Certain ancient imperial lines, such as the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt or the Emperors of China and Japan, traced their lineage to a deity, and so were worshipped as gods within their own lifetimes. A number of people, monarchs or otherwise, were deified posthumously. Several people have proclaimed themselves deities, with mixed results in society.
Not every deified person has a large following. For example, George Washington remains generally well-regarded in the United States of America, with fanciful legends being attached to his biography, and his image being used in art akin to religious iconography. However, some Japanese-American Shintoists in Hawaii worship Washington as a kami, though this belief has not been adopted by Shinto outside of Hawaii.
For purposes of this category, deification should not be used interchangeably with "cult of personality". Several authoritarian leaders have created a substantial cult of personality that closely resembled religious faith. For some communist leaders, such as Vladimir Lenin, Mao Tse-Tung, and Kim Il-sung, the cult continued on after their respective deaths, and resembled deification. As communist states are also legally atheist states, it is semantically incorrect to call this "deification", though this may be a distinction without a difference.
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