Why I love the word “kami”


The Japanese kanji for “kami”

In Japanese, the word used to refer to any kind of deity is kami, sometimes with the suffix “-sama” at the end to show respect. Out of all the words for “deity” I know in any language, “kami” or “kami-sama” is perhaps my favourite. And here’s why… [Read more]




Filed under Shinto / Japanese Religion

6 responses to “Why I love the word “kami”

  1. Oh I like this word, too. In English it’s so hard to find a term to express the concept of deity without conjuring up very specific definitions. If you say God, most people in America assume its the Christian god. If you say Spirit, most people assume either ghosts or a person’s soul. If you say Supreme Being, you just sound like you might be out of your gourd, lol. I love English, and it has the capacity to be very flexible, but I feel that other languages handle abstractions better.

    • That’s why I like knowing two languages 🙂 It means that some ideas become easier to express because a concept that might not exist in one exists in the other. It makes me wonder how many handy words there are in other languages that would help us when we’re struggling to find the right word in English!

      • I’m a totally lame monolingual American. I took five years of Latin but since it’s not used for regular speech, it’s nice for helping to understand other languages, but not really expression. One of these days I’ll have to buckle down and actually learn a functional second language. It would certainly help my nursing career.

      • Latin is an awesome language to know, and as you said, really good for helping to understand English and other languages 🙂

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