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in the Shinto religion of Japan, the tutelary deity of a village or geographic area. The meaning of ujigami has undergone considerable evolution over the centuries, mainly because of the historical migrations of clan communities in Japan. Originally the term referred to the ancestral deity (kami) of a family or clan (uji), blood kinship forming the basis of the spiritual relationship. The extent of the ujigami's protection was later enlarged to cover those who lived with the clan or near it and since has extended over the parish into which one is born. Ujiko are those who live within or were born within the geographic boundaries of the tutelary deity and who help manage the shrine affairs.