Search glossary

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.

Akita-ken (秋田県)

A prefecture located in the Northeast Region of Japan, ruled by the Satake Clan from 1602 to the late 1800s.

Amida Nyorai (阿弥陀如来)

Also known as: Amitabha, Buddha of Infinite Light and Life

A celestial buddha described in the scriptures of the Mahayana school of Buddhism who became a buddha after achieving infinite merits from good deeds in countless lives as a monk named Dharmakara. He created the Pure Land, where those who called upon him could go after rebirth and be instructed in the Dharma, thereby becoming bodhisattvas and buddhas in their turn.

aniue (兄上)

A more formal way to address an older brother than "onii-san" or its variants; could be translated as "honorable elder brother".

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.

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.

Bishamonten-tou (毘沙門天刀)

The Sword of Bishmonten is an incarnation of Bishamonten, a physical blade which can be summoned only by the general of the Meikai Uesugi Army. It contains the power of «choubuku», and any spirit cut by it is exorcised; however, none-spiritual objects are not harmed by its blade.

Its summoning calls upon Namu Tobatsu Bishamonten with the incantation "on beishiramandaya sowaka". Its dismissal uses the incantation of unsummoning, "on basara bokisha boku."

Chiten (地天)

Also know as: Jiten, Prthivi

One of the 12 Deva Guardians who lives in the highest Heaven in the Plane of Desires, whose direction is downward. She is guardian of the earth, the mother goddess, and her counterpart is Bonten, who is guardian of the upward direction and creator of the universe.

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.

Choukai (長海)

A middle-aged Shugen Houin priest from Mount Haguroview map location who performs the Gouzanze Myouou-hou, one of the dual ceremonies used to neutralize the 'kinrin no hou' curse in Sendai along with his fellow priest Keishun.

Daiitoku Myouou (大威徳明王)

Also known as: Yamantaka Vidya-raja, Conqueror of Death, Vajrabhairava, Rokusokuson (六足尊)—"Venerable Six-Footed One".

One of the Five Great Kings of Wisdom, whose direction is the west. He is the wrathful manifestation of Amida Nyorai and is represented with six faces, six arms, and six legs. He rides a sacred cow or buffalo and is worshipped as a god of victory. He fights pain, poisons, snakes, and dragons.

Sometimes represented with the makouin/bakouin, or "horse-mouth mudra" (馬口印).

His wisdom is the pratyaveksana-jnana (妙観察智), or "wisdom of wondrous observation".

Daiitoku Myouou-hou (大威徳明王法)

The ritual of Daiitoku Myouou, the King of Wisdom of the West, one of the joint spells used to neutralize the kinrin no hou of Dakiniten-hou.

Daijizaiten (大自在天)

Also known as: Mahesvara, Mahabharata, Shiva

One of the aspects of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, who was adopted into Buddhism as a protector of Buddhist teachings and one of the Juuniten. According to Esoteric Buddhism, he was vanquished by Gouzanze Myouou, the conqueror of earthly desires, for deluding earthly beings with his religious doctrines.

daimyo (大名)

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

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-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.

Diamond Realm (金剛界)

Also known as: Kongoukai, Vajradhatu

A metaphysical space inhabited by the Five Wisdom Kings described in the Diamond Crown Sutra. It represents the wisdom of Mahavairocana, which with the hardness and purity of diamonds can crush all earthly desires and illusions.

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.

Fudou Myouou (不動明王)

Also known as: Acala, Acalanatha Vidya-raja, The Immovable

Fudou Myouou is the chief of the Five Great Kings of Wisdom, whose direction is the center. He is the destroyer of delusion and protector of Buddhism; he is called The Immovable because he is unmoved by carnal temptations. He seeks to transform anger into salvation, and is usually depicted as a fiercely-scowling figure with a demon-subduing sword in one hand and a rope in the other. He is worshiped as a manifestation of Dainichi Nyorai.

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.

Godai Myouou (五大明王)

Also know as: godaison (五大尊)

Lit.: "Five Great Kings of Wisdom"; the five kings are fierce/wrathful deities who correspond to the five directions: Fudou Myouou is in the center, Gouzanze Myouou in the east, Gundari Myouou in the south, Daiitoku Myouou in the west, and Kongouyasha Myouou in the north. Their wisdom is contained in dharani and mantras.

The Five Wisdom Kings live in the Diamond Realm.

goma-dan (護摩壇)

Lit.: "Rite of Buddhist cedar-stick burning platform"; enormous pyres used in Esoteric Buddhism for public prayer, made up of thousands of cedar wooden sticks with inscriptions of people's prayers. These rites originated in India as a way of making offerings to the gods.

There are various types of goma rituals, including those used for prayers for good health, fortune, and peace, as well as those used for exorcisms and summoning the protection of the gods.

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.

Gouzanze Myouou (降三世明王)

Also known as: Trailokyavijaya Vidya-raja, Conqueror of the Three Worlds

One of the Five Great Kings of Wisdom, whose direction is the east, his name signifies victory over enemies of the three worlds of the manifested universe, which are the celestial, earthly, and infernal realms. He is a wrathful god whose color is blue. He is generally depicted with three faces, eight arms, and two of his hands crossed at his breast in the mudra known as vajrahumkara (dairikikei 大力契, or "vow of immense strength" in Japanese).

His wisdom is the adarsa-jnana (大円鏡智), or "great perfect mirror wisdom", which is the wisdom to clearly elucidate all things.

Gouzanze Myouou-hou (降三世明王法)

The ritual of Gouzanze Myouou, the King of Wisdom of the East, used to neutralize the kinrin no hou of Dakiniten-hou.

Gundari Myouou (軍荼利明王)

Also known as: Kundali

One of the Five Great Kings of Wisdom, whose direction is the south.

His wisdom is the samata-jnana (平等性智), or "wisdom of equality".

Haguro-san (羽黒山)

One of the three sacred mountains of Dewa, a major pilgrimage destination for followers of Shugendou. It contains a 600-year old Five-Story Pagoda, built of wood without a single nail.

Hara dobou onbokken shutan sirii


A mantra of Daizuigu, also known as the "Kisshou Joudouhen" (吉祥浄土変), or "Happiness Pure Land Depiction" mantra, it calls upon Daizuigu for aid: "Daizuigu bodhisattva, destroyer of evil, let this impure earth become the Pure Land, bring salvation to the agony of Hell, and call happiness upon us."

Hirose-gawa (広瀬川)

A river that flows around Aoba Castle and Sendai City.


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.

Houin (法印)

Lit.: "Seal of the Law", a title given to Buddhist clergy of the highest rank.

Hyoujougawara-bashi (評定河原橋)

A bridge across the Hirose Riverview map location in Sendai which first spanned the river in 1636.

jichinhou (地鎮法)

Lit.: "earth-tranquilizing method"; a spell that neutralizes an invocation of the dead.

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.

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.

Kamaitachi (窮奇/鎌鼬/かまいたち)

Also known as: cutting whirlwind, razor whirlwind

A wind demon commonly depicted in Japanese folklore as a trio of weasels with sharp claws, riding on a gust of wind to cut into the skin of their victims at lightning speed.

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).

Karin-dan (火輪壇)

Lit.: "fire-wheel platform"; a triangular goma platform constructed for the neutralization of the 'kinrin no hou' curse. Its colors are blue, black, and red.