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Maeda Toshiie (前田利家)
Jan. 15, 1539 - April 27, 1599

Maeda Toshiie was born the fourth son of Maeda Toshimasa in Owari Province. He served Oda Nobunaga beginning in 1551 at the age of 13. When his father died in 1560, his oldest brother Toshihisa succeeded as head of the Maeda Clan, but in 1569 Toshiie suddenly became clan head by Nobunaga's decree.

After Nobunaga's death at Honnou Temple, Toshiie battled Toyotomi Hideyoshi under Shibata Katsuie but was defeated at the Battle of Shizugatake. Thereafter he served Hideyoshi and became one of his greatest generals, eventually being named by Hideyoshi to the Council of Five to protect and guide Hideyoshi's son Toyotomi Hideyori. However, Toshiie died of illness a year after Hideyoshi.

Maenduka (魔縁塚)

Also called "Kasouduka" or "cremation mound" (火葬塚), this is the burial shrine of Takeda Shingen in Iwakubo, Koufu in Yamanashi Prefecture.

Mahavairocana Sutra

Also known as: Dainichi-kyo

An important Buddhist sutra used in esoteric schools of Buddhism, especially the Shingon sect. This sutra is unusual in that it did not originate from Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, but was said to have passed straight from Mahavairocana Buddha. It was brought to Japan by Kuukai.

In this sutra, Mahavairocana translates his teachings into ritual forms which form the basis of the rituals in the Shingon School.

Maitreya dharani

An Esoteric mantra calling on the Maitreya, a future Buddha, from the Taishō Tripiṭaka. Transliterated from Sanskrit as:

Namo ratna-trayaya, nama aryavalokitesvaraya bodhi-sattvaya mahasatvaya mahakarunikaya tad-yatha,
om, maitre maitre maitra-manasi maitra-sambhave maitra-udbhave mahasamaye svaha

In Japanese:


Transliterated from Japanese:

Naubou aratannau torayaya naumaku ariya barokitei jinbaraya boujisatobaya makasatobaya makakyaronikaya tanyata
On maitarei maitarei maitara manausen maitara sanbanbei maitaro dobanbei akasanmaya sowaka

The first verse is similar to the Dharani of Great Compassion:

"Hail to the Three Jewels! Hail to the noble Avalokiteśvara! Mahasattva. Great Compassionate One!"

The second verse is a devotion to Maitreya, whose name is from the Sanskrit word maitrī, "loving-kindness".

Majutsu (魔術)

Lit. "black magic", "sorcery": the magic of the Mazoku, which is primarily used in combat.

Manaduru-hantou (真鶴半島)

Manaduru Peninsula is a small peninsula located in Kanagawa Prefecture. At its tip is a well-known scenic spot, the Mitsu-ishi (Three Rocks). The stretch of ocean from the tip of Manaduru Peninsula to the tip of Miura Peninsula is Sagami Bay.


A term which comes from the Sanskrit "circle" or "completion" used to refer to any metaphysical or symbolic representation of the cosmos from the human perspective. Mandalas are used for focusing attention and as an aid to meditation.

Mangan-shounin (万巻上人)

Legend has it Holy Priest was an ascetic monk who lived during the Nara Period. His names means "ten thousand scrolls", signifying his vow to read a sutra every day until he had read ten thousand volumes. He is said to be the founder of Hakone Shrine as well as the one who reformed the evil nine-headed dragon of Lake Ashi.

Mankai-shounin (万海上人)

Holy Priest Mankai was a one-eyed mountain ascetic who built a temple in Mutsu-no-Kuni, Miyagi-gun. Legend has it that Date Masamune, as he approached death and while deciding upon the place where he would be laid to rest, vividly recalled that he was the reincarnation of this man.

Maou (魔王)

Lit.: "demon king", the king of the Mazoku. The position is neither elected nor inherited, but filled by choice of the Shinou, the first Maou.

Marunouchi (丸の内)

Marunouchi, located in Tokyo between Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace, is a commercial district and a financial center of Japan. Its name, 'within the circle,' derives from its location within the palace's outer moat.


Lit.: "Pine River"; a tributary of the Jinzuu River in Toyama Prefecture which separates from the main river near Nunose Town. A line of pine trees once stood along its banks; sakura (cherry) trees have now replaced them. Many of the surrounding areas have "sakura" in their name, such as Sakura Bridge Avenue, Sakura Town, New Sakura Town and Sakura Tree Town.

Matsubara-jinja (松原神社)

Also known as: Odawara Shouchinju (小田原総鎮守)

A shrine dedicated to the Shinto deities Yamatotakeru-no-Mikoto, Susanoo-no-Mikoto, and Ukanomitama-no-Kami, Matsubara Shrine prospered during the Sengoku under the protection of the Houjou Clan. It was called formerly Odawara Shouchinju, or "Shrine of the Odawara Tutelary Gods" and renamed Matsubara Shrine during the Meiji Period when Buddhism and Shintoism were separated by law.

Matsuda Hideharu (松田秀治)

Matsuda Hideharu (or possibly Naohide (直秀)—opinions differ) was the second son of Matsuda Norihide. He served Houjou Ujinao and reported the betrayal of his father and older brother during the Siege of Odawara. He followed Ujinao to exile on Mt. Kouya after the fall of the Houjou; after Ujinao's death, he served the Kaga-Maeda Clan.

Matsuda Katsuhide (松田勝秀)

Matsuda Katsuhide, who was distantly related to Matsuda Norihide, was selected by Ujiyasu along with his older twin brother Matsuda Takahide to be part of Ujimasa's personal unit of samurai. When Ujimasa later removed Takahide from his inner circle and reduced his territory, Takahide and Katsuhide turned to the Satomi Clan along with their followers.

In Mirage of Blaze: Katsuhide later becomes kanshousha along with his brother. He duels with Ujiteru at Oowaku Valley and is defeated; his soul is destroyed by the Houjou spirit-lion.

Matsuda Norihide (松田憲秀)
1530? - July 17, 1590

Matsuda Norihide was eldest son and heir to Matsuda Morihide and the chief vassal with the highest position in the Houjou Clan.

The Matsuda Clan, which had successively served the Houjou Clan since the time of Houjou Souun, held a vast fief of 2798-kan under the Houjou. Norihide's mother was Houjou Tsunashige's younger sister. He served Ujiyasu as a shrewd internal administrator and also fought in several of his battles, including the invasion of Suruga and the Battle of Kounodai against the Satomi Clan.

After Ujiyasu's death Norihide served Ujimasa, and in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Siege of Odawara took the side of those in favor of resistance to the bitter end. However, he and his eldest son Kasahara Masataka were persuaded by Hori Hidemasa to switch sides, a fact discovered by his second son Matsuda Hideharu and reported to the Houjou. Houjou Ujinao placed Norihide under confinement and forced Masataka to commit suicide. It is said that this is the incident that resulted in the Houjou's surrender.

Hideyoshi, in condemnation of Norihide's disloyalty, had him commit ritual suicide. Hideharu followed Ujinao to Mt. Kouya and after his death served the Maeda Clan.

Matsuda Takahide (松田隆秀)

Matsuda Takahide, who was distantly related to Matsuda Norihide, was selected by Ujiyasu along with his younger twin brother Matsuda Katsuhide to be part of Ujimasa's personal unit of samurai. Takahide became one of Ujimasa's most trusted vassals, but his arrogance and belligerence caused strife and discontent within the clan, which led to Ujimasa finally removing him from the group of vassals directly serving him and greatly reducing his territory.

Enraged, Takahide and Katsuhide turned to the Satomi Clan along with their followers, though not before seeking their revenge on Ujimasa by gang-raping Saburou.

The Matsuda brothers received a tepid welcome from the Satomi. Takahide later induced Matsuda Norihide to betray the Houjou to Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the Siege of Odawara in order to curry favor with Hideyoshi, but the plan backfired when Hideyoshi, disgusted by Norihide's cowardice, commanded him to commit suicide. The Satomi, fearing Hideyoshi's wrath, had Takahide assassinated.

In Mirage of Blaze: Takahide becomes kanshousha and an assassin of the Satomi in order to seek revenge on Ujimasa. He duels with Ujimasa, is shot by Kotarou, and his soul is annihilated by the Houjou spirit lion.

Matsudaira Ken (松平健)

Also known as: Suzuki Sueshichi (birth), Matsuken, Ken-sama (nicknames)

An actor and singer who is known for roles in historical TV dramas. He has acted in more than 20 TV dramas, including Zatoichi, Abarenbou Shogun, Kusa Moeru, and Genroku Ryoran and released more than 10 albums.

Matsumoto Bon-Bon (ぼんぼん)

Also known as: Matsu-Bon (松ぼん)

The Matsumoto Bon-Bon is the biggest summer festival in the prefecture of Nagano. It is held on the first Saturday in August and only borrows the name of Bon-Bon; it is, in actuality, more of a carnival.

During the festival, companies parade through the streets, dancing and singing. Local elementary, junior and senior high schools, government offices, and volunteers usually 'lead' the festival. In 2004, the 30th year of the festival, around 22,000 people participated in the parade, and with over 200,000 spectators.

Many historical sites are on display during this time, and the whole region becomes a pedestrian-only mall.

The dancing begins at around 6 pm and lasts until 8 pm for children, and can go past 9 pm for adults. There are also cultural demonstrations, such as Taiko drums, exhibitions of Japanese art forms, and games.

Matsumoto Castle (松本城)

Also known as: 深志城 (Fukashi-jou), 鴉城 (Karasu-jou)

A castle in Matsumoto which was built by the Ogasawara Clan during the Sengoku Period (then called Fukashi-jou). It was captured by Takeda Shingen in 1550 and recaptured by Ogasawara Sadayoshi in 1582, who changed the castle's name to Matsumoto Castle. Later it came under the rule of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Hideyoshi appointed Ishikawa Kazumasa the new lord of Matsumoto Castle, and he and his son, Ishikawa Yasunaga, maintained the castle and town. Yasunaga greatly expanded the castle probably around the years 1593-1594, adding the three towers tenshu (danjon tower), inui-kotenshu (small tower in the northwest), and watari-yagura (connecting scaffold), as well as the goten (residence), taikomon (drum gate), kuromon (black gate), yagura (scaffold), hori (trench), honmaru (the main wing), ninomaru (the second wing), and sannomaru (the third wing).

Matsumoto Castle is one of the best-preserved castles in Japan and is one of the designated national treasures. It is also called "Crow Castle (Karasu-jou)" for its black walls.

Matsumoto City (松本市)

The largest city in Nagano Prefecture, Matsumoto is surrounded by mountains and is acclaimed for its beautiful views.

Matsumoto-han (松本藩)

A feudal domain of Japan during the Edo Period located in the province of Shinano. Its government center was Matsumoto Castle. In the late 1600s its population was around 90,000.

Matsunaga (松永)

The abbe of Uragami Cathedral, who is described as a man around forty years of age with a calm, gentle countenance. He is introduced to Naoe by Yanase Riho, and accepts the Maria Kwannon for the cathedral.

Matsunaga Hisahide (松永久秀)
1510 - 1577

Also known as: Matsunaga Danjou Hisahide (松永弾正久秀), Matsunaga Soutei (松永霜台)

Initally a vassal of the Miyoshi Clan who served Miyoshi Nagayoshi as his private secretary, Hisahide was both a warrior and a tea master who would be regarded by history as a schemer and something of a villain.

Miyoshi Nagayoshi gave his daughter to Hisahide in marriage, but Hisahide turned against his master. He was rumored to have poisoned Nagayoshi's son and heir, Miyoshi Yoshioki, and Nagayoshi's three brothers died under mysterious circumstances between 1561-1564. In 1564 at Nagayoshi's death, all that stood between Hisahide and the Miyoshi domain was the young Miyoshi Yoshitsugu, whom Nagayoshi had seleted as heir, and his guardians the "Miyoshi Triumvirate", Miyoshi Nagayuki, Miyoshi Masayasu, and Iwanari Tomomichi.

Hisahide briefly joined forces with the Triumvirate against the Shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru, who was forced to commit suicide. Thereafter he fought against the Miyoshi Clan and later submitted to Oda Nobunaga and served him for a few years after 1568.

In 1573, however, he was already conspiring against Nobunaga with Miyoshi Yoshitsugu—then turned back to Nobunaga and destroyed the remaining Miyoshi Clan. In 1577, he rebelled against Nobunaga again and in the end committed suicide at Shigisan Castle when besieged by Oda's army (though first smashing a priceless tea kettle, the "Hiragumo", which Nobunaga had coveted).

Matsuzaki Shigeru (松崎しげる)

Also known as: birth—Matsuzaki Shigeyuki (松崎茂幸), popular nickname—Matsu (マツ)

A singer and actor based in Tokyo.

Matsuzawa (松沢)

Takaya's homeroom teacher for Year Two Class 3 at Jouhoku High.

Mazoku (魔族)

Lit.: "demon clan" or "demon tribe", the people of Shinma Kingdom. They are much more long-lived than humans, and their actually age is usually five times that of their physical appearance.

Megohime (愛姫)
1568 - 1563

Also known as: Yoshihime, Youtokuin (陽徳院)

Only daughter of Tamura Kiyoaki who married Date Masamune in 1579 at the age of 12. An assassination attempt against Masamune caused him to suspect the Tamura clan, and he ordered the executions of Megohime's nurse and several of her attendants. Their marital relations became strained by these events, but were eventually mended, and Megohime gave Masamune four children, including his heir Date Tadamune.

She lived at the Date mansion in the court of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and acted as her husband's diplomat to the court. In 1636, at the death of Masamune, Megohime became a nun and took the Buddhist name of Youtokuin.

Meiji-Jinguu Stadium (明治神宮野球場)

Tokyo's oldest professional baseball park which opened in 1926 and is home to the Yakult Swallows. Located in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Meikai Uesugi Gun (冥界上杉軍)

Lit. "Underworld Uesugi Army"; the army formed by Uesugi Kenshin to hunt down the onryou so that the peace of modern-day Japan is not threatened by centuries-old conflicts. It is composed of all the spirits who have some connection to the Uesugi and who were called upon by Kenshin. The Yasha-shuu could be called its commanders, though Uesugi Kagetora is the only person with the authority to lead it.

meisouhou (暝想法)


Metoba-gawa (女鳥羽川)

Lit. "female bird feather river"; a river that runs through Matsumoto City.

Midou-suji (御堂筋)

The primary thoroughfare of central Osaka, Midou Boulevard runs north-south and boasts ultra high-class stores and hotels.

Mifuneyama Kassen (三船山合戦)
Sept. 25, 1567 - Sept. 25, 1567

Also known as: Mifunedai no Tatakai (三船台の戦)

The Battle of Mt. Mifune/Mifunedai was fought between Satomi Yoshihiro and Houjou Ujimasa on Sept. 25, 1567, in Kazusa, Kimitsu-gun, Mifunedai (present-day Kimitsu City in Chiba Prefecture.

The battle took place after a heavy defeat suffered by Satomi Yoshihiro at the hand of the Houjou Clan in the 2nd Battle of Kounodai (1564), in which Yoshihiro lost the northern part of Kazusa and the western part of the Satomi territory. The Houjou was in the process of building a fortress at Mifunedai, the base of Mt. Mifune, in order to take Yoshihiro's main fortress of Sanuki Castle. Knowing that once the Houjou fortress was completed, Sanuki Castle, located only a kilometer to the south, would be in great danger, Yoshihiro attacked the Houjou troops stationed at Mifunedai.

Upon learning of the attack, Houjou Ujimasa lead his troops across Edo Bay while sending Houjou Ujiteru with a detached force toward Kururi Castle, Satomi Yoshitaka (Yoshihiro's father)'s main fortress.

In response, Yoshihiro rallied from Sanuki Castle and met Ujimasa's troops in a fierce battle. The Satomi army tore the Houjou army apart, killing one of its chief commanders, Oota Ujisuke. Fearing a pincer attack from land and water, the entire Houjou army retreated back to Sagami.

Mikami (三上)

The Japanese priest to whom the former Jesuit missionary Torabas gives his statue of the Maria Kwannon.

Mikawa-no-kuni (三河国)

And ancient province of Japan located on Honshuu which forms the eastern half of Aichi Prefecture today. Mikawa bordered on the provinces of Owari, Mino, Shinano, and Totomi.

Mikawa was the original domain of Tokugawa Ieyasu before he gained control of the Kantou.

mikkyou (密教)

An abbreviated name for "himitsu Bukkyou", or "secret Buddhist teachings", mikkyou are exceedingly mystic and symbolic doctrines transferred from master to disciple within sects, generally used by schools of Esoteric Buddhism.

Mikkyou came into existence in India during the rise of Hinduism and the oppression of Buddhism. In the early stages of mikkyou, Buddhism slowly absorbed mystical/magical components, and each Buddha was given a mudra and dharani.

Mikuni-touge (三国峠)

Lit.: Three-Province Mountain Pass

During the Sengoku Era, Mikuni Pass was one part of the three-province highway that was the shortest path between Echigo and Edo, but snow drifts and avalanches in winter and landslides in summer made it a difficult crossing. Uesugi Kenshin maintained it during his time as Kantou Kanrei in order to maintain his foothold in the Kantou.

It is now a major artery in the Japanese highway system, designated Highway 17 (Mikuni Tunnel).

Mimasaka-no-kuni (美作国)

An ancient province of Japan on the island of Honshuu which is now the northeastern part of Okayama Prefecture.

Mimase-touge no Tatakai (三増峠の戦い)
Oct. 8, 1569

The Battle of Mimase Pass took place on Oct. 8, 1569 between the armies of the Houjou Clan, led by Houjou Ujiteru and Houjou Ujikuni, and the Takeda Clan, led by Takeda Shingen, after the Kai-Sagami-Suruga alliance fell apart in 1568 upon Takeda's invasion of Suruga.

On Oct. 1, 1569, Takeda Shingen besieged Houjou Ujiyasu's Odawara Castle with 20,000 troops, but like Uesugi Kenshin before him, failed to penetrate the Houjou Clan's main fortress' defenses and retreated four days later on Oct. 5 after setting fire to the land near the castle. Houjou Ujiteru and Houjou Ujikuni set up an ambush with an army of 12,000-20,000 (estimates differ) at the strategic Mimase Pass for the Takeda army as it retreated back towards Kai. Houjou Ujimasa brought up their main army of 20,000 in a pincer movement.

Takeda Shingen led the Takeda army along with his generals Takeda Katsuyori, Takeda Nobukado, Yamagata Masakage, Naitou Masatoyo, Baba Nobuharu, Asari Nobutane, and Obata Norishige.

Houjou Ujiteru and Houjou Ujikuni led the Houjou army along with their generals Houjou Ujitada, Takajou Kurando (?), Hara Tanehide, and Ueda Tomonao.

Ujiteru and Ujikuni apparently sprung the ambush before Ujimasa arrived. Shingen, who had sensed the attack, split his army into three parts: one met the Houjou head-on, while the other two hid in the mountain and attacked from the side. The two armies met in full-blown battle on Oct. 8. The Houjou held the advantage at the start. However, a detached force led by Yamagata Masakage struck in a surprise attack from the higher ground of Shida Pass about a kilometer to the south-west, managing to turn the tide of the battle. The Takeda army also employed arquebuses in the narrow mountain pass to their great advantage, and the Houjou army suffered heavy losses. Though the fighting was close at the beginning of the battle, by the end it was clearly a Takeda victory.

Ujimasa halted his army upon hearing of the Houjou defeat, so the pincer attack (which may yet have won the day for the Houjou) never came to pass. Takeda then pushed forward into Sagami, there to raise his victory shout, before retreating.

Because Uesugi Kenshin had not sent aid during the seige and battle, the Houjou Clan began to view him with distrust, and Houjou Ujiyasu wrote a letter to him expressing his discontent. This battle would become the underlying cause for the Houjou's severing of their alliance with the Uesugi Clan and reformation of their alliance with the Takeda Clan.

Minamoto no Yoritomo (源頼朝)
May 9, 1147 - February 9, 1199

Minamoto no Yoritomo was a warlord of the late Heian and early Kamakura Periods, born as third son of Minamoto no Yoshitomo, heir of the Minamoto (Seiwa Genji) clan. He founded and became the first shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate. He ruled from 1192 until 1199.

Minamoto no Yoriyoshi (源 頼義)
988 - 1075-08-27

Title: Chinjufu-shogun (Commander-in-chief of the Defense of the North)

A general of the Heian Period who was head of the Minamoto Clan and, along with his son Minamoto no Yoshiie, led the Imperial forces against rebellion in the north in the Zenkunen (Early Nine Years War) and Gosannen (Later Three Years War) wars. Both conflicts were a struggle for power within the samurai clans, and fought in Mutsu Province in northern Honshuu.

The Zenkunen was fought against the powerful Abe Clan, a member of whom, Abe no Yoritoki, was military general of Mutsu in charge of controlling the Emishi and Ainu natives and who clashed with the Court-appointed Governor.

The Gosannen was fought against the Kiyohara Clan and arose from a long series of quarrels.

Minamoto no Yoshitsune (源 義経)
1159 - 1189-06-15

Minamoto no Yoshitsune was a warlord of the late Heian and early Kamakura Periods, born as ninth son of Minamoto no Yoshitomo, heir of the Minamoto (Seiwa Genji) clan. Yoshitsune's older brother Minamoto no Yoritomo founded the Kamakura shogunate. Yoshitsune famously led the expedition which toppled the Ise-Heishi, principal branch of the powerful Taira clan, during the Genpei War. He became one of the greatest and popular warriors of his era, and one of the most famous samurai in the history of Japan.

Minato-ku (港区)

One of Tokyo's twenty-three special wards (self-governing, special municipalities existing only in Tokyo) located in central Tokyo, southwest of the Imperial Palace. It contains some of Tokyo's most popular entertainment and nightlife districts, as well as upscale residential and commercial areas. Tokyo Tower is located in this ward.

Minato contains the most corporate headquarters of any area in Japan, and could be said to be its business center. It also contains many embassies and offices of foreign corporation, so foreign residents make up about 1 percent of its population.

Mino-no-kuni (美濃国)

An ancient province of Japan on the island of Honshuu which is the southern part of Gifu Prefecture today. Mino bordered on the provinces of Echizen, Hida, Ise, Mikawa, Omi, Owari, and Shinano.

Minorikawa Norio (御法川 法男)

Also known as: Mino Monta (みのもんた)

A Japanese television presenter who is host for the show Mino Monta no Asa Zuba! (みのもんたの朝ズバッ!), Japanese version of the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, as well as his own afternoon TV program, Omoikkiri TV ("Full Throttle TV").

Mito Koumon (水戸黄門)

Mito Koumon is the longest-running and most famous historical drama series in Japan with over 1000 episodes, which began broadcasting on Aug. 4, 1969, and continues today. Its main character is based on Tokugawa Mitsukuni, the retired (goinkyo) daimyo of Mito, who is one of Tokugawa Ieyasu's grandsons. In the drama he wanders around Ibaraki disguised as Mitsuemon, a retired crêpe merchant from Echigo, with two samurai retainers, Sasaki Sukesaburou (Suke-san) and Atsumi Kakunoshin (Kaku-san), helping the oppressed.

Other regular characters include the food-loving commoner Hachibei, reformed thieves Kazaguruma no Yashichi and his wife Kasumi no Oshin, and ninjas Tsuge no Tobizaru and Kagerou Ogin of the Iga School.

Mito-shi (水戸市)

The capital of Ibaraki Prefecture which was won by Tokugawa Ieyasu in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1603. The Tokugawa Clan directly controlled Mito until the overthrow of the shogunate in the mid-1800's.

Mitsui (三井)

Leader of the largest gang in the Matsumoto area where Takaya lives in junior high. He's four years older than Takaya and dropped out of senior high in his first year. He is a fringe member of a mafia group called the Seiyuu Group and carries their silver badge. He appears to be an errand boy for them as well as a distributor of amphetamines. He claims to command hundreds, both in and out of prison. Takaya hangs out around his garage when he has nowhere to go, where Mitsui gathers his gang nightly and throws parties with booze and girls. He carries a cut from Takaya's knife above one eyebrow, which he received from breaking up a fight between Takaya and one of his gang members on their first meeting.

Miura-hantou (三浦半島)

Miura Peninsula is a peninsula located in Kanagawa Prefecture south of Yokohama and Tokyo. It lies between Tokyo Bay to the east and Sagami Bay to the west.