Makami (真神)

Makami is deification of a Japanese wolf which is now extinct. It is also called oguchimagami.

Makami has traditionally been worshipped as a sacred beast. Having eaten many people, an old wolf living in Makaminohara of Asuka area in Yamato Province (present-day Nara Prefecture) was deified for its ferocity and worshipped as a guardian deity who would protect crops against wild boars and deer.

Makami was worshipped as a deity who would understand human words, know the nature of each human being, protecting the good and punish the wicked. Makami was regarded as having a strong power to protect people against evil, particularly against such hardships as caused by fire and robbery, and its figure was drawn on Emas (votive horse tablet) and the like. As times passed, however, and human beings expanded their sphere of life into mountainous regions, the concept of wolves attacking domestic animals spread. And it is said that the sacredness of makami fell into decline as the number of wolves decreased.