Yaboku was a minor God who was born out of a strong wish made by his Father. The latter wanted to use him to perform a cull of humanity and cause problems to the heavens. He was given the nora Hiiro for a Shinki with whom he used to play.
As a child, Yato had no manners and the only thing he knew was to take lives and collect human ears as trophies. However, things take a turn when Sakura, a short-lived spirit, come’s into Yato’s life.
Who is Sakura?
Sakura was originally Tenjin-sama’s shinki before being dismissed by him in a fit of anger. After being excommunicated, she came across Yaboku and implored him to give her a name, since she was “new at this far-shore world”. Though hesitant at first, Yato eventually agrees to name her.
As Yato’s shinki, her name is Sakura (桜, the kanji is placed on the back of her neck) and her vessel name is Ou. When her weapon name Ouki (桜器) is called she takes the form of a Koshigatana (Japanese straight thin ritual dagger which is used to perform harakiri or seppuku).
In fact, Sakura was Yato’s first very own Shinki. She was also the one who gave Yaboku the name Yato. This happens when she misread the kanji of his name. The name “Yato” is a relic of the past. But Sakura would not just change Yato’s name but also change the way he thought.
Little Yatogami knew nothing about how the world worked. He was also indifferent about his role as a God. Deprived of any soft and warm emotions since childhood, Sakura’s kindness made Yato change his “divine nature”.
She had a strong sense of morality and a great appreciation for nature. When Yato took her to “play”, Sakura was terrified by her God’s behavior. She abandoned the young God, as it was a very ungodly act from her perspective.
After meeting with Tsuyu, she resolves to teach Yato about right and wrong. She chastised Yato after witnessing him stealing food and encouraged him to play with human children. And she was also the one, who introduced Yato to the concept of a Shrine. But, like nature’s spring blossoms, Sakura didn’t last long.
How did Sakura die?
Sakura, as a shinki, died (or was killed) when she violated God’s Greatest Secret at the hands of Yatogami. Little Yato was too young to comprehend how important a Shinki was to a God. He didn’t know why he had to see Sakura’s horrifying memories. He had no idea how to treat them and how to care for them.
Sakura was an innocent soul and never meant harm to anyone. Even when she was left for three days in the spring water in her instrument form by Yato, she didn’t give up on him and promised to protect him at all cost.
But, it all ended when Hiiro provoked her to pry into her past. She made Sakura question how her previous life had been. Her curiosity towards it began to pique and unveil the “God’s Greatest Secret” by wanting to know her real name.
Yato did not realise why it was a bad thing for a shinki to be inquisitive about their past life. Even though his instincts screamed at him to not reveal anything; a confused Yato was misled by Hiiro. He revealed Sakura’s true name as Tamanone. But this turned her into an ayakashi begging for justice. She eventually had to be killed!
In fact, this was actually a plan concocted by Father so that he could keep Yato under his control. He had seen the subtle changes that Sakura had brought about in Yato. The little deity was no longer happy to go play and kill humans randomly as he used to before.
Once he realises that Sakura was responsible for this change in Yaboku, Father devises a plan to take her out. He used an unsuspecting Hiiro to make Sakura violate the God’s greatest secret.
Father continues to carry out such evil plans in the future too, when he realises that Yato is being taken away from him. Look no further than Fujisaki kissing Hiyori, to know till what extent he can go to manipulate people and achieve his goals!
Sakura’s life as a human:
As a human, Sakura was a part of a noble family who was kidnapped and murdered by some bandits along with her mother before being tortured as their “plaything”. When she comes to know of this truth about her past, she is not able to control her emotions and begs Yato for justice.
Her resentment towards them turned her into an ayakashi, blighting Yato to the point that he could barely stand, and so he had no choice but to let her go and slay her.
Yato was crushed when Sakura had to die at his hands. He was very close to turning over a new leaf, but Father took her away and Yato had to learn the hard way what death means to a God.
He was never really able to forget about her. And he holds her very dear in his heart. For this reason, Yato uses the suffix “ne” from “Tamanone” for his Shinki names as a painful reminder of his past mistake.
What are your thoughts on Sakura? Were you pained when Yato was forced to kill her? Would she still have been with Yato, if she were alive? Let us know your opinions in the comments section!