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Noragami: Is Yato Really Tsukuyomi? Part 3

Yato in Noragami

In this part of the theory, we will try to put forth all the foreshadowing that has been done in the manga/anime which could point to Yato being Tsukuyomi, the moon God. You can read the previous two parts of this series by clicking the links below:

1) Is Yato Really Tsukuyomi – Part 1
2) Is Yato Really Tsukuyomi – Part 2

The following list has been compiled by going through the source material and also by taking references from various theories that fans have written online regarding Yato’s real identity. Links to original sources have been provided wherever necessary! Please go through the blog and let us know your opinions in the comments section.

Also, do not forget to share this blog with fellow Noragami fans if you loved it!

The name of the series:

The title of the series is Noragami which translates into Stray God. At first glance, it seems natural that a series about a God without a shrine would be named so. However, we think that the title Noragami is a subtle play of words. Tsukuyomi is a god who is banished from the heavens by Amaterasu for killing Uke Mochi. So technically speaking Tsukuyomi was cast away from his home and now is a stray. If Yato really is Tsukuyomi then he can’t even go to one of his own shrines as he has no memory of his previous self. 

If that’s the case,then Adachitoka have brilliantly hidden the biggest clue for Yato being Tsukuyomi in the title of the series itself. 

Moon symbolism throughout the series:

Yato has often been bundled with the moon a lot of times in the manga. Could this be another reference to his real identity being Tsukuyomi? Allow us to point out some of the prominent ones.

In Chapter 37, the panels just after Yato is rescued from Yomi show the moon very clearly. In the last panel of this chapter, Father praises both Mizuchi and Yato, saying they’re both good kids. But instead of Yato, guess who is there in the panel, gleaming at the top left corner? The moon!! 

Father praises Mizuchi, Noragami Chapter 37
Yato is being praised here?

Symbolism? Ofcourse!

Now consider the following scene from Chapter 73 of Noragami manga.

In this scene Yukine is talking about the dream he had, about his father. He tells Yato that if he looked harder, Yato was there. Many have considered this a proof for the fact that Yukine sees Yato as his father. That might be a wee bit off though. Sure, Yukine sees Yato as someone very close to him (a friend maybe), but its not as a father (a guardian is close as Yato gets)

If that’s the case then how was Yukine able to envision Yato in his dream/nightmare? Let’s check out the nightmare scene that Yukine had in Chapter 70 when he was imprisoned by Amaterasu.

Yato as the moon in Yukine's dream
Just besides Yukine’s dad’s head, the moon (symbolising Yato) is visible

If you look harder, what do you see? The moon ofcourse. It’s there both in Chapter 73 and Chapter 70. So is this what he meant when Yukine said if he tried harder, he could see Yato?

Here is another moon symbolism from the manga. We actually found took it from this reddit post!

Yato and moon symbolism

This is probably from one of the earlier chapters (not sure)

You might be wondering, why this moon symbolism is important. If we go back to chapter 37, Amaterasu is shown with the sun in the background.

Amaterasu introduced in Noragami chapter 37

Since she wasn’t formally introduced as Amaterasu till chapter 69-70, this was Adachitoka’s way of letting the readers (who paid attention to all the small details) know her true identity. So going by that explanation, the moon symbolisms could be her way of letting us know that Yato is really Tsukuyomi. After all Yato & Amaterasu are siblings, so a similar foreshadowing style won’t hurt now, would it?

Yato’s character song is listed as Tsukiyo no Fune A (reference Noragami fandom), which translates to ‘A boat in moonlight’. Moon Symbolism ? You bet!! 

Yato and Fate:

As tumblr user Ijouno points out, Tsukuyomi is a God who is in charge of overseeing the fate of humans. In chapter 58 of Noragami manga, there is a whole sequence where Yato is seen playing around with the ties (or fate) of people (Hiyori specifically) and Takemizukachi reprimands him for being careless and trampling these ties. While this sequence was mainly meant to further the Yato and Hiyori ship, it could also subtly point to the fact that Yato is Tsukuyomi (too far fetched? Maybe!).

Also, Yato is one of the Gods who has the ability to cut down ties between people. We have seen Yato do this at least thrice in the series, first to sever Yusuke’s ties with Kofuku (Noragami anime episode 4) and then in Chapter 43 of the manga where Tenjin asks him to sever bonds of the old woman with the watch. He also severs the bond between Daikoku (Kofuku’s shinki) and his adopted son Daigo.

“But, you see, Yato-kun… this is something only you can do” – Tenjin 

It is quite strange for a minor God to be in possession of such a dangerous ability. According to Ijouno in her post;

It’s strange that a minor god with no name nor shrine could have that sort of power. Bonds can change lifetimes and influence people’s choices, just like how the bond between Kofuku and poor Yusuke led the latter to suicide. Bonds affect fates… Tsukuyomi was the one overseeing the fates of humans, which might have been the focal point of Father’s interest in taking the Moon God.

Yato, flowers & reincarnation!

In this post, tumblr user noragamitexts points out an interesting relation between Yato and a peculiar red flower that seems to follow him everywhere in the Noragami series. 

These flowers are Lycoris Radiata. Originally from  China, Korea, and Nepal, it was introduced into Japan.  These scarlet flowers usually bloom near cemeteries around the autumnal equinox, they are described in Chinese and Japanese translations of the Lotus Sutra as ominous flowers that grow in Hell, (Chinese: 黃泉), and guide the dead into the next reincarnation.

Tumblr: Image

Quoting noragamitexts;

What makes this flower so interesting is that it is primarily believed to guide the dead to their next reincarnation. But why is it primarily always seen where Yato and Hiiro are concerned, a God who is believed to have never reincarnated before, and a regalia who supposedly poses no memory?

That isn’t all. This flower can also signify abandonment, lost memory, and the principle of never meeting someone again. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

That’s a nice parallel to be pointed out. This connection could sort of confirm that Yato has been reincarnated and has lost his memory. But then Lycoris, which is also known as red spider lily or corpse flowers are also simply associated with death. Meaning Yato could actually just be a minor God of Calamity. So what do you think these flowers depict? Is Yato really Tsukuyomi, or are we reading too much into it?

Another interesting fact? These red spider lilies were also majorly depicted in the anime Tokyo Ghoul, in conjecture with the series’ protagonist Ken Kaneki. And guess what? Kaneki had multiple personality disorders and later suffered a bout of amnesia, meaning he forgot who he really was. Sound familiar?

Now you go figure!

Yato, Tsukuyomi & the ‘Iki’ clan!

This is probably one of the easter eggs which significantly increases the chances of Yato being Tsukuyomi. The first person to give Yato a shrine in the Noragami is Hiyori Iki. According to ancient Japanese records, Tsukuyomi’s first ever shrine was built by the members of the Iki clan, a clan known as the “tortoise fortune-tellers.” 

Hiyori gives Yato a shrine

According to “Kenzo tenno ki” of Chapter 15 of “Nihon Shoki,” a god of the moon who claimed Takamimusubi as his (or her) ancestor possessed a man and said, ‘Worship my god of the moon, then you will have pleasures,’ and the people, having heard the words, erected a shrine in Kadono no kori in Yamashiro Province and had Oshiminosukune (the ancestor of Agatanonushi of Iki) serve it.

Also, Iki City in Nagasaki is the first city to have a Tsukuyomi Shrine.

It was Tsukuyomi’s role to oversee these tortoise divination sessions carried out by the members of the Iki clan.Tortoise shell divination is carried out by submitting questions for which you seek answers by carving them on the tortoise shells. These tortoise shells are then subject to intense heat (thrown into fires, during the divination process in ancient Japan), which made their shells crack. The fortune tellers would then interpret the shape of the crack for prophesying the future events. 

Now consider this small but very vital connection that undergroundsky made in this post!

Tortoise divination is written as 亀卜(kiboku), Yato’s “real” name that “father” gave him is 夜卜(Yaboku). The origin behind the 卜 radical is rather interesting, because it was a part of the shape of the crack that manifested when an empty turtle shell was thrown into a fire and later retrieved.

Going by these facts, it seems quite certain that Yato is indeed Tsukuyomi. No wonder the Noragami fandom once held this theory in high regards! But the interest has kind of died down these days.

Yato’s affinity for water:

Yato is shown to have strong affinity to water through Nora (Hiiro).Her attacks were generally cuts of water. In chapter 46, when Hiiro first turned into Yato’s weapon, Father was surprised to see that the blade was watery, saying it was exactly what Yato needed. 

Father surprised at Yato's water affinity in Noragami
Father surprised at Tachi sword

Tsukuyomi is another God who is shown to have affinity to water. In the poems of Manyoshu, Tsukuyomi is described as the ruler of ‘Ochimizu’ (the water that turns old people young again). It is similar to ‘Sudemizu’ in Okinawa, where the myth about ‘the moon and immortality’ is widely accepted (click to view source).

Yato and Ebisu’s bonding:

Now this one’s kind of a forced connection that we are trying to make. If Yato really is Tsukuyomi, it would mean that Ebisu is his elder brother (both are children of Izanagi). Since they both met in Yomi (underworld), the bond between the two has gotten stronger. Yato cares for Chibi Ebi like an elder brother. So can this also be considered as something that foreshadows Yato’s true identity?

Are we missing out any points from the anime/manga of Noragami which could further strengthen the theory that Yato is Tsukuyomi, the Moon God? If so, let us know in the comments section!

While there is lot of evidence that points to Yato’s real identity being Tsukuyomi the moon God, there are also some minor loopholes in this theory. In the next part of this series, we shall be covering them! Stay tuned!

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2 thoughts on “Noragami: Is Yato Really Tsukuyomi? Part 3”

  1. I got some questions for you:

    -where is izanagi in this story? Or why amaterasu got highlighted more than prime god izanagi and izanami?

    – it is interesting this story and japanese myth associate sun with feminine although generally sun associated with masculine side

    Reply
    • Well, there is a theory that says Izanagi is Yato’s dad. He was the only person who was able to return from Yomi alive (apart from the ones we see in the series obv.)

      Reply

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