Search glossary

a ( 阿)

The first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet (as well as the Japanese alphabet), pronounced with the mouth open. Represents alpha, beginning, and inhalation. In the Shingon school of Esoteric Buddhism, also represents the basic essence of all things—see Ajikan.

Aizu (会津)

Also known as: Aidu

In ancient Japan, a feudal domain known as Aizu-han, a part of the Mutsu Province; today, the region which is the westernmost third of Fukushima Prefecture. The area was ruled by the Hoshina Clan, former retainers of the Takeda Clan, which was known for its martial skill.

Ajikan (阿字観)

A "truth-seeking method" of Kuukai and the Shingon school of Buddhism from the Mahavairocana Sutra:

"a ji" = "the word a", which is the basic essence of all things
"kan" = "to see" with one's mind/heart

Ajikan is a form of meditation upon the symble a, which holds that the beginning of all things is in the heart and mind, and one must concentrate on this to understand how any idea one holds can change the shape of the seen and unseen worlds.

Aoba Joushi (青葉城趾)

Also known as: Sendai-jou (仙台城), Gojourou (五城楼)
Lit. 'Fresh Leaves Castle Ruins'

The ruins of a castle located in Sendai City built by Date Masamune in 1601. It was the governmental seat of Sendai-han and designated a historical landmark of Japan.

The castle sat on Aoba Hill and was naturally defended by a 400-foot cliff on one side and the Hirose River on the other. Masamune built the Inner Citadel and the Western Wing on Aoba Hill, and Date Tadamune built the Second Wing and Third (Northern) wings at its base. The ruins of the Third Wing is now the Sendai Museum.

All that remains of the original castle today are old stone walls; the rest were dismantled or destroyed in fire, earthquakes, and bombings.

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.

Ashina Moriuji (蘆名盛氏)
1521 - 1580

Also known as: Shishisai (止々斎)

Son of Ashina Morikiyo and 16th generation lord of the Ashina Clan who probably became head of the clan around 1537, which is around the time that he married a daughter of the Date Clan and formed an alliance with Tamura Takaaki.

He expanded the domain of the Ashina and did much to improve the clan's economic condition, thereby bringing about the golden age of the Ashina.

Moriuji turned over the rule of the clan to his heir Ashina Morioki in 1561 and retired to Iwasaki Castle, shaving off his hair and taking the name of Shishisai. However, he retained power over political and military affairs.

In 1575 when Ashina Morioki died without an heir, and because Moriuji had no other heirs, he adopted a hostage of the clan: Nikaidou Moritaka, the son of Nikaidou Moriyoshi, and married him to Morioki's widow. Moritaka then became Ashina Moritaka and the next clan head.

Moriuji died in 1580 at the age of 60. With him ended the golden age of the Ashina; a mere 9 years later, the clan would be destroyed by Date Masamune.

Ashina Yoshihiro (芦名義広/蘆名義広)
1575 - 1631

Also known as: 盛重, 義勝

Second son of the daimyo Satake Yoshishige, he became the 20th head of the Ashina Clan when he married Ashina Moritaka's daughter. However, he lost the Ashina lands to Date Masamune after the betrayal of one of the Ashina's key vassals at the Battle of Suriagehara in 1589. He then fled to Hitachi and was later given land there by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Aun (阿吽)

The Japanese equivalent of the Buddhist sound "Om", which represents the cosmic order of creation, sustenance, and destruction; male, female, and neuter; past, present, and future; waking state, sleep state and dream state; inhalation and exhalation. 'Aun' is composed from the characters 'a' and 'un'.

bai ()

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

bakufu (幕府)

Lit.: "tent government", the government of the shogun, who is the 'supreme general of the samurai'. Starting from Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura shogunate, until the Meiji Restoration, shoguns and their bakufu held the pratical power in Japan and relegated the emperor to the position of figurehead.

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.

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.

Dainichi Buddha (大日如来)

Also known as: Mahavairocana, Dainichi Nyorai, Vairocana, Daibutsu

Mahavairocana is the Cosmic Buddha who represents the center or zenith and is especially important to the Shingon school of Esoteric Buddhism. He was worshipped in Japan from as early as the Heian Period, and his Mahavairocana Sutra forms the basis for the rituals of the Shingon School.

Dainichi's characteristic hand gesture is the index finger of the left hand clasped by the five fingers of the right, symbolizing the unity of earth, water, fire, air, and spiritual consciouness.

Dakini (荼吉尼/茶枳尼/荼枳尼)

Also known as: Dakiniten (荼吉尼天)

Dakini is a Buddhist deity who was originally an Indian goddess of agriculture. She later became a goddess of gender and lust who ate human flesh or the human heart. She was subjugated by the God of Fortune and allowed to eat the hearts of the dead.

Dakini was originally associated with the jackle in India, but since jackles are not native to Japan, she became associated with the fox instead (it's said that she turned into a white fox after being subjugated by the God of Fortune). It's thought that the worship of Dakini was then meshed into the worship of spirit foxes that originally existed in Japan. The spells of Dakini, Dakiniten-hou, are among the strongest curse-spells.

Dakiniten-hou (ダキニ天法)

One type of the secret teachings (mikkyou) of Esoteric Buddhism which calls on Dakini and can be used to predict someone's time of death as well as to cast a death curse on someone. Dakiniten spells are among the strongest dark-magic spells and are jealously guarded by its practioners.

The high priests of the Shingon sect at Tou-ji used Dakiniten-hou to create spells of protection for the Emperor. These most secret of secret spells were incorporated into kinrin no hou, performed with kanchou at their enthronement.

Date Kojirou (伊達小次郎)
1568? - 1590

Also known as: childhood—Jikumaru (竺丸)

Second son of Date Terumune and Yoshihime, Kojirou was favored by his mother over his older brother Date Masamune for succession as head of the Date Clan. However, Terumune favored Masamune, who became head of the Date Clan in 1584.

Yoshihime planned the assassination of Masamune, but after she failed to poison him in 1590, Masamune ordered Kojirou's death.

Date Masamune (伊達政宗)
1567 - 1636

Titles: Echizen no Kami, Mutsu no Kami
Also known as: birth—Bontenmaru (梵天丸), adult—Tojirou (藤次郎), posthumous—Teizan (貞山), self-introduction—Fujiwara no Masamune (藤原政宗), religious—Takeru Hikonomikoto (武振彦命), nickname—One-Eyed Dragon (独眼竜)

Date Masamune was a powerful daimyo in the Northeastern part of Japan during the Sengoku Period. He was the 17th-generation head of the Date Clan and the founding daimyo of Sendai-han. He was the eldest son of Date Terumune and Yoshihime, the daughter of Mogami Yoshimori.

Masamune was born in Yonezawa Castle (modern-day Yamagata Prefecture). He lost the use of his right eye after falling ill of smallpox in his childhood, and would later come to be known as the One-eyed Dragon. However, because of it his mother thought him unfit for rule of the clan, and favored his younger brother. When Date Terumune retired from the position of the clan head in 1584, Masamune killed his brother and became the head of the clan at 18.

Masamune was known as a brilliant tactician. Shortly after he became head of the clan, Oouchi Sadatsuna, a Date vassal, defected to the Ashina Clan in the Aizu region of Mutsu Province. Masamune declared war on the Ashina for the betrayal, but was forced to retreat by the Ashina general, Iwashiro Morikuni. Three months later, Masamune laid seige to Oouchi's stronghold at Otemori. It was said that he put some 800 people to the sword in retaliation for the betrayal. Thereafter the Hatakeyama Clan, the traditional rival of the Date Clan, kidnapped Masamune's father, who was then killed in battle when Masamune and his troops engaged the kidnappers. War ensued between the two clans, and Masamune would ruthlessly subjugate his neighboring clans, even those who were allied by marriage or kinship. He defeated the Ashina Clan in 1589, but was called by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to lay siege to Odawara Castle of the Houjou Clan.

He served both Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, though neither trusted him completely due to his ambition and aggression. Under Tokugawa Ieyasu Masamune controlled one of the largest fiefdoms in Japan and turned Sendai from a small fishing village to a large and prosperous city. He encouraged foreigners and was largely lenient towards Christanity and its practioners. He funded and backed the first Japanese expedition to sail around the world, which visited such places as the Philippines, Mexico, Spain and Pope Paul V in Rome.

He died in Edo at the age of 70 of esophageal cancer, and was entombed in the Zuihouden according to his last will and testament. His second son (eldest son by his legal wife Megohime) Date Tadamune inherited the position of clan head after him.

Date Shigezane (伊達成実)
1568 - 1646

Cousin of Date Masamune, second-in-command of Sendai-han, eldest son and heir of Date Sanemoto and the daughter of Date Harumune (who were originally uncle and niece). He entered Date Masamune's service from childhood and was later decorated for his role in many of the clan's wars.

In 1595, due to dissatisfaction over reward for the Imjin War, Shigezane left Masamune and fled to Mount Kouya.

In 1600, during the Battle of Sekigahara, Uesugi Kagekatsu offered Shigezane an exorbitant reward to become a vassal of the Uesugi Clan, but he refused, saying "I would never serve a vassal house." (Uesugi Sadazane, the last of the Uesugi Clan bloodline to be lord of Echigo, once wanted to adopted Shigezane's father, but the Date Clan refused. If the adoption had taken place, Shigezane would have become the lord of Echigo after his father, and Kagekatsu, as one of the Nagao Clan, would have been a vassal under Shigezane's service.)

Shigezane returned to Masamune's service in autumn of 1600, and later served in the new Shogunate in important roles.

Shigezane's prowess in battle was acknowledged by various daimyo of the age. (He was called 'Date Shigezane the Brave', and he, along with 'Katakura Kagetsuna the Wise', were named 'the twin jewels of the Date'.) He also wrote a famous history of Date Masamune, called the 'Shigezane Chronicles'.

Dewa Kassen (出羽合戦)

The Battle of Dewa was the Battle of Sekigahara fought in the North, in which Uesugi Kagekatsu was defeated and forced to submit to Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Uesugi Kagekatsu raised an army of 50,000 to move against Tokugawa Ieyasu, but lost Shiroishi in a siege to the combined armies of Date Masamune and Mogami Yoshiaki. Afterwards, Mogami sent a letter to Kagekatsu, suggesting that he become a vassal of Tokugawa. Kagekatsu refused and ordered his chief vassal Naoe Kanetsugu to attack the Mogami territory of Dewa. Kanetsugu led a force of more than 20,000 in an invasion of Mogami's territory, capturing Hosoya Castle. However, though he surrounded Hasedou Castle, it stood firm with the aid of Yamagata Castle.

Taking advantage of Uesugi's superiority of numbers, Onodera Yoshimichi also invaded Mogami territory. Surrounded, Yoshiaki send a request for aid to his nephew Date Masamune. 500 cavalry from Date a few days later held the battle to a stalemate. However, when news of the defeat of the western forces in the Battle of Sekigahara reached Uesugi and Mogami, Mogami gave chase to Uesugi's retreat in sudden reversal, resulting in fierce battles around Hasedou Castle. Uesugi lost more than 1,500, Mogami around 600.

Dewa-no-kuni (出羽)

An ancient province of Japan with was split from Echigo, comprising of parts of the modern prefectures of Yamagata and Akita. It was held by the Mogami and Akita clans.

Echigo-no-kuni (越国)

An ancient province in north-central Japan which was ruled by Uesugi Kenshin during the Sengoku Period. Now a part of Niigata Prefecture.

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.

Esoteric Buddhism (密教)

Buddhist teachings which are conveyed secretly or implicitly and are held to be beyond the understanding of an ordinary person. It was founded on the principle that the two aspects of Buddha—the unchanging cosmic principle and the active, physical manifestation of Buddha in the natural world—are one and the same and cannot be known verbally. One method for comprehension, therefore, is through visual representation and symbolism. The practitioners of Esoteric Buddhism chant mantras, form symbolic positions with their hands ("mudras") and train in other types of mystical arts.

Go-Daigo-tennou (後醍醐天皇)
1288 - 1339

The 96th emperor of Japan, whose reign from 1318 to 1339 was a rocky one; he became emperor at the age of 29, tried to overthrow the Kamakura Shogunate, was exiled, became emperor again after capturing the Kamakura Shogunate with the support of Ashikaga Takauji (destroying the Houjou Clan in the process), began a restoration aimed at making him the most powerful ruler in the East, was chased out of Kyoto by Ashikaga Takauji, and established the Southern Court in Yoshino in 1336 in opposition to the Northern Court established by Ashikaga in Kyoto. He died of illness in 1339.

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.

goshinheki (護身壁)

Lit.: "wall of self-protection"; the goshinheki is a barrier constructed for an instant using spiritual energy. The goshinha is effective when maintained, but the goshinheki takes shape in the instant the caster is attacked and is a basic method of self-protection. However, its weakness is that it cannot protect the caster against 100% of the damage caused by the attack.

Gunman-ken (群馬県)

A prefecture of Japan located in the northwest corner of the Kantou region on Honshuu island. Its capital is Maebashi.

Hatayama Satoshi (波多山智)

Possessed by: Mori Ranmaru

A first-year junior high student at Takaya's school who appears to look up to Yuzuru. He is in the same band as Yuzuru. He is described as having a short, delicate figure with fine chestnut hair and hazel eyes so light they appear gold. He is half-Japanese and half-British.

He disappears after the fight at Jouhoku High.

Hirose-gawa (広瀬川)

A river that flows around Aoba Castle and Sendai City.

Hitotoribashi no Kassen (人取り橋の合戦/人取橋の戦い)

A battle fought between Date Masamune's 13,000 warriors and the 30,000 combined forces of the Hatakeyama, Satake, Ashina, Souma, and other clans in the neighboring area in Masamune's first years as the head of his clan. The Date warriors were driven back from Hitotori Bridge on the Seto River to Motomiya Castle, where, on the verge of annihilation, they prepared to make a last stand. However, in the night Satake Yoshishige's forces were miraculously called away by an invasion on the Satake's own land, and the rest of the clans retreated.


A brief list of honorifics used in address:

san (さん) - the most common honorific, usually used to address someone outside one's immediate circle with respect
kun (君) - usually used towards boys and men of junior status or equal age and status
chan (ちゃん) - a diminutive used mainly towards children, and intimate friends, especially women; also used as an endearment for girls
sama (様) - the formal form of "san", showing a high level of respect
senpai (先輩) - used to refer to someone with a more senior status, such as a freshman towards a senior
sensei (先生) - often translated as "teacher", but can actually be used to show respect for anyone with superior knowledge in a field, including doctors and writers
dono/tono (殿) - an antiquated term which roughly translates to "lord", used to show great respect for the addressee, who can be of equal or higher status than the speaker
uji/shi (氏) - in ancient times, carried the meaning "of the ~ clan" or "of the ~ surname"; now used in formal speech and writing to refer to someone unfamiliar to the speaker.

jike (地気)

Lit.: Earth-energy; the 'mood' or 'energy' of the earth, generated by the accumulated energies of both living beings and spirits who live in that location. Conversely, the earth-energy also influences the energies of its inhabitants.

jike-kekkai (地気結界)

Lit.: "earth-energy barrier"; one type of juso-kekkai which is erected for the purpose of manipulating the 'mood' or 'energy' of the earth, which in turn influences all living beings and spirits within its radius. It can be used to brainwash people, as in the case of a saimin-kekkai.

Jikou-ji (慈光寺)

Lit. Light of Mercy Temple

A temple of the Shingon school of Esoteric Buddhism located in the suburbs of Sendai. The head abbot of the temple is Kokuryou Keinosuke.

The temple is likely fictional. There are real temples named "Jikou", but apparently none in Sendai.

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).

Kakizaki Haruie (柿崎晴家)
? - 1578?

Titles: Izumi no Kami

Historically: the son of Kakizaki Kageie. He was sent to Odawara Castle in Sagami when the Kenshin and the Houjou clans struck a peace treaty in an exchange of hostages with Houjou Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora). The fate of Kakizaki Haruie was unknown when his father was accused of treason. There are theories that he either died in 1575 along with his father, or that he was murdered by Uesugi Kagekatsu's faction in 1578 during the Otate no Ran.

In Mirage of Blaze: He was one of Uesugi Kagetora's most loyal followers as well as the leader of his faction in the Otate no Ran, and was killed by Uesugi Kagekatsu's followers. He is now one of the Yasha-shuu under Kagetora's command. Haruie possesses female bodies (the only member of the Yasha-shuu to do so) in search of a lover who died two hundred years ago.

Of the Yasha-shuu, he is the one who excels most at the spiritual sensing ability called reisa.

Kamakura Shogunate (鎌倉幕府)

A military dictatorship which ruled Japan from 1185 (formally recognized in 1192) to 1333. The Kamakura Shogunate began when Minamoto no Yoritomo seized power from the imperial court in 1158 and made himself de factor ruler of the country. This militant goverment gave rise to a powerful warrior class, which had previously been considered subordinate and inferior.

After Yoritomo's death, Houjou Tokimasa, head of the Houjou Clan, claimed the title of regent over Yoritomo's son and heir Minamoto no Yoriie. He eventually made the title hereditary, and the Houjou Clan became the real power behind the shogunate. in 1333, the Kamakura Shogunate came to an end when its most powerful general, Ashikaga Takauji, sided with the emperor and destroyed the Houjou Clan. Ashikaga Takauji then established the Ashikaga Shogunate.

Kamakura-jidai (鎌倉時代)
1185 - 1333

A feudalistic period in Japan's history during which the Kamakura Shogunate ruled Japan and relegated the emperor and court to ceremonial functions.

kanchou (灌頂)

Lit.: "pour onto the head"; a mikkyou ceremony wherein water is poured onto the head to anoint the successor to a position. Originally from India, where this ceremony was held at the enthronement of a king or the investiture of a crown prince. In Japan, this ceremony was held at the entronement of the Emperor from the Kamakuri Period to the end of the Edo Period.

Kanhou (観法)

One of the intuitive truth-seeking methods of Buddhism where one focuses one's consciousness upon imagining a particular image.

Kansenden (感仙殿)

The mausoleum of Sendai-han's second-generation lord, Date Tadamune, which was burned down in a fire, along with the Zuihouden of Sendai-han's first-generation lord, Date Masamune and the Zenouden of Sendai-han's third-generation lord, Date Tsunamune, in World War II. It was rebuilt in 1985.

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).

Kantou-chihou (関東地方)

Lit.:"East of the Gate", the easternmost of five regions located on Honshuu Island which comprises of the seven prefectures of Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa. This is the most highly developed and industrialized region of Japan and was the heart of feudal power during the Edo Period.

During the Edo Period, the area was also called the "Kanhasshuu" (関八州), or Eight Kantou Provinces: Musashi, Sagami, Kazusa, Shimousa, Awa, Kouzuke, Shimotsuke, and Hitachi.

Katakura Kagetsuna (片倉景綱)
1557 - 1615

Also known as: Katakura Kojuurou Kagetsuna (片倉小十郎景綱)

A military commander of the Sengoku era and hereditary vassal of the Date Clan. The Katakura family traditionally took the nickname of 'Kojuurou', so Katakura Kagetsuna is better known as Katakura Kojuurou.

Kojuurou first served Date Masamune's father, Date Terumune, as a junior page, then became Date Masamune's attendant in 1575. He was later appointed a strategist, and participated in most of Masamune's important wars where he rescued the Date Clan from many tight spots. His wisdom was extolled by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and his name was a byword for loyalty. (He was called 'Katakura Kagetsuna the Wise', and he, along with 'Date Shigezane the Brave', were named 'the twin jewels of the Date'.)

Kojuurou died in 1615 of illness.

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.

Kinrin no hou (金輪の法)

Lit.: "Method of metal rings"; a Dakiniten spell using spirit foxes to induce mass hypnotic suggestion. In ancient times, performed at the emperor's enthronement.