Amakami Family. Part 1. Family Tree

We have posted stories about the Amakami couples Isanami and Isanagi, and Suhitini and Uhitini. We have mentioned the fifth Takamimusuhi Toyoke-sama and the eighth Amakami Amateru. How were these people connected and where did they live? Above we see the early generations of the Amakami family tree. It relates to the map of the Yamato kuni which we presented in the previous post. The charts and the map are created and copyrighted by S. Sakata.

Minakanusi and Kunitokotati

The Amakami family tree begins with Minakanusi, the earliest named ancestor from very ancient times. However, Minakanusi is not shown in our chart. First we see Kunitokotati, the ancestor of the Amakami, founder (tati) of the land (kuni). It is written that Kunitokotati had eight sons, of whom four are shown. These eight were known as the Kunisatuti, namely Ye-no-kunisatuti, To-no-kunisatuti, Ta-no-kunisatuti, and Ka-no-kunisatuti, and so on. Names in red are the Amakami, beginning with Kunitokotati down the generations to the 7th Amakami Isanami and Isanagi.

Ye-no-Kunisatuti and To-no-Kunisatuti

Eldest son Ye became Amakami after Kunitokotati, then passed the position to his brother To. In the next generation their Toyokunnu offspring alternately took the position. There were untold generations of Toyokunnu, hence the question-marks and numbers in red solid circles. Encircled numbers indicate the order of Amakami and Takamimusuhi.

Ye’s descendants Ukemoti and Sirahige gave up the position of Amakami. Ukemoti wanted to apply his talents to the development of agriculture in Kyoto and became the ancestor of Kata. Sirahige became noted for his ability in medicine in the Awa area. He is the ancestor of Sarutahiko.

Ukemoti and Sirahige turned over their heriditary Amakami positions to the To descendants, the fourth Amakami Uhitini and Suhitini (whose story we told in the Hinamatsuri posts). Then came their heirs the fifth Amakami Ootonoti and Ootomae, and the sixth pair Omotaru and Kasikone. Alas, the last couple had no children. Later, we will learn the story of how Isanami and Isanagi of the Ta lineage were chosen to become the next Amakami.


Since Ta-no-kunisatuti went to Hitakami in the east (ki), he is also called Ki-no-tokotati, founder of the east. His descendants were the Takamimusuhi of Hitakami. The fifth Takamimusuhi is the sage Tamakine Toyoke whom we have been referencing as Toyoke-sama out of our great respect for him. Four of his children are shown on the chart. His daughter Isako became known as  Isanami when she married Takahito who became Isanagi. That was when the couple became the seventh Amakami. Toyoke’s son Yasokine held the position of Takamimusuhi and he was called Kanmimusuhi. His wife was Kokori-hime and they resided in Sirayama.

Takamimusuhi’s brother Amekakami went to govern Tukusi. Amekakami’s son Ameyorotu went to administer Soasa. Ameyorotu’s son Awanaki governed Kosi and Titaru. The other son Sakunaki stayed in Soasa. Awanaki’s son Takahito became known as Isanagi. Awanaki had a daughter, Kokori-hime, who also known as Sirayama-hime. There was another son named Kurakine.


Lastly, we turn our attention to Ka-no-kunisatuti. His Toyokunnu descendants oversaw the land of Akagata in China. A later descendant was known as Ukesuteme. The chart concludes with the seventh Amakami Isanagi / Isanami. Their son became the eighth Amakami Amateru.

Imina Names

Where two names are given for an individual, the first is the imina, the name given at birth to describe the essence of this person. The second name is the one used in adulthood or a title of respect/position held by that person. There is a third type of name. A prestigious name was bestowed by Amakami to honor outstanding achievement. These three distinctions are important.

Ye Lineage: Sirahige 

The Ye brothers Sirahige and Ukemoti began their own lines of generational names in the time of the Toyokunnu. There is a person in each generation bearing these names. Their names indicate the nature of their work.

For Sirahige, Wosite explains this fine name:

si     to do, to work

ra     to radiate good energy

hi     a new and good situation is born

ke     good spirit and energy are flowing

Later, since the time when Chinese characters were fitted to the sound of words, a wrong meaning has been conveyed. The characters 白髭 are used, and they mean shirahige “white beard.” There is a shrine called Shirahige Jinja on the west side of Biwako. The deity is said to be the the kami of longevitiy, “white beard”, Sarutahiko. However, we have the chart above which shows that Sarutahiko was a Sirahige.


Sarutahiko was a great person in his own right. It’s said that he had the power of prediction and the power of medicine. He left the Sirahige house at the time of Amakami Ninikine. He studied Amenarumiti while serving Amateru-kami faithfully all his life.

Sarutahiko treated the sick, using the medicine of the family lore. He saved the life of the second baby of Ninikine. There was a child by the name of Sakuragi who was deeply grateful to Sarutahiko. When Sakuragi became an adult, he studied medicine and inherited a territory behind the senior home in Sirahige — with an herb garden! Then he helped treat Amakami’s baby (later the 12th Amakami). Sakuragi received the praise name, Sirahige.

Amateru-kami trusted Sarutahiko completely, and he presented him with three treasures (similar to his own three sacred treasures) to represent the special position of Sarutahiko. Amateru, before he died, commanded Sarutahiko to dig a hole for a tomb in the same location as Toyoke-sama’s tomb. Until the end,  only Sarutahiko was allowed inside. At the time of the farewell Amateru said, “When something happens in this country, you must represent the way of Amenarumiti.” This was Amateru’s testament to only Sarutahiko, a precious member of the Kunitokotati lineage.

Updated 2016.04.10