Kami are revered spirits in Silverstari culture, and are usually seen as deities (though not necessarily omnipotent or omniscient). Silverstari began to worship them after settling on the main continent, and it's through the kami that elemental shugenja are given their powers.
Kami is the Japanese word for the spirits within objects in the Shinto faith. Although the word is sometimes translated as "god" or "deity," some Shinto scholars argue that such a translation can cause a serious misunderstanding of the term (Ono, 1962). In some instances, such as Izanagi and Izanami, kami are personified deities, similar to the gods of ancient Greece or Rome. In other cases, such as those concerning the phenomenon of growth and natural objects, the spirits dwelling in trees, or forces of nature, translating "kami" exclusively as "god" or "deity" would be a gross mischaracterization.
Some of the objects or phenomena designated as kami are qualities of growth, fertility, and production; natural phenomena like wind and thunder; natural objects like the sun, mountains, rivers, trees, and rocks; some animals; and ancestral spirits. Included within the designation of ancestral spirits are spirits of the ancestors of the Imperial House of Japan, but also ancestors of noble families as well as the spirits of the ancestors of common people.
There are other spirits designated as kami as well. For example, the guardian spirits of the land, occupations, and skills; spirits of Japanese heroes, men of outstanding deeds or virtues, and those who have contributed to civilization, culture and human welfare; those who have died for the state or the community; and the pitiable dead. Not only spirits superior to man can be considered kami, but also spirits that are considered pitiable or weak have been considered kami in Shinto.
In the ancient animistic religions, kami were understood as simply the divine forces of nature. Worshippers in ancient Japan revered creations of nature which exhibited a particular beauty and power such as waterfalls, mountains, boulders, animals, trees, grasses and even rice paddies. They strongly believed the spirits or resident kami deserved respect.
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