Jingu, Empress

Jingu is a legendary Japanese empress now venerated as a kami. There are varying versions of her life; little documentation exists regarding this era in history. Empress Jingu lived sometime between the second and fourth centuries CE. In all versions of her myth, she is a warrior queen with tremendous shamanic power, described as being divinely possessed.

She may have been the consort of an Emperor of Japan. When she advised him that the kami desired him to invade Korea, he scoffed, telling her he had more crucial affairs to take care of at home. He died shortly after, which Jingu interpreted as a sign from the spirits. She seized the reigns of power and led the invasion herself.

Alternatively, Empress Jingu is identified as Himiko, Japan’s Shaman Queen. According to Chinese documents, Empress Himiko ruled over more than thirty states from approximately 180 to 248 CE, unifying a large part of what is now modern Japan. Himiko was a warrior and a shaman in constant communication with the spirits. She never married; her brother helped her rule.

Empress Jingu may be the spirit who inspired beautiful Hina Daruma dolls, which may be used to represent her on an altar. Hina Daruma dolls are constructed similarly to Daruma tumbler dolls and are believed to provide good fortune for all, especially children. Stroking the doll activates it and enables you to receive its blessings. Hina Daruma is typically accompanied by a handsome prince doll. (They are often but not always sold in pairs.) Depending on the version of her myth, this male doll may be her son, brother or consort.

Empress Jingu has dominion over divination. She is considered a Koyasuga, a spirit who protects pregnancy, childbirth and children. She may be petitioned for fertility. She may be petitioned for virtually anything. Petition Empress Jingu for victory, whether in love, business, war or life in general. She provides abundance and good luck to devotees. She remains an active shaman in the afterlife and will communicate with and sponsor spirit mediums.






She is sometimes described as wearing red armor although she presumably has an extensive wardrobe.


Hina Daruma dolls may represent Empress Jingu. Hina Daruma dolls are beautiful princess tumbler dolls created in the style of traditional Daruma tumblers. Many are extremely ornate; fit for a princess. The ritual of painting in eyes is not done with Hina Daruma.


Empress Jingu is enshrined throughout Japan especially at Kei no Myojin and Awashima.


Mirrors; dolls; shiny pretty things; she was a queen and expects luxuries or at least fine quality; replicas of female breasts are traditional when requesting assistance with pregnancy or childbirth; traditional Japanese images are sold in shrines; milagros in the form of breasts may be acceptable, too.



Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.