Waka-ush Kamuy

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Waka-ush Kamuy is the Ainu kamuy (goddess) of fresh water. She is also known as Petorush Mat (Watering-place Woman).


Waka-ush Kamuy is portrayed as a long-haired woman who is a skilled dancer and singer.[1]


In Ainu mythology, Waka-ush Kamuy is a benevolent goddess who oversees the river valleys around which Ainu communities centered and is responsible for all fresh water. She is sympathetic to humanity, and is sometimes petitioned to intercede with other kamuy on their behalf.

One such myth tells how Waka-ush Kamuy ended a famine that had broken out. Petitioned by Okikurme, the culture hero and sorcerer, she invites the kamuy of the rapids, the kamuy of fish, the kamuy of game, the goddess of the hunt Hash-Inau-uk Kamuy, and the overseer of the land Kotankor Kamuy to a feast. She dances and sings, entertaining them, and in the course of the evening brings up the humans' plight. The fish kamuy informs her that the humans were not killing fish in the proper ritual manner, so he has locked the salmon in his storehouse; the game kamuy says the same of the deer. Kotankor Kamuy is angry as well, because the humans have not made offerings to him. Waka-ush Kamuy and the sympathetic Hash-Inau-uk Kamuy, while continuing to dance, send their souls to the storehouses and let the deer and salmon loose; in order to avoid making a scene, the other kamuy had no choice but to continue the feast. Afterward, Waka-ush Kamuy sends a dream to Okikurme, telling him what had happened and why, and warning him to see that the rituals were carried out in proper fashion.[1]


  1. ^ a b Ashkenazy, Michael. Handbook of Japanese Mythology. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-Clio, 2003. 283-284
  • Ashkenazy, Michael. Handbook of Japanese Mythology. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-Clio, 2003.
  • Etter, Carl. Ainu Folklore: Traditions and Culture of the Vanishing Aborigines of Japan. Chicago: Wilcox and Follett, 1949.
  • Munro, Neil Gordon. Ainu Creed and Cult. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.