If you missed my last The Gods Of Smite article on Zhong Kui, you can find it here.

Hachiman, also known as Emperor Ojin (201-310 CE), is the deified Japanese emperor to war god, as well as presiding over archery, noble warriors, and even the samurai. He is a Shinto god with a little bit of Buddhist thrown in. He is thought to be the 15th emperor of Japan. Haciman was also known as Yahata-no-kami, which translates to “The God of the Eight Banners.” This connects the god Hachiman to the mortal Emperor Ojin. He is thought to have been born under those eight heavenly banners. Hachiman is the protector of all of Japan and its people and descendants, as well as the Imperial House.

Emperor Ojin was a popular and important emperor. He brought about a number of changes in the makeup of Japanese society. There was a cultural exchange between Japan, Korea, and China, with ideas and techniques used in those lands brought back to Japan and implemented in their way of life. He consolidated imperial power and instituted land reform. Confucianism was also brought to Japan under Emperor Ojin’s rule.

Emperor Ojin was said to be born under eight divine banners signaling his importance and eventual deification. His mother is the deified goddess, Hime Okami, who was the Empress Jingo in her mortal life. Hachiman’s spirit animal, but it is also his messenger. Doves were not only used in wartime on the battlefront but also by the elite of Japan.

Source YouTube

Not only is the dove Hachiman’s spirit animal, but it also symbolizes both the bow and arrow, which I am trying to understand. The bow and arrow are found in the banners of the samurai that associate with him. Both the Siewa Genji (a branch of the Minamoto clan, descended from Emperor Siewa) and the Kanmu Taira (a branch of the Taira clan, descended from Emperor Kanmu) honored Hachiman. From this, it became a national standard for the samurai to revere Hachiman. He holds the success and failure of a single samurai or an entire army in his hands, deciding who the victor is. He is also charged with protecting and controlling the martial arts. The Siewa Genji claim direct descent from Emperor Ojin.

Hachiman is still a popular deity today. He still has shrines that are standing, maintained, and visited today. In fact, there are more shrines to honor Hachiman than any other deity in Japan. He is also in games such as Smite and books such as The Sword of Hachiman and The Children of Hachiman. While many call him a war god, it seems more fitting to call him a god of warriors. Not sure if this is entirely out of place, but I will leave it here. A nifty thing I learned today is kamikaze means “divine wind.”

What do you think of Hachiman? Is he a god you play or want to play? What do you think of his origins? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time, have fun storming the castle!