Tenjin is basically implying to gods in the heaven (amatsu kami) opposed
to gods in the earth (kunitsu kami), the word Tenjin has no connections
to any gods. However, Tenjin could be meant the spirit of Sugawara no Michizane
when he had been named the Hono Ikazuchi no Tenjin and awarded the title
of the god 'Tenma Daijizaiten', and also the faith in Tenjin could be connected
to the faith in the god of thunder, then the spirit of Michizane has been
called Tenjin in general.
Sugawara no Michizana
(845 - 903) was one of the greatest politicians in Heian period (794 -
1185), and he was also famous for his vengeful spirit.
Michizane was shuffled out to Dazaifu, the local office to be the ministry
of foreign affairs in Kyushu, by a false charge by Fujiwara no Tokihira,
so he was demoted to the chief minister of foreign affairs from the Minister
of the Right in the central government. After he died in his uncontrollably
anger, Tokihira and his political enemies had one misfortune after another.
Moreover epidemics were prevalent and natural disasters such as droughts,
floods and earthquakes happened throughout Japan. In 930, The lightning
struck on the enemies while a raining rite were being held in the Imperial
Palace in Kyoto. Then the rumors flew among the people that these disasters
had to be done by the spirit of Sugawara no Michizane.
Thousands of people who had believed the lightening could have to be the rage of Michizane, and the political enemies of Michizane in Kyoto were captured by the belief and were strongly frightened his spirit. However farmers believed him faithfully to be the god of thunder that he would bring adequate amount of water on their fields to grow crops, so Michizane has believed throughout Japan.
Since 50 years from the death of Michizane, the Imperial government had
got several revelations from his spirit. As a result, the government dedicated
him as Daijo Itokuten and Tenma Daijizaiten at Kitano in Kyoto.
In addition, Michizane is very popular as the god of scholarship because he excelled in academic scholarship.
Michizane is now one of the most popular god believed by people, especially
young people faithfully believe to pass in their examinations.
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto and Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Fukuoka are famous, Yushima Tenjin Shrine and Kameido Tenjin Shrine are famous shrines in Tokyo.
Michizane Sugawara was a scholar and a politician in early Heian period
. His father is Koreyoshi. He is called 'Kanko' and 'Kan Josho'. And he
has been believed as the god of scholar and is called Tenjinsama
. The Emperor Uta adopted him to restrain the power of the Fujiwara Family
in the court, so Michizane was promoted to a Monjo Hakase (a professor
of literature), then he was selected for a Kuroudo no to (a Head Chamberian).
Though he became a Kento Taishi (the chief commander of the envoy to Tang
Dynasty in China) in 894, Michinaga made proposal to abolish the envoy
to Tang Dynasty. When the Emperor Daigo acceded to the throne, he was promoted
to the Udaijin (the Right Minister) and he became the Sadaijin (the Left
Minister) in 901, so he competed for advancement at the court. However,
he was demoted to a Dazai Gon no Sochi (the ministry of foreign affairs
in Kyushu) by some false charges of Tokihira Fujiwara. In 903, he was dead
Michinaga Sugawara was dedicated as Daijo Itokuten and Tenma Daijizaiten
at Kitano in Kyoto and he is the god of scholarship. People call him Tenjinsama
with their faithful mind.
He edited 'Ruiju Kokushi' and 'Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku'. And his poem 'Kanke Monjo' and 'Kanke Goshu' are famous.
His tanka poem, 'Kochi fukaba niohi okoseyo ume no hana aruji nashi tote haru na wasure so' is very famous.