japan, Jimmu, was a descendant of Amaterasu.
Susano in the game is based on Susanoo from Shinto. Although he is not the brother of Amaterasu in the game, he still has a lot of similarities with the mythology. In Shinto, Susanoo killed Orochi eight-headed snake it was all just him and, like in the game, got the snake drunk with sake to do it. Even the weapon the player receives for defeating Orochi, the Kusanagi, is from true Shinto lore, and Susanoo gave it to Amaterasu as a mythical gift.
Kushi is based on Kushinadahime, who plays a similar role both in the game and Shinto. Both were rescued from Orochi by Susano. However, Kushinadahime is one of the wives while Kushi and Susano appear to be monogamous. In Japan, Shinto shrines for her are often paired with Susannoo.
In Okami, has the supporting characters Nagi and Nami, who are the ancestors of Susano. They are also of Shinto origin, as their names are abbreviated forms of Izanagi and Izanami, the couple that gave birth to Japan and its many gods. Unlike many other myths, woman is actually associated with death and man with life. Amaterasu and her brothers were born from Izanagi after he purified himself in a river after visiting Yomi.
Queen Himiko is another example of Shinto in Okami, but something special because she’s also a historical figure. While historical, she is also mythical due to her role as a mage as well as queen. There are theories among historians that she may be the same woman who founded the Ise Shrine, Amaterasu’s main shrine. Okami Seems to like this theory very much, as the Himiko in the game has a magic mirror and the woman who founded the Ise Shrine kept a sacred mirror in Ise, created by the gods to lure Amaterasu out of the cave. . Himiko is a popular character in video games, also featured in titles like 2018 Tomb Raider.
See more from Shinto
Okami is inhabited by many interesting enemies, such as imps, ghosts, goblins, spiders and foxes. Almost all of them stem from Shinto’s belief in beings known as yokai and kami. These words are translated to devil and god in anime and video games but it doesn’t do justice to how they are perceived in Shinto. For example, yokai are supernatural beings and are not associated with evil like demons in Western culture. The Japanese kami are more than just gods and can include ancestors, historical leaders, and really powerful yokai. The boss in Okami such as Spider Queen and Ninetails are specifically associated with Shintosm’s yokai. The spider queen is a type of yokai known as the jorogumo, the lady spider, and ninetails is from folklore kitsune revolves around foxes with stronger mystical abilities depending on their multiple tails (with nine being the strongest).
Lots of reference to typical Japanese folklore, such as Issun which is based on a Japanese fairy tale about a small child who seeks to become a powerful warrior with a needle like sword. . Tale of the Bamboo Cutter of Japan is also included in Okami with Mr. Bamboo and Kaguya. This is also true for Dragon Palace, which originates from the folk tale of a boy who was brought to an undersea palace by a turtle he saved (although in Okami, it’s an orca instead of a turtle).
How much can one fill a book with Okami rooted in Japanese culture, history, folk tales and religion. These details only touch the surface of what the game has, like Okami is a great example of how video games can bring a country’s religion, history, and folklore to the world stage for others to learn and enjoy. If Kamiya decides to make a sequel, there will certainly be many other characters and creatures based on Japanese Mythology will be there.
Okami HD currently available for PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Modder Ammyeh released a mod for the PC version of Fallout 4 that makes Dogmeat resemble the white wolf Amaterasu from Capcom’s critically acclaimed Okami series.
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https://gamerant.com/okami-shinto-roots-backstory-religion-explained/ Okami’s Shinto Root Explanation