Tentei (天帝) is the creator god of the Twelve Kingdoms, who is also often referred to as the "Emperor of the Heavens". It is said that Tentei selects the next ruler of each country through the kirin. Married couples also pray to Tentei when they want a ranka. The story of the Emperor of Heaven creating The Twelve Kingdoms is called "Shinki".

In the Sea of Shadows, Rakushun tells Youko that a long time ago the Emperor of Heaven conquered the Nine Provinces and the Four Tribes. He took the world and wrapped it in an egg, leaving five gods and twelve men outside. In the middle of that egg he created the Five Mountains, appointed the Dowager of the West as ruler over all, turned the lands surrounding the Five Mountains into the Yellow Sea, and sent the five gods to be the Dragon Kings of the Five Seas. The Emperor of Heaven gave a branch to each of the twelve men. A snake was coiled around each branch, and each branch bore three golden fruit. The men bowed to the snakes (who symbolize the Great Ropes) and sent them down into the world, and then they cast the fruit into the air. Where the fruit landed they became the land (symbolizing the households given to the people by the kingdom), the kingdoms (symbolizing the law), and the thrones (symbolizing the ministers). The empty branches became brushes (symbolizing history).

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