The near shore and far shore are terms we come across commonly in Noragami and is a common mythological term in many cultures. As fans of Noragami series, it is common knowledge that people in the near shore are usually not able to see things from the far shore. But what exactly is this near shore and far shore and how did they get their name?
What is the near shore and far shore:
According to the Japanese culture, the world of the living and the land of the dead are separated by a river. The river is assumed to be the border between life and death. When a person dies, it is assumed that they cross this river from the world of the living and make their journey to the afterlife. This is why the two worlds are referred to as shores. This describes their relationship with respect to that of the river.
The world of the living is known as the near shore whereas the world of the non-living is known as the far shore.
Now, the term non-living includes everything from spirits, Gods, Ayakashis and Shinki. The realms of Takamagahara and Yomi also fall under the Far Shore, because they are the dwelling places for the non-living. When dusk falls and the skies darken (omagatoki) the beings of the far shore come out to play blending with the darkness.
The ayakashis and other corrupted spirits from the Far-shore often prey on the weak people from the near shore. They pounce on and take possession of such people. And once they do that, the evil inside a person takes control of them. They spiral into a depressing life and end up doing unfavourable things.
The only instance when inhabitants of the near shore can see the beings from far shore are when they are in the middle of both worlds. Kids and animals are also said to have the ability to see the beings from Far Shore.
While Gods and Shinki are from the far shore, they are currently in the middle of both worlds., People’s feelings and emotions also influence the Ayakashis and even Gods that are from the far shore. Negative emotions are basically like an invitation for Ayakashis to haunt the inhabitants of the near world. The job of the Gods is to keep the interference of the phantoms to a minimum and responsible for the well being of the people on near shore!
The near shore and far shore references are also seen in the Buddhist literature. The near shore here represents the samsara, the cycle of rebirth driven by ignorance, craving, and karma; and the far shore is Nirvana, the birth less and deathless. Suffering is a term that is tied with the near shore, whereas the Far shore represents bliss and peace.