Here https://www.fnn.jp/articles/286014

was the sentence


The nine men who died became "war heroes" in raising the morale of the war effort.

I found this dictionary entry

軍神 【ぐんしん; いくさがみ; ぐんじん[ok]】 (n) (1) god of war; (n) (2) war hero

How are the different readings of 軍神 used?


1 Answer 1


In modern Japanese, it's read ぐんしん most of the time.

Between ぐんしん and ぐんじん, ぐんじん may be an old variation or even a more standard way to read it a while ago, but it's mostly replaced by ぐんしん now. It doesn't help that 軍人 is also read ぐんじん.

It looks like the term means "legendary war hero [who was human before dying]" and "deity of war [who is always immortal]". I feel like in the latter sense it's more likely to be いくさがみ.

http://doi.org/10.15024/00002106 gives a summary on the old usage of "ikusagami". (I don't know if the author intentionally avoided using "gunshin" and "gunjin", though.)

The 9 individuals mentioned were named 九軍神 and there might be a customary way to read it as a proper noun. I don't know if it's きゅうぐんしん or きゅうぐんじん, but I'm pretty sure it's not きゅういくさがみ.

  • +1. I'd like to add that the borderline between "軍神 as a war hero" and "軍神 as a war deity" has been somewhat blurry in the Japanese culture. There are shrines throughout Japan that honor historical heroes as kami (eg 東照宮).
    – naruto
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 0:46

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