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Before the massacre at Reito, every sentient race on Kamigawa had a patron kami (Japanese: (しゅ) () (しん) ; rōmaji: shugoshin) - a great spirit that represented the collective consciousness of the entire species. These patron kami were honored and prayed to for their guidance. Eight-and-a-Half-Tails himself was believed to have had audiences with the patron kami of the kitsune.

The schism between the kakuriyo and utsushiyo during the Kami War was not as clear and simple as believed. Throughout during the struggle, there were always those whose faith in the kami lingered, who thought that the way to appease the god was not to fight them but to revere them even more.

For this reason, the races of Kamigawa were terrified to see their furious patrons' colossal forms, and most treated them as monsters. But a few decided that the way to peace was to appease the monstrous kami. Independently, among each tribe, arose small groups that offered living sacrifices to the raging patrons. These sacrifices kept the patrons pacified - for a time.[1]

The five patron kami are as follows:

During the original storyline, Mochi took the role of patron of the Moonfolk, rather inexplicably given the above patron of the Moon. Similarly, after the war the Orochi appealed to the Kirin to become their new patrons, but they refused.[3]