Yamato’s Inu Inu no Mi, Model: Okuchi no Makami grants the power to transform into a hybrid and full version of the Okuchi no Makami, a legendary wolf that, according to Kaido, is a “Guardian Deity of Wano Country”. I’ve also noted that Kaido himself is also referred to as “Wano’s Guardian Deity”.
I believe we have also seen another mention of guardian deities in the Alabasta arc, where the guardian deities of Alabasta were said to be the Falcon and the Jackal. Just like the Makami, they were also represented by warriors with Zoan Devil Fruits.
I also note Skypeia as being a place where “god” is just a title for a ruler, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Sun God Nika was just another mortal who was called a god for his significance (On a side note, this talk of mortal leaders being called “gods” makes me wonder if the Celestial Dragons weren’t descendants of similar people, who due to narcissism and propaganda came to believe they were literal gods).
I think the Guardian Deity of Wano was a real person who lived in the Void Century, perhaps even part of the Kozuki clan, who was the first to use the Makami devil fruit. Like how Pell and Chaka were the greatest warriors of the Alabasta army and not actually kings, the original Guardian Deity would’ve probably just been a protector of Wano who worked alongside the Shogun. Given my talk about similar positions in other cultures linked to Void Century stuff, maybe the role of “Guardian Deity” was a common thing hundreds of years ago. Kaido is probably well aware of Wano’s significance to ancient history, as seen with his knowledge of the prophecy of Joy Boy and his claim that he’s staying in Wano because its “special”. So he reinstated this ancient institution in order to legitimize his rule over Wano, even though he would bastardize this by making himself the de-facto ruler and the Shogun just a puppet (though it’s not like Orochi was a valid shogun anyway). To gain further legitimacy he sought out the original Ooguchi no Makami fruit, although Yamato ended up eating it by accident.
I think when Kaido is defeated, Wano could gain a new Guardian Deity. And no, its not Yamato. Its going to be Luffy. Luffy will make Wano his territory (just like he swore to make Fishman Island his territory after beating Big Mom), and thus by extension will act as his protector.
I note that Hyougoro has compared Luffy’s Gear 4th form to a buddhist deity called a Myōō or Wisdom King. Hell, in the Viz english translation I believe he outright says “guardian deity”.
I also note that Momonosuke’s story ironically mirrors Orochi’s: a man whose family has been persecuted because of a failed coup seeks to claim the Shogunate of Wano, aided by a small but extremely loyal group of retainers sworn to serve his clan (including one that goes undercover as a member of their enemies), but due to being a cowardly weakling (despite having a serpentine Mythical Zoan) is forced to rely on the assistance of a powerful foreign pirate. It’s not difficult to see Luffy is the Kaido analogue here.
*Theory by Dreadnautilus