The Jujutsu Kaisen manga and anime have introduced us to many individual, standalone concepts that form part of the series’ lore. And while some of them were completely original, a lot have been taken from Western or Oriental folklore or mythology but adapted to fit the lore. In this article, we will examine and compare one such concept, which is actually directly based on an identical concept from Japanese folklore, i.e., it is a protrusion of the real world into the fictional world of Jujutsu Kaisen. The concept that we are about to explain is that of the Ubusunagami, a very special group of enemies that have been mentioned in the most recent episode of the anime series.
Ubusunagami, literally “Birth Deity,” is a concept from Shintoism that refers to the guardian deity of one’s birthplace. The Ubusunagami are actually the tutelary deities of birthplace and are grouped and defined as kami in Japanese folklore. In the series, they have been mentioned in relation to the death of Yu Haibara, who was implied to have been killed by a curse that was originally perceived to be a weak Ubusunagami but turned out to be a powerful curse that poor Haibara simply couldn’t handle.
The rest of this article will, naturally, expand on what we’ve told you above. We will provide a more detailed explanation of the real-life concept of Ubusunagami and how they are related to the story of Jujutsu Kaisen, especially its most recent episodes. As this article is actually going to explain a relatively important concept, we don’t think that there will be too many spoilers present, but you never know, so just watch out in case you’re not fully up-to-date with everything that is going on in the series.
The Ubusunagami are a real-world concept, but in the story, they seem to have something to do with the death of Yu Haibara
In Episode 5 of Season 2 of Jujutsu Kaisen, we see a worn-out Nanami, still a student, telling Geto about his recent mission in the morgue, where Yu Haibara’s body is located. As Nanami said, the mission was supposed to be simple, and the two of them were supposed to handle it easily, as the Ubusunagami in question was supposed to be a weak curse.
But, as it turned out, the Ubusunagami was actually a much stronger curse, and the two of them had so much trouble with it that Yu Haibara sadly died. Now, the story did not expand on the concept of the Ubusunagami further, but we at Fiction Horizon have decided to tell you and explain the concept to you at this point. Now, let us commence.
Ubusunagami, also called Ubushinanokami and Ubunokami, are kami, a collective term for deities, divinities, spirits, mythological, spiritual, or natural phenomena, or any other type of holy powers in Shintoism, that are associated with one’s birthplace. They are actually tutelary kami of a birthplace, meaning they are the guardian deities of one’s birthplace. In Shintoism, they are usually not associated with evil.
Ubusudokami, as we have said, refers to the guardian kami of the land or place in which a person was born in Shintoist folklore. It is said to be a god who protects the person from birth to death and is believed to protect them throughout their lives, even if they migrate to another place. Believing and worshipping an Ubusunagami is called Ubusubi Shinko.
Now, as we know, the bond between a Ujigami (the guardian deity of a particular place) and a parishioner is established based on blood ties, but the relationship between an Ubusunagami and its worshipper is based on a sense of fate that has its foundations in territorial ties.
Therefore, it is the city that strongly expresses this consciousness. A notable example of this is Kyoto and its history. Namely, when the cohesion of kin groups weakened, a sense of community was formed based on territorial ties, which later evolved and resulted in the establishment of many shrines, such as the Inari Shrine, Goryo Shrine, Kamo Shrine, and Kitano Shrine.
Then, the term “pilgrimage to the birthplace” came to be commonly used, and the ritual of visiting the birthplace for the first shrine visit of a newborn child, the Shichi-go-san coming-of-age ceremony, etc., became quite popular.
In Edo, Hie Sanno was considered the birth god of the Tokugawa clan, and the festival in its honor was, thus, extremely grand. Ubusugami is also related to Ubugami, the god of safe childbirth. At present, the worship of Ujigami as gods of the same family is declining throughout the country, and there is a tendency to be absorbed by new beliefs of Ubusudokami.
So, as you can see, the Ubusudokami have a very noble role in Shintoist folklore, which is why it is strange that Jujutsu Kaisen gave them such a menacing role. But, knowing how the curses in Jujutsu Kaisen are created, it actually makes some sense. We know, from Yuki’s “lesson,” that non-sorcerers are those who create curses. In that aspect, the curses are manifestations of the negative energy associated with non-sorcerers that is accumulated over time and developed into a proper curse.
Seeing that people are imperfect beings who cannot control their cursed energy and are prone to negative emotions, you can understand how and why there are so many curses in the world. This is a major element of the series’ lore.
Now, the jujutsu sorcerers are assigned missions to exorcise curses based on their skills and the grade of the curse. In this instance, Nanami and Haibara were assigned on a mission to exorcise a relatively weak Ubusudokami somewhere; no details related to this mission were ever provided to us, so we cannot really give you any precise information here, which means that we’re doing the best we can with what little information we have.
So, based on their strength, Nanami and Haibara were sent to exorcise the Ubusudokami – based on what we know, the Ubusudokami was probably corrupted by the negative emotions of its worshippers, which isn’t really that strange for the world of Jujutsu Kaisen – but as Nanami stated, it turned out that the Ubusudokami wasn’t actually a weak, lower-grade curse, but a very powerful curse that the two of them were not really ready to handle. Had the curse been properly identified in the first place, we’re almost certain that Nanami and Haibara would not have been sent on that particular mission.
And that would have been for the best. Namely, the powerful Ubusudokami was so strong that it gave Nanami a hard time, while it also managed to kill Yu Haibara; ultimately, Nanami survived but could not exorcise it, and Gojo ultimately took the mission over from them.
The young, cheerful jujutsu sorcerer and Nanami’s classmate lost his life fighting this Ubusudokami, which is why we wanted to tell you about the concept, as any curse that effectively kills a jujutsu sorcerer is definitely worth a standalone article explaining its role in the series. Sadly, we don’t have any additional details for you, but you can be assured that this is the most detailed overview of the topic you’ll find anywhere on the Internet.