Kami (Japanese: 神, [kaꜜmi]) are the deities, divinities, spirits, phenomena or "holy powers", that are venerated in the Shinto religion. They can be elements of the landscape, forces of nature, or beings and the qualities that these beings express; they can also be the spirits of venerated dead people. Many kami are considered the ancient ancestors of entire clans (some ancestors became kami upon their death if they were able to embody the values and virtues of kami in life). Traditionally, great leaders like the Emperor could be or became kami.[page needed]
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In Shinto, kami are not separate from nature, but are of nature, possessing positive and negative, and good and evil characteristics. They are manifestations of musubi (結び), the interconnecting energy of the universe, and are considered exemplary of what humanity should strive towards. Kami are believed to be "hidden" from this world, and inhabit a complementary existence that mirrors our own: shinkai (神界, "the world of the kami").: 22 To be in harmony with the awe-inspiring aspects of nature is to be conscious of kannagara no michi (随神の道 or 惟神の道, "the way of the kami").