All about Kuebiko: Japanese Scarecrow God of Wisdom

The scarecrow deity, who enlightened Ōkuninushi about the parentage and nature of the dwarf kami Sukunahikona. This deity, although he is unable to walk, knows all there is to know under the heavens.

Kuyebiko may have emerged principally as a kami of the rice paddy; however, he is one of the large number of divinatory kami who assist both kami and humans in their affairs but are otherwise hidden or passive in heavenly and earthly affairs.

Kuebiko, The Japanese Scarecrow God as he protects farmer's fields
Kuebiko, The Japanese Scarecrow God as he protects farmer’s fields

kami incapable of walking but possessing broad knowledge of things in the world. According to Kojiki, a kami arrived from across the ocean at Cape Miho in Izumo, where the kami Ōkuninushi was residing.

Since no one knew the identity of the kami, Ōkuninushi accepted the advice of a toad and asked Kuebiko, who answered correctly that the kami arriving was Sukunahikona, offspring of Kamimusuhi.

With the identity of Sukunahikona thus established by Kuebiko, Ōkuninushi had a partner to help in making and developing the land.

Other names for Kuebiko is Yamada no Sohodo is interpreted to mean “someone left soaking wet from standing guard over mountain rice fields,” a euphemistic reference to a “scarecrow.” Kue means “disable,” and indicates someone physically handicapped but endowed with wisdom.

Stories about Kuebiko

Basil Hall Chamberlain. The Kojiki.

So when Ōkuninushi [the Deity Master-of-the-Great-Land] dwelt at the august cape of Miho in Idzumo, there came riding on the crest of the waves in a boat of heavenly Kagami a Deity dressed in skins of geese flayed with a complete flaying, who, when asked his name, replied not; moreover the Deities who accompanied him, though asked, all said that they knew not.

Then the toad spoke, saying:

“As for this, Kuyebiko [the Crumbling Prince] will surely know it.”

Thereupon Ōkuninushi summoned and asked Kuyebiko, who replied saying:

“This is Sukunahikona [the Little-Prince-the-Renowned-Deity] the august child of Kamimusuhi [the Deity-Producing-Wondrous-Deity].” 

So on their then respectfully informing His Augustness the Deity-Producing-Wondrous-August-Ancestor, he replied, saying:

“This is truly my child. He among my children is the child who dipped between the fork of my hand. So do he and thou become brethren, and make and consolidate this land.” 

So from that time forward the two Deities Ōkuninushi and the Sukunahikona made and consolidated this land conjointly. But afterwards Sukunahikona crossed over to the Eternal Land. So [the Deity here] called the Kuyebiko, who revealed the [identity of] Sukunahikona, is what is now the scarecrow in the mountain fields. This Deity, though his legs do not walk, is a Deity who knows everything in the Empire.

Other Japanese mythological deities

Konohanasakuya-hime: Tale of Japanese Goddess of Mount Fuji

Minamoto no Yorimitsu or Raiko: Legendary Demon Slayer

Atlas Mythica
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