KAMI


06/05/2007
Guy Renan


By: Guy Renan

In Japan, Kami is regarded as a type of force that exists in nature. Sometimes it can take form, and be conceived as a real entity. But in essence Kami is not really defined and is without form.

The word god is not a suitable translation of Kami, but in Hebrew, as well as in English, there is no exact word for Kami, therefore, in many places Kami is translated as a god. It is said that Japan has eight million Kami; this is to say that Kami can be found in many places and phenomena. Certain places, objects or natural occurrences that have a certain presence or relay a certain feeling, can be Kami.

At times, Kami can exist even in animals and humans. Often people with special powers become Kami when they die. Some of the founders of different schools of martial arts in Japan are considered Kami. Kami is always related to nature, it is the epiphany of nature. The movie “Princess Mononoke” describes extremely well some of the concepts of Kami. One can get a better understanding from observing this film.

Kami is neither good nor evil, it has nothing to do with ethics, and it just is what it is. It can be beneficial and also harmful. The relationship between Kami and man depends on man’s conception and behavior. However, it does not require human attention in order to be, it exists even where there are no living beings. It may actually be much stronger in places where man is not prevalent.

As well as some of the veterans in AKBAN I envisage Kami as a sort of presence or power in certain places in nature. In Israel there are many places where you can feel it, especially in the barren relatively empty south of the country. When arriving in a place and feeling something different, something not sensed before, when seeing something or standing somewhere that arises certain feelings, these are signs of Kami. Some places create a certain atmosphere or feeling, while other places create a different feeling altogether. One must be very sensitive since our culture, the way we live our daily lives, have numbed our abilities to feel.

We’re not speaking of a being, but about nature that usually affect us in gentle and subtle ways, and sometimes in bursts of power. This power is always present, even when we do not sense it.