Search glossary

Ame-Ichi (飴市)

The Candy Fair Festival which is held in Matsumoto in the second weekend in January, formerly a salt fair.

Azumino-shi (安曇野市)

A city located in Nagano Prefecture.

bai ()

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

Bon-Bon (ぼんぼん)

Also known as: O-Bon (お盆), Aoyama-sama (青山様), Festival of the Dead, Lantern Festival

The O-Bon, or Lantern Festival, originates from the legend of the Buddhist monk Mogallana, who dances for joy when he rescues his mother from the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. This dance became the O-Bon, or "season of gathering joy", symbolizing a way to both welcome and bid farewell to departed loved ones. It is traditionally held July 13 July 15 in the eastern part of Japan and in August in the western part.

The Bon-Bon in the city of Matsumoto includes some traditions particular to the region; boys carrying a shrine of cedar leaves parade through the city while girls wearing yukatas walk along with red paper lanterns and sing.

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.

Daimonzawa-gawa (大門沢川)

Lit: Great Gates Marsh River; one of the principle rivers of Matsumoto. Although small, it flows through the heart of Matsumoto and is intimately known to its residents. Its head lies at Keshibouzu-yama, and at its tail joins with Narai River.

daimyo (大名)

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

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.

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.

gyuudon (牛丼)

Lit.: "beef bowl": a Japanese dish consisting of rice covered with beef and onion simmered in a mildly sweet sauce flavored with soy sauce and mirin. It's a very popular dish in Japan, where it can be found in many restaurants and fast food chains.

hitobashira (人柱)

Lit.: "human pillar"; human sacrifices made to the gods during the construction of dikes, bridges, castles, etc. with the hope that the building would be protected against floods, invaders, and the like. The sacrifice is made by burying the person alive.

Imagawa Yoshimoto (今川義元)
1519 - 1560

Titles: Mikawa no Kami, Suruga no Kami

Historically: The warlord of Suruga who invaded the Houjou of Sagami and the Oda of Owari. Later, allied with the Houjou and Takeda clans, he brought about the golden days of the Imagawa clan. In 1560 he marched on Kyoto with 27,000 men but was defeated by Oda Nobunaga in the battle of Okehazama and killed. The Imagawa clan fell apart and lost all of its holdings to the Takeda and Tokugawa clans.

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.

Joukyou Gimin Memorial (貞享義民記念館)

A memorial hall located in Azumino, Nagano, founded in 1992 to honor the selfless spirit of those who died in the Kasuke Uprising.

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.

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.

Karuizawa-machi (軽井沢町)

Lit.: Light Well Marsh; a town in Nagano Prefecture located at the foot of Mount Asama which is a popular mountain resort for Tokyo residents, offering outdoor activies and a historic shopping street.

Kasuke Ikki (加助一揆)

The Kasuke Ikki, or Kasuke Uprising, was a revolt led by farmers in Matsumoto-han against an increase of taxes. Matsumoto-han was already charging its farmers a higher tax than its neighboring domains. In 1686, during the early part of the Edo Period, the tax in Matsumoto was raised to 3 to 5 shou (around 63 liters) from 3 shou (around 54 liters) due to financial difficulties, versus the standard 2 to 5 shou (around 45 liters) in surrounding areas.

This meant that farmers in Matsumoto were paying almost half again what farmers in other areas were paying, a considerable difference. The harvest had been poor that year, and the farmers rose in revolt. Tada Kasuke, the headman of Nakagaya village in Matsumoto-han, submitted a petition to have the tax lowered to 2 to 5 shou, and around 10,000 peasants marched on Matsumoto Castle on Oct. 14, 1686 in support of the petition.

The daimyo of Matsumoto, Mizuno Tadanao, who was at his Edo residence at the time, promised that he would lower taxes to placate the farmers. However, he later went back on his promise and on Nov. 22, 1686 executed 28 farmers as the ringleaders of the uprising, including Kasuke, his 12- and 10-year-old sons, and his younger brother.

kyuuryoku-kekkai (吸力結界)

Lit. "power-absorbing barrier": a unique barrier which absorbs the «power» of anyone trapped inside such that they cannot call upon their spiritual abilities. The maker of the barrier must put considerable negative energy, such as anguish and enmity, into its creation, either from him/herself or from other souls.

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.

Metoba-gawa (女鳥羽川)

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

Mori Ranmaru (森蘭丸)
1565 - 1582

Also called: Mori Nagasada (森長定), possibly Shigetoshi (成利), Nagayasu (長康)

Historically: A vassal of Oda Nobunaga who served as his attendant from
an early age. His father, Mori Yoshinari, was also a vassal of Oda Nobunaga. Favored by Nobunaga for his talent and loyalty, he also followed the tradition of shudo with his liege-lord. He and his three younger brothers died with Nobunaga at the Honnou-ji on June 21, 1582.

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.

Nakagaya-mura (中萱村)

The village where Tada Kasuke was headman, now a district of Azumino City in Nagano.

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.

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.

Nawate-doori (なわて通り)

A street running along the northern bank of the Metoba River in Matsumoto full of small old-fashioned shops.

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.

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!"

Oana Zenbee (小穴善兵衛)

One of the ringleaders of the Kasuke Uprising executed with Tada Kasuke, from Nire Village. His daughter Jun was also executed.

onryou (怨霊)

Lit.: "vengeful ghost"; the spirits of those who died in the Sengoku period who are still so filled with rage and hatred that they continue to exist in the world as vengeful spirits instead of being purified and reborn.

Otate no Ran (御館の乱)

Lit.: "War of the Castle". The Otate no Ran was the name given to the intra-clan war fought between Uesugi Kagekatsu and Uesugi Kagetora, both adopted sons of Uesugi Kenshin, for succession to the position of head of the Uesugi Clan after Kenshin died. The war bifurcated the Uesugi commanders and in the end significantly weakened Uesugi's power. The "Otate", or "Castle/Mansion" refers to the residence Uesugi Kenshin built for the Kantou Kanrei, Uesugi Norimasa, near Kasugayama Castle. He used it as a government office after Norimasa passed on the title to him and the lands around Kasugayama Castle were developed.

On March 9th in the 6th year of Tenshou (April 15th, 1578), Uesugi Kenshin collapsed at Kasugayama Castle's privy from an "unforeseen nervous weakness" (some speculate poison or assassination) and died on the 13th (April 19th, 1578) without ever regaining consciousness.

Traditionally, it is held that he died without ever deciding on an heir. Some point to evidence such as Uesugi Kagetora accompanying him on shrine visits at the New Year and not being forced to perform military service (though proof of the latter is sketchy), to support theories that Kenshin favored Kagetora. It is evident that Kagetora, who was adopted from the mighty Houjou Clan, ruler of the Kantou, had unshakeable standing within the Uesugi Clan even after the Echigo-Sagami Alliance fell apart in 1571.

On the other hand, Kenshin had conferred the highest military powers within the Uesugi family on Kagekatsu, and the Uesugi retainers used similar titles for Kenshin and Kagekatsu.

Pointing to some of the above reasons, many historians argue that Kenshin had intended to pass the title of Kantou Kanrei and position of clan head of the Sannai-Uesugi Clan to Kagetora while making Kagekatsu the master of Echigo and the head of the Echigo-Uesugi Clan. There is no way of telling based on current evidence which would have been the sole heir.

In any case, a dispute over the rightful heir to Kenshin arose between Kagekatsu and Kagetora immediately. Kagekatsu moved first. On the day following Kenshin's death, Kakizaki Haruie, viewed as being in the Kagetora faction, was assassinated (there is another theory that Haruie was killed before the Otate no Ran, when his father was accused of treason). Also, according to one primary historical record, Kagekatsu moved quickly to occupy the inner citadel, treasury, and armory of Kasugayama Castle, though the exact date is unknown. Kagekatsu proclaimed himself the rightful heir in a letter dated March 24th (April 30th) and began attacking Kagetora, barricaded in the Third Wing.

Kagekatsu and Kagetora's forces fought in what is now Jouetsu City on May 5th (June 10th, 1578), and until Kagetora evacuated in the middle of the month, hostilities continued within Kasugayama Castle. During that time, both Kagekatsu and Kagetora tried to win the various Echigo generals to their side.

Commanders committed to Kagekatsu:
- Amakasu Kagemochi: Oumi no Kami
- Higuchi Kanetoyo, Naoe Kanetsugu, Ookuni Saneyori
- Honjou Shigenaga: Echizen no Kami
- Irobe Nagazane: Son of Irobe Katsunaga, master of Hirabayashi Castle
- Joujou Masashige: one of Kenshin's adopted sons, Kagekatsu's brother-in-law, head of the Joujou-Uesugi family
- Kakizaki Noriie: Noto no Kami
- Kanou Hideharu
- Kawada Nagachika: Buzen no Kami
- Murakami Kunikiyo: head of the Yamaura-Uesugi family
- Naoe Nobutsuna: Yamato no Kami, master of Yoita Castle
- Ooishi Tsunamoto: Harima no Kami
- Saitou Tomonobu: Shimotsuke no Kami, master of Akada Castle
- Shibata Nagaatsu, Shibata Shigeie, Ijimino Nobumune
- Suda Mitsuchika
- Yamayoshi Kagenaga: head of the Yamayoshi Clan, master of Koba Castle
- Yasuda Akimoto: head of the Echigo-Yasuda Clan, master of Iiyama Castle
- Yasuda Nagahide: master of Yasuda Castle
- Yoshie Munenobu, Yoshie Kagesuke, Nakajou Kageyasu

Commanders committed to Kagetora:
- Ashina Moritaka: head of the Ashina Clan
- Ayukawa Morinaga: master of Oobasawa Castle
- Daihouji Yoshiuji: head of the Dewa Daihouji Clan
- Horie Munechika (who later betrayed him): Suruga no Kami, master of Samegao Castle
- Honjou Hidetsuna: master of Numata Castle
- Honjou Saneyori
- Houjou Ujimasa, Houjou Ujiteru, Houjou Ujikuni: Kagetora's elder brothers, head and generals of the Houjou Clan
- Kaji Hidetsuna: nephew of Uesugi Kenshin, master of Kaji Castle
- Kanamari Chikatsuna: master of Sanjou Castle
- Kawada Shigechika: Houki no Kami
- Kitajou Takahiro, Kitajou Kagehiro
- Kurokawa Kiyozane: master of Kurokawa Castle
- Nagao Kagenao
- Sanbonji Sadanaga: head of the Sanbonji-Uesugi Clan, master of Fudouzan Castle, Iyo no Kami
- Shimodaira Shurinosuke: master of Jouhukuji Castle
- Takeda Katsuyori (who was later bribed by Kagekatsu and entered into an alliance with him): head of the Takeda Clan
- Uesugi Norimasa: Kenshin's adopted father, former Kantou Kanrei
- Uesugi Kagenobu: originally Nagao, head of the Koshin-Nagao family
- Uesugi Norishige: son of Uesugi Norimasa

On May 13th (June 18th), with the lines between the commanders drawn, Kagetora finally retreated from the Third Wing to the Otate and requested aid from his brother Houjou Ujimasa while ordering his troops to set fire to the lands around Kasugayama Castle. He attacked Kasugayama Castle with around 6000 troops on May 17th (June 22nd), but was repelled.

He regrouped and attacked again on the 22nd (June 27th) with the same result. Around this time, hostilities between Kagekatsu and Kagetora's forces also began within the broader region. In Kouzuke, Kitajou Takahiro and Kitajou Kagehiro (father and son) sent forth troops with their aim on Kunohe Castle. Kagekatsu had no troops to spare at this point, and Kagetora's side easily took several castles in Miyano and Ogawa. Kagetora's side had completed organization for drawing Houjou troops into Echigo at this point, but since the distance was great, the Houjou requested assistance from their ally Takeda Katsuyori. Katsuyori sent an advance guard of 20,000 under the command of Takeda Nobutoyo, which arrived at the Echigo-Shinshuu border on May 29th (July 4th).

Aside from the Houjou and Takeda, Kagetora also received assistance from Ashina Moritaka. However, Moritaka met dogged resistance from Kagekatsu's forces and was stopped in his tracks. Still, Kagetora held the advantage at this point. The only problem: Ujimasa had little interest in moving to the offensive.

Kagekatsu, at a disadvantage now that he was being attacked from three directions, took a big gamble. He sent an advance guard to Katsuyori's camp offering a large amount of money and Kouzuke's rice fields in exchange for a Kagekatsu-Takeda alliance. How Kagekatsu knew that Katsuyori was painfully short on funds after his ignominious defeat at the Battle of Nagashino to Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu is unknown. Katsuyori arrived at Kaidu Castle and conferred with Nobutoyo. He entered into an alliance with Kagekatsu on June 12th (July 16th).

Now that Kagekatsu's side had successfully bought Takeda, they no longer needed to watch their backs. On the day the alliance was made Kagekatsu took Noumine Castle, allowing him to communicate with Sakato Castle from Kasugayama Castle. On the following day, Kagetora's side lost Uesugi Kagenobu, and their situation worsened day by day. Kagekatsu pressed towards various castles held by Kagetora's forces in Ecchuu. Katsuyori continued peace negotiations with Kagekatsu at full tilt; they were concluded on June 29th (August 2nd), and he withdrew his troops on August 28th (September 29th).

In the following month, Ujimasa finally began moving in earnest. Houjou Ujiteru and Houjou Ujikuni set out for Echigo by Ujimasa's command. They crossed Mikuni Pass and took Kabasawa Castle, within striking distance of Sakato Castle. However, the castle was well-guarded by Kagekatsu's forces, and with the onset of winter the Houjou forces could not advance to Kasugayama.

Finally, with Ujikuni and Takahiro left behind to guard Kabasawa Castle and Kagehiro acting as rear guard, they retreated. The Takeda forces, withdrawing from the lands around Kasugayama Castle, loitered between Kasugayama/Otate and Sakato Castle, in the end acting as a deterrent against Kagetora and Houjou forces. At the end of the year (January in the Gregorian calendar) Kagekatsu married Katsuyori's younger sister.

Having skillfully removed external threats and gathered support within the clan, Kagekatsu decided that the internal war would be resolved before the snow thawed. On the other hand, Kagetora was losing both supporters and castles. On February 2nd (February 27, 1579) Kagekatsu ordered a general offensive against Kagetora at Otate. Kagehiro was killed.

Kagekatsu recaptured Kabasawa Castle from the Houjou. Kagetora escaped from Otate and, with no hope of relief from the Houjou, who were blocked off by snow, sent his eldest son along with Kenshin's adopted father Uesugi Norimasa to negotiate for peace. On the way to Kagekatsu's camp, they were surrounded by Kagekatsu's troops and killed (there are accounts that the order actually came from Kasugayama Castle). On his flight from Otate towards the Kantou, Kagetora stopped at Samegao Castle. There he was betrayed by its master, Horie Munechika, and committed suicide along with his family on March 24th (April 19th, 1579).

Though Kagekatsu won the internal war, he would continue to face resistance from Honjou Hidetsuna, Kanamari Chikatsuna and others, and would not have total control of the clan until a year later.

The Otate no Ran would become one of the underlying reasons for the destruction of the Takeda Clan and the drastic decline of the Uesugi Clan's power.

<small>Note: Japanese dates given in this entry are based on the lunar calendar; Gregorian Calendar dates in () were calculated using <a href="">NengoCalc</a>.</small>

reisa (霊査)

Also known as: reisa-nouryoku (霊査能力)

Lit.: "Spiritual investigation"; the ability to use the spiritual senses to distinguish between residual thought signatures, and thus recognize spiritual entities. A person with a high-level form of this ability could potentially recognize souls by the pattern of their "soul-nucleus", which is the part of the soul that remains unchanged through purification and rebirth, especially if they had met that person before previously. Haruie and Kousaka both excel at this ability, though Kousaka seems to be one of the few to possess a very high-level form of it.

Sanjou-no-Kata (三条の方)
1521? - 1570

Historically: Second daughter of Sanjou Kinyori, Minister of the Left and second legal wife of Takeda Shingen, a woman of courtly blood who was mother of his original heir, Takeda Yoshinobu as well as two other sons and two daughters (the older of whom married Houjou Ujimasa). Her name is literally written as "person of Sanjou (Clan)".

She was described as a great beauty and fervent in her devotion to Buddhism. Since Shingen eventually named the grandson of a concubine heir to the clan, it is thought that Sanjou and Shingen did not get along.

In Mirage of Blaze: She and Kousaka Masanobu break the barrier over Takeda Shingen's tomb, the Maenduka, and attempt to resurrect Shingen by using Narita Yuzuru as a vessel for his spirit. She herself takes over the body of Takeda Yuiko but is exorcised by Takaya and Naoe with kouhou-choubuku.

Sendai-shi (仙台市)

The capital city of Miyagi Prefecture, it is also the largest city in the northeast region of Japan. It is home to one million people, and is aptly nicknamed Mori no Miyako, the Capital of Trees.

Sengoku (戦国)

The "warring states" period, lasting from 1467 to 1615, in which the warlords of Japan battled each other for the rule of the country.

Shinshuu (信州)

Abbreviated name for Shinano, an ancient province in central Japan.

Shinshuu Daigaku (信州大学)

Also known as: Shindai (信大)

Shinshuu University is a Japanese national university located in Nagano Prefecture with five campuses, one of which is located in Matsumoto City. It was founded in 1949. The Arts and Humanities, Medicine, and Science departments are located in Matsumoto.

Shio-Ichi (塩市)

An ancient name for Matsumoto, which means "Salt City". The name comes from a story of the Sengoku.

Kai, Takeda Shingen's territory, was a land-locked region which had to import salt from other territories. These rival territories decided to cut off Shingen's salt supply, and Shingen's people suffered. Uesugi Kenshin, whose territory of Echigo bordered the sea, sent him salt on oxen-back with a letter attached: "I fight you, but I fight with bow and arrow, not with rice and salt." The salt arrived on Jan. 10th, 1568, and a festival was held in Matsumoto to celebrate its arrival.

This festival has now become the Ame-Ichi.

Shugendou (修験道)

Lit.: "The path of discipline and trial"; a Japanese religious school incorporating Shinto and Buddhist concepts which prays for the divine protection of the gods, with the ultimate goal of gaining supernatural powers through mountain ascetics. It holds that enlightenment is obtained by the study of the relationship between Man and Nature and was founded by Ozunu Enno around 650-700 CE.

Suwa-ko (諏訪湖)

The largest lake in Nagano Prefecture, Lake Suwa extends into the cities of Suwa and Okayashi, and Shimosuwa Town of Suwa County. It has many surrounding natural hot springs and is a designated Protected Lake.

It is said that Takeda Shingen's will stated that he was to be laid to rest in a stone coffin with his armor in Lake Suwa.

Another legend associated with Lake Suwa is the Omiwatari (御神渡), or God's Crossing/Divine Crossing. In the legend, the god Takeminakata-no Mikoto leaves his home in the Kamisha to visit his consort, the goddess Yasakatome-no Mikoto in the Shimosha, six miles away, by crossing over the frozen surface of the lake. The ice cracks with a large booming sound and juts upward. This phenomenon was observed in 2004 and on Jan. 10, 2006, where the ice thrusted up to a height of around 60 centimeters.

Tada Kasuke (多田加助)
? - 1686

The headman of Nakagaya village in Matsumoto who submitted a petition to lower taxes in Matsumoto to the same level as that of surrounding areas, thus inciting the Kasuke Uprising. He was one of the 28 ringleaders executed, along with his two sons and younger brother.

It was said that as he was being crucified, Kasuke set a curse against Matsumoto Castle, whose main tower began to tilt from that time and remained tilted until its major renovation in the 1950s.

He was enshrined in 1736, fifty years after the uprising, in a small shrine within the Kasuke home. Two hundred years after his death, the Joukyou Gimin Shrine was built in his hometown (now Sankyou Nakagaya in Azumino), and his and the remains of twelve other people executed with him were transferred there. In 1992 the Joukyou Gimin Memorial was founded.

Takeda Katsuyori (武田勝頼)
1546 - 1582

Also known as: Suwa Katsuyori (諏訪勝頼)

Fourth son of Takeda Shingen. His mother was not Sanjou, but Suwa Goryounin, the daughter of the head of a defeated clan, Suwa Yorishige, Shingen's concubine. He was originally kept out of the line succession to the Takeda clan by being made head of the Suwa Clan. However, when Shingen's heir, Takeda Yoshinobu was found plotting against his father and ordered to commit suicide, Shingen named Katsuyori's son, Nobutatsu, his heir and Katsuyori guardian. Katsuyori took over rule of the Takeda clan when his father died.

Katsuyori was decribed as a brave and exceptionally skilled fighter, but lacking in strategy when he took over the Takeda army. In 1578, during the Otate no Ran, he betrayed his allies the Houjou clan and took Uesugi Kagekatsu's side, thus adding the Houjou to his list of enemies. He was increasing unpopular with the people of Kai due to heavy drafts caused by defeats in battle with the Oda, Tokugawa, and Houjou clans.

In 1582 Kai and Shinano were invaded by the combined arms of Oda, Tokugawa, and Houjou. Most of Katsuyori's troops abandoned him, and he committed suicide.

Takeda Shingen (武田信玄)
1521 - 1573

Also called: Takeda Katsuchiyo, Takeda Harunobu
Title: Shinano no Kami

Historically: Daimyo of Kai who became the head of the Takeda clan by rebelling against his father. Conquered Shinano and fought against Uesugi Kenshin. The two clans clashed five times on the plains of Kawanakajima, where neither gained complete victory until Shingen died of illness in his campaign against Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu.