Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kami (Dragon Ball)
Kami (Japanese for "god") is the name given to the individual fictional protectors of planets in the Dragon Ball universe. In the mythology of the series, the Kamis have an indirect reporting relationship to one of Kai˘s. (In the case of the Kami of Earth, this is to North Kai˘, however there are three other low-level Kai˘s in our galaxy.) They have many of the powers associated with gods including the ability to see and sense events around the world, to travel to and guide souls to the afterlife, and to be a general protector of the people. They also are long lived, though not immortal. Unlike more traditional gods, the role of Kami is an office which can be vacated and subsequently refilled by a mortal.
Kami on Earth
Throughout most of the series, the character known as Kami on earth is a Namekian who no longer even remembers his real name. He became Kami after separating the evil out of himself, forming the "demon" Piccolo. He watches over the Earth from a Sanctuary high above Korin Tower. When he wants to come down to the people, he appears to do so by temporarily taking control of someone's body. Because he is a Namekian, he also has the ability to create dragonballs, but this is not a skill that most Kamis have.
After Kami re-fuses with Piccolo in the Cell Saga, the post of Kami on Earth is left vacant for some time. Son Goku goes to New Namek and brings back Dende to serve as the planet's new Kami. This demonstrates the amount of influence Goku has by that latter point in the series-- that he is able to pick and install, without question, a new god in the heavenly bureaucracy.
Despite being essentially a god, the person who acts as Kami is not necessarily supremely powerful. By the midpoint of Dragon Ball Z, all of the main Z Fighters and their enemies are more powerful than Kami and his role becomes more of a support one.
Kami on Namek
The identity of the Kami of Planet Namek is never directly stated. Many fans believe (with evidence both for and to the contrary) that the Kami of Namek is the Great Elder (Guru). Like Kami of Earth, he watches over his people and created the dragonballs for them.
The original Great Elder of Namek is never named. However, after his death in the Freeza Saga, the Namek elder Muri is given the position and control of the dragonballs. (In fact, as soon as he is given the position, the dragonballs recharge immediately instead of waiting one Namekian year.)
It is indicated in the series that Namek is not governed by North Kai˘, but it is not specified which of the other three are responsible for its governance.
Kami on Planet Vegeta
Prior the destruction of Planet Vegeta, it is mentioned (by North Kai˘-- someone in a position of authority to know) that the planet of the Saiyans did have a Kami. Before it was known that Freeza was directly responsible for the destruction of the planet, it was believed that its own Kami, seeing the arrogance and evil of the planet's citizens, destroyed the world himself via a meteor storm. As it would be too great a stretch to believe that Freeza was Vegeta's Kami, some fans rationalize this disparity by suggesting that while he did not destroy the planet itself, he may merely have been guilty of standing by and allowing it to happen-- though it is unlikely he could have prevented it, had he so desired. Other fans contend however that this was just a cover story to prevent Son Goku from seeking out Freeza in revenge.
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