Glossary

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Aizawa-byouin (相沢病院)

The hospital at which Yuiko stays isn't given in the novel, but is implied in the manga to be this hospital, a fairly big institution in the City of Matsumoto.

ari nari tonari anaro nabi kunabi ()

In the 26th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the dharani given by Bishamonten to the followers of Buddhism for protection. A distance of one hundred "yojanas" is specified for the radius of protection.

bai ()

Intoned by the Yasha-shuu at the beginning of choubuku, 'bai' is the "seed syllable" for Bishamonten, originally known as Vaiśravaṇa.

Bishamonten (毘沙門天)

Also know as: Bishamon, Tamonten, Vaiśravaṇa, Kubera

Bishamonten is one of the 12 Deva Guardians, the protector of the North and the most powerful of the Four Heavenly Kings. He is the god of warfare and warriors, sometimes called the "black warrior"; black is his symbolic color, and winter is the season over which he presides. He is often depicted as warrior with a crown on his head, a pagoda in one hand and a trident in the other. He punishes those who do evil and is also the guardian of the places where Buddha preaches. He is one who is all-knowing, who hears everything, who is always listening, and is completely versed in Buddha's teachings. He is one of Japan's Seven Deities of Fortune. The soldiers of his army are the powerful earth deities called Yaksha.

Bishamonten is also called "Tobatsu Bishamonten" (刀八毘沙門天), or "Eight-Sword Bishamonten", because of an error in translation passed down through the centuries. The original name, "Bishamonten of Tobatsu", pointed to a manifestation of Bishamonten which appeared in the Central Asian kingdom of Tou-po or Tobatsu (兜跋) to protect the capital city against invaders. Bishamonten in this form is depicted with a diadem on his head, four hands holding a key, a gem, a pagoda, and a halbert before him and eight arms holding eight swords around him.

blood types

One Japanese superstition says that blood-types are linked to personality:

A: calm, composed, serious, reliable, perfectionist, arrogant, emotions suppressed
B: curious, bright, cheerful, enthusiastic, uncoventional, superficial, unreliable, selfish
O: carefree, generous, independant, outgoing, social, flexible, clumsy, flighty
AB: sensitive, considerate, careful, efficient, strict, moody, unpredictable

Chausu-yama (茶臼山)

A mountain located in Nagano Prefecture, whose name translates to "tea-mortar mountain" because it is shaped like the mortar used to grind green tea in Japanese tea ceremonies. This is where the Takeda army set up its battle formations in the Battle of Kawanakajima.

Chikuma-kawa (千曲川)

Lit. "River of a Thousand Songs"; A river 367 kilometers (228 miles) in length which runs through Nagano Prefecture.

choubuku (調伏)

Also known as: choubukuryoku (調伏力)

The special power given to the Yasha-shuu to banish onryou to the Underworld using the dharani of Uesugi Kenshin's guardian deity, Bishamonten. The types of choubuku include "kouhou-choubuku", "ressa-choubuku", "kekkai-choubuku", etc. Each choubuku is begun with the incantation "bai" and the ritual hand gesture of Bishamonten's symbol.

Choubuku does not work against kanshousha, who have bodies of their own.

daimyo (大名)

Lit.: "great name"; feudal warlords of Japan

darani (陀羅尼)

Dharani; spells, litanies, Sanskrit multi-syllabic chants derived from Buddhism and Hinduism which are powerful mystic formulae that protect the user. See the Dharani section for a list of incantations used in Mirage of Blaze.

Edo-jidai (江戸時代)

The Edo period in Japanese history, which lasted from 1603 until 1867, was established by Tokugawa Ieyasu and was the period in which Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is seen as the beginning of modern Japan. During this period, the Shogunate perceived Christianity as a threat to the stability of Japan and actively persecuted adherents of the religion until it was almost completely eradicated. During this period Japan also isolated itself from the rest of the world, an isolation ending only with the appearance of Commodore Matthew Perry's ships in Edo Bay in 1853.

Enzan-shi (塩山市)

A city located in the north-east area of Yamanashi Prefecture with a population of around 26,500 people

Erin-ji (恵林寺)

Lit.: Temple of the Blessed Forest; house temple of Takeda Shingen of Kai which was burned to the ground by Oda Nobunaga during his invasion of the province in 1582. The temple was restored during the Tokugawa period of peace.

Fuurinkazan (風林火山)

Lit. "Wind-Forest-Fire-Mountain"; Takeda Shingen's battle flag bore these words, which meant: "swift as the wind, deliberate as the forest, insidious as fire, unmovable as the mountains".

gebaku (外縛)

Also known as: gebakuhou (外縛法), gaibaku

Lit.: "outer bind"; a method of tying a spirit body or physical body to one place such that they cannot move, also commonly called "paralysis". Kagetora and company use gebakuhou when they wish to perform «choubuku» on especially powerful spirits or a large host of spirits during "kouhou-choubuku" or "kekkai-choubuku", etc.

goshinha (護身波)

Lit. "wave of self-protection"; the goshinha is a protective mesh spun from fine strands of spiritual energy which surrounds the caster and protects from an opponent's spiritual as well as physical attacks. The mesh gains strength and stability when it is multi-layered and becomes the goshinheki. The goshinha is Naoe's forte.

hakonha (破魂波)

The "soul-ripping attack" with which Oda Nobunaga defeated Kagetora, said to be capable of destroying the soul itself, removing it from the wheel of reincarnation.

itako (いたこ)

Traditional blind female shamans from Northern Japan who are renowned for their ability to speak with the dead.

Iwakubo (岩窪町)

A town in Koufu City, Yamanashi Prefecture which contains Takeda Shingen's tomb, known as the Maenduka.

Iwano-eki (岩野駅)

A small railway station in Nagano Prefecture.

jibakurei (地縛霊)

Lit. "earth-bound spirit"; a spirit who has a strong attachment to the place of its death and is therefore bound to it as a spirit. The attachment is usually an intense hatred towards someone or something. This bound is not easily broken, and requires the use of very strong powers in a ceremony such as reidouhou.

Jouhoku (城北)

Lit: "castle-north"; the name of the high school at which Narita Yuzuru and Ougi Takaya are 2nd-year students, located in Matsumoto City. Likely fictional. However, the manga implies that the real-life equivalent is Fukashi High (深志高) view map location, which is indeed "north of the (Matsumoto) Castle".

School begins in May. Some of the classes Takaya takes are: Classical Literature, Modern Japanese, English, Math, Physics, P.E. and an art elective with choices of Fine Arts, Music, and Calligraphy. Takaya and Yuzuru both take Fine Arts. Their day is divided into Periods, with one class per Period. It sounds like classes rotate into different Periods as the week progresses; for example, in Volume 2 chapter 4, Chiaki tells Takaya that the Math teacher assigned him a problem for Second Period today, because he wasn't there for First Period yesterday.

Kai-no-Kuni (甲斐国)

Also known as: 甲州 (Koushuu)

An ancient province in central Japan which was ruled by Takeda Shingen during the Sengoku Period. Now known as Yamanashi Prefecture.

Kaidu-jou (海津城)

Also known as: Matsushiro-jou (松代城)

The castle protected by Kousaka Masanoubu, and where Takeda made his stronghold during the battle of Kawanakajima. It is now called Matsushiro-jou (松代城).

Kaisen-kokushi (快川国師)

Historically: Abbot and Zen Master of Erin Temple of Kai who was burned alive in his temple by Oda Nobunaga's soldiers during the invasion of Kai.

In Mirage of Blaze: The priest who bound Takeda Shingen's spirit after his death.

Kamikouchi (上高地)

Lit: "upper highlands", a popular scenic area in the Japanese Alps.

kanshou (換生)

To possess another's body, driving out their soul, so as to be reborn with memories intact. Only Naoe of all the kanshousha has the power to perform kanshou on another soul.

kanshousha (換生者)

Those who possess others by driving out the soul from a body and making it theirs.

Unlike normal spirits, kanshousha cannot exchange bodies at will; they can only switch to another host body when their current body dies. Because kanshousha become the owners of their bodies, choubuku does not work on them. It is, however, still possible to exorcise kanshousha when they are in spirit-form (i.e. between possessions).

Kawanakajima (川中島)

Lit.: "the island within the river"; a plain located in Shinano Province, very near modern Nagano, on which Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin fought five major battles in 1553, 1555, 1557, 1561 and 1564. In the battle of 1561, Takeda with 20,000 men won over Uesugi's force of 18,000. 12,400 and 12,960 men were lost by Takeda and Uesugi respectively, a loss of life greater than in any other battle in the Sengoku period

kekkai-choubuku (結界調伏)

Lit. "barrier exorcism"; a ritual exorcism that first encloses the target and the caster in a spiritual shield, strengthening the caster's power and preventing the target from escaping.

Koufu-shi (甲府市)

The capital city of Yamanashi Prefecture.

kouhou-choubuku (光包調伏)

Lit. "light-enclosing exorcism"; a type of choubuku which uses the incantation noumakusamanda|"noumakusamanda..." and summons bishamonten|"Tobatsu Bishamonten".

Kousaka Masanobu (高坂昌信)
1527 - 1578

Also called: Kousaka Danjou Masanobu (高坂弾正昌信), Kousaka Danjou Nosuke Masanobu (高坂弾正忠昌信), Kasuga Toratsuna (春日虎綱), Kasuga Gensuke (春日源助)
Title: Danjou Nosuke/Faithful True-Shot (弾正忠)

Historically: One of Takeda Shingen's most loyal retainers who was one of his Twenty-Four Generals and played a key part in the fourth battle of Kawanakajima.

Kousaka was born in Kai to a wealthy farmer, Kasuga Ookuma (?) (春日大隈). His father died when he was 16, and he lost a lawsuit against his elder sister's husband for ownership of his father's lands. He then enrolled in the service of Takeda Shingen.

Kousaka first served as a messenger for Shingen. He distinguished himself in battle, and rose swiftly through the ranks of Shingen's trusted retainers. He participated in most of Shingen's battles. He did not hesitate to retreat when required, which earned him the nickname of "Escaping Danjou". However, he was calm and logical in the midst of battle, and was perhaps the best of Shingen's generals.

There are anecdotes that in his younger days, Kousaka and Shingen were engaged in a shudo relationship, and Kousaka rose so quickly in Shingen's service because of Shingen's affection.

After Shingen's death in 1573, Kousaka continued on to serve Takeda Katsuyori. He sought an alliance between the Takeda clan and their old enemy, the Uesugi clan, in order to unite against the threat of Oda Nobunaga.

Kousaka died in 1578 of illness at the age of 52. He was succeeded by his second son, Kousaka Masamoto (高坂昌元), his first son, Kousaka Masazumi (高坂昌澄) having died in the Battle of Nagashino in 1575.

In Mirage of Blaze: A kanshousha who, along with Sanjou-no-Kata, breaks the barrier over Takeda Shingen's tomb, the Maenduka, in an attempt to resurrect Shingen by using Narita Yuzuru as a vessel for his spirit.

According to Haruie, Kousaka has a high level of spiritual sensing ability (reisa), such that he is able to recognize someone he had met before even after their soul has undergone purification. He warns Naoe that Narita Yuzuru's existence is a threat to the Roku Dou Sekai.

Koushoku-shi (更埴市)

A town near Nagano City in Nagano Prefecture which was merged with two other towns to form the city of Chikuma on Sept. 1, 2003.

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.

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.

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.

Metoba-gawa (女鳥羽川)

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

Nagano-ken (長野県)

Formerly known as the province of Shinshuu, Nagano Prefecture is located in central Japan on Honshuu Island. Its capital is the City of Nagano.

Nagano-shi (長野市)

The capital city of Nagano Prefecture, which grew from a small town around a 17th-century Buddhist temple.

Namu Tobatsu Bishamonten (南無刀八毘沙門天)

Lit. "Hail Eight-Sword Bishamonten" Chanted during "light-enclosing exorcism," the summoning of the Sword of Bishamonten, and other invocations to Bishamonten.

Naoe Nobutsuna (直江信綱)
? - Oct. 6, 1581

Also known as: Nagao Kagetaka (長尾景孝), Nagao Toukurou (長尾藤九郎)
Title: Yamato no Kami (大和守)

Historically: Son of Nagao Akikage, he became head of the Sousha-Nagao Clan at a young age. He later (around 1545) passed the position to his younger brother Nagao Kagefusa. When the clan was destroyed by Takeda Shingen and their territory lost, the family escaped into Echigo. There Kagefusa became a monk, and Kagetaka was adopted by Naoe Sanetsuna when he married Sanetsuna's daughter, Osen-no-Kata. He succeeded his adopted father as master of Yoita Castle in 1577 and was a vassal of Uesugi Kenshin. He promptly took the side of Uesugi Kagekatsu during the war for succession after Kenshin's death and mobilized the members of the Naoe Clan at the castle to subdue Kagetora's troops.

After the intra-house war and Kagekatsu's victory, a question of reward was called into question. Yasuda Akimoto, one of Kagekatsu's trusted commanders, had promised rewards to Shibata Shigeie, Mouri Hidehiro, and others to convince them to join Kagekatsu's side. However, Yamazaki Hidenori, Naoe, and others objected, for they had risked life and limb at Kasugayama Castle from the very beginning of the battle, while Shibata Shigeie and the others had been lured by promise of reward from Yasuda Akimoto.

Yasuda Akimoto committed suicide when he could not keep his promise of reward. Later, Mouri Hidehiro, carrying a grudge for his death, murdered Yamazaki Hidenori at Kasugayama Castle; Naoe, who was with him at the time and took up a sword to defend himself, was killed as well. His death ended the Naoe line, which Kagekatsu later resurrected by marrying Naoe's widow, Osen-no-Kata to Higuchi Kanetsugu and commanding him to take the Naoe name.

In Mirage of Blaze: According to Kousaka Danjou, and Houjou Ujiteru he was the ringleader of Uesugi Kagekatsu's forces in the Otate no Ran. He is now Uesugi Kagetora's protector and one of the Yasha-shuu under his command. He alone, as Kagetora's protector, was given the power to perform kanshou on other souls, a power he used to force Kagetora's soul into Minako's body.

Naoe Sanetsuna (直江実綱)
1509 - 1577

Also known as: Naoe Kagetsuna (直江景綱), Naoe Masatsuna (直江政綱)
Title: Yamato no Kami (大和守)

Historically: A trust-worthy and courageous vassal of Uesugi Kenshin who served as one of his military commanders. Also served Kenshin's father (Nagao Tamekage) and older brother (Nagao Harukage) and was an excellent adminstrator. Adopted Naoe Nobutsuna when he married Sanetuna's daughter Osen-no-Kata, since he had no sons of his own.

Narai-gawa (奈良井川)

Lit: Nara Well River; A river of 56.3 km which flows from the Central Japanese Alps into Nagano Prefecture and through Matsumoto City from east to west.

nendouryoku (念動力)

Lit.: "power of telekinesis"; one of the two types of spiritual abilities of the Yasha-shuu which uses spiritual energy to affect a substance. Naoe levitating pebbles against Takaya is one example.

nenpa (念波)

Lit.: "waves of will/thought"; a nendouryoku attack using spiritual energy which focuses the will and releases it in a burst to strike at a target.

Noh mask (能面)

Masks worn by performers in the oldest Japanese theatre art.

noumakusamanda bodanan baishiramandaya sowaka

「のうまくさまんだ ぼだなん ばいしらまんだや そわか」

A mantra of Bishamonten which protects the caster from fatigue and calamity, usually used when starting a long or complex invocation.

"noumakusamanda bodanan" = a devotion to the Buddhas/"homage to all the Buddhas".
"Baishiramandaya" = a reverence to Bishamonten, or "hail Bishamonten!"

nue (鵺)

In Japanese mythology, the nue is a chimera formed from the head of a monkey, the body of a tanuki, the legs of a tiger, and a snake-tail. The nue can transform into a black cloud and brings illness and misfortune.

In Mirage of Blaze: The troops of the various clans, lumped-together masses of onryou, are called the «nue». Mori Ranmaru commands the Nue-shuu of the Oda, who are onryou with strong powers.

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