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What is Shinigami definition/concept/elaboration

Shinigami is a Japanese term referring to the gods or supernatural spirits that cause men to commit suicide.

in Japanese popular culture

In most civilizations and cultures there are beings or gods associated with death. It is worth remembering that the Fates of Roman mythology, the Moiras of Greek mythology and the norms of Norse mythology are beings who control the destiny of men and condition life and death. In Mexican culture, the character Catrina is the personification of death.

They invite death because they believe that the time has come for a person to abandon life or because they want to take over the person’s soul.

Historically, it is believed that the concept of shinigami appeared in Japanese culture in the  18th century, when Western beliefs were united with the vision of death in Japanese Shinto and Taoism.

In some accounts in Japanese literature these creatures are described as spirits of dead people who influenced the living to commit suicide. On the other hand, according to one of the most well-known popular superstitions in Japan, before going out at night on the street it is necessary to drink tea or eat a plate of rice, otherwise you may be visited by a shinigami.

In the anime world it has an important role

This type of belief has been introduced into current Japanese literature, video games and especially in anime and manga culture. In the anime world they appear with a human aspect and for this reason they are not easily identified. These gods of death are transformed into protagonist characters of anime stories.

Some of the most famous shinigami are Ryuk, Ichigo Kurosaki, Zarame and Momo. Each of them has a defined personality and a specific way of punishing humans. In Momo’s case, he presents himself with a childlike appearance , dressed in white and carrying a scythe, accompanied by a black cat named Daniel.

Sometimes these figures are directly related to suicide.

In Japan suicide rates are very high compared to other countries. For the Japanese they are a kind of demons that incite people to end their lives.

Through their powers, the shinigami take over men’s minds and provoke negative emotions that eventually lead them to commit the tragic act.

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