Search glossary

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.

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.

cakraratna (輪宝)

The cakraratna is a wheel-shaped treasure possessed by the ideal universal ruler who rules ethically and benevolently over the entire world (the Chakravartin). It is carried in front of him to destroy his enemies and allow easy passage, and is a symbol worshiped in Buddhism.

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.

Chuuzenji-ko (中禅寺湖)

Lake Chuuzenji, located in Nikkou National Park in the city of Nikkouview map location, Tochigi Prefecture, is one of Japan's 100 famous views. It is the 25th largest lake in Japan and drains through the Kegon Falls.

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".

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.

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.

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.

Emishi (蝦夷)

A group of people constituting several tribes who lived in northeastern Honshuu, possibly indigenous and descended from the Joumon people and/or related to the Ainu, ethnically separate from the Japanese with their own language.

Some tribes became allies of the Japanese, while others were hostile. In warfare they engaged in guerilla tactics with horse archery and hit-and-runs, which were effective against the less mobile Imperial infantry until early Japanese warriors adopted these strategies as well. Though efforts to subjugate the Emishi in the 8th Century were initially unsuccessfully, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro succeeded in his campaigns against the Emishi, beginning the gradual submission of tribes and the conquest of their lands.

Fuji-san (富士山)

Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, an active volcano, and one of its "Three Holy Mountains," frequently depicted in literature and art. It is popular tourist and mountain-climbing destination.

Fuuma Kotarou (風魔小太郎)

Historically: The name Fuuma Kotarou was given to each leader of the Fuuma Clan/organization of ninjas which served the Later Houjou Clan, starting with its first leader. The clan started information-gathering and espionage activities in the time of Houjou Souun, the founder of the Later Houjou Clan. The clan name began as 風間, composed of the characters for "wind" and "space", but was changed to its present form, a homophone composed of the characters for "wind" and "evil/demonic/magical."

In its 100 years of service to the Houjou Clan, the most renowned Fuuma Kotarou was the fifth, who served Houjou Ujimasa and his son Houjou Ujinao (unknown - 1603). Stories say that he was 7'1". One of his most famous exploits was in 1580 and the Battle of Kise-gawa, during which he slipped into the enemy camp at night and caused mass chaos. Another famous ninja, Ninokuruwa Isuke, also belonged to the Fuuma Clan.

After the destruction of the Houjou Clan, Kotarou and the Fuuma Clan became thieves near Edo. Kotarou was captured and executed in 1603 from information given by Kousaka Jinai, another ninja-turned-thief who formerly served the Takeda Clan.

In Mirage of Blaze: Fuuma Kotarou leads the Fuuma ninjas in service to the Houjou Clan. He is described as a tall, slender man with broad shoulders and a muscular but supple body. He wears his hair long, tied in a woven tail that reaches to his waist.

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.

Hakone-en (箱根園)

Hakone-en is a cottage/botanical garden/aquarium/shopping mall complex located on the east bank of Lake Ashi managed until 1996 by Seibu Railway Co., now by Prince Hotel.

Hakone-jinja (箱根神社)

Hakone Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Hakone Town, Kanagawa Prefecture, at the foot of Mt. Hakone along the shores of Lake Ashi. The shrine itself lies hidden in a dense forest, but its large red "floating" shrine gates (Torii of Peace) stand prominently in the lake.

From chronicles stretching back as far as the Nara Period (710-794), Hakone has been named as a spot sacred to the mountain-worshiping religion. The original shrine was founded during the reign of Emperor Koushou (475 BC – 393 BC) on Mt. Komagatake. Holy Priest Mangan revived and relocated the shrine to Lake Ashi in 757. It was separated into three parts dedicated to the deities whom legends says appeared to him in a dream as a Buddhist acolyte, government official and woman and asked him to deliver the grace of the Buddhist and Shinto religions onto mankind.

In the year 801, before general and shogun Sakanoue no Tamuramaro set out on an expedition to quell the Northeast by imperial command, he left an arrow as offering in front of a cedar tree at Hakone Shrine as a prayer for his victory. The tree become known as the Yatate Cedar, or 'Standing Arrow Cedar,' and in later years other legendary generals such as Minamoto no Yoshiie, shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo, and Minamoto no Yoshitsune all left arrows as offerings there.

The shrine was destroyed by fire in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Siege of Odawara and rebuilt by Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Hakone-Kowakien (箱根小涌園)

Hakone-Kowakien is a spa and resort (including hotel and amusement park) located in Hakone Town. It is owned by Fujita Kanko Inc and was developed from the vacation villas of the Mitsui family (one of the most powerful families of merchants and industrialists in Japan whose business dates back to the Edo Era).

Hakone-Yumoto (箱根湯本)

Also known as: Hakone Onsen (Hakone Hot Springs)

Hakone-Yumoto, or Hakone Hots Springs Source, is an area of Hakone Town dotted with hot springs which goes from the foot of Mt. Hakone up to about midway. The area is a designated part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.

The area became famous during Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Siege of Odawara, when the armies gathered from all parts of the country relieved their boredom by visiting the hot springs during the long encampment around the massive Odawara Castle.

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.

Heian-jidai (平安時代)
794 - 1184

Literally: "Era of Peace and Tranquility"; a period in Japanese history in which Chinese influences on Japanese culture, such as Confucianism, were at their height. The imperial court was at the peak of its power, and the capital was moved from Nara to Heian (now Kyoto). This era is greatly admired for its art, including poetry and literature (The Tale of Genji was written during this period). Buddhism, primarily in the form of two esoteric schools, Tendai and Shingon, began to spread throughout Japan.


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.

Horie Munechika (堀江宗親)

Title: Suruga no Kami

A vassal of the Uesugi Clan, master of Samegao Castle.

At the outbreak of the Otate no Ran after Uesugi Kenshin's death, he fought on the side of Uesugi Kagetora with his troops. After the surrender of the clan's main castle, Kasugayama Castle, to Uesugi Kagekatsu, he welcomed Kagetora and his family into Samegao Castle, from which they would attempt to escape into Sagami. But by the time they entered the castle he had already made a secret pact with Yasuda Akimoto to set fire to the outer citadel once Kagetora was in the castle and evacuate. Kagetora and his wife and children committed suicide during Kagekatsu's general offensive thereafter, ending the war.

There have been no records found of what happened to Horie Munechika after the war other than the fact that his territory was seized.

Houjou Gen'an (北条幻庵)
1493 - 1589-11-01

Also known as: 北条菊寿丸, Houjou Nagatsuna (北条長綱)

Historically: A warlord of the Houjou clan in the Sengoku province of Sagami, the fourth and youngest son of Houjou Souun and a concubine from the influential Katsurayama Clan. He entered Kongouou Temple, the bettou-ji (administrative temple) of Hakone Shrine, at a young age and later became its head. He took the name of Gen'an (lit. Phantom hermitage) upon his retirement.

He had three sons, all of whom died before him, and two daughters. He adopted Houjou Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora) as his heir, but the adoption was annulled when Kagetora was sent to Echigo. His grandson Ujitaka (son of his second son) later became his heir.

Houjou Genan was described as a master of horsemanship and archery who led armies, but also a man of culture who was skilled with his hands. He became elder statesman and trusted adviser to Ujiyasu and Ujimasa. He was 97 when he died (though opinions differ); eight months later, the Houjou clan was attacked by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and destroyed.

Houjou Souun (北条早雲)
1432 - Sept. 8, 1519

Also known as: Ise Moritoki (伊勢盛時), Ise Souzui (伊勢宗瑞), Shinkurou (nickname—新九郎), Souunansouzui (Buddhist—早雲庵宗瑞)

Houjou Souun was the founder of the Later Houjou Clan, but he was never known as "Houjou Souun" during his lifetime. His son Houjou Ujitsuna, who succeeded him as clan head, adopted the clan name of Houjou and posthumously named his father Houjou Souun.

Though popularly portrayed as a humble masterless samurai, Souun's father, Ise Morisada, held an important post as an official of the shogunate according to modern-era research. The name of Ise Shinkurou Moritoki appears in written records from 1481, when he was appointed to a company of troops by Ashikaga Yoshihisa. Souun initially served his brother-in-law, Imagawa Yoshitada, and after his death, help his young son Imagawa Ujichika become the next head of the clan. In gratitude, Ujichika gave him Kokokuji Castle and the "uji" character in his name.

Souun took advantage of general unrest in the Eastern Provinces to take Izu Province for himself in 1493 (an event that many scholars mark as the beginning of the Sengoku), then Odawara Castle and Sagami Province in 1495. He died in 1519, leaving his new terrorities and the clan to his son Houjou Ujitsuna.

Houjou Ujikuni (北条氏邦)
1541 - Sept. 19, 1597

Also known as: Fujita Awa-no-Kami (藤田安房守), Fujita Ujikuni (藤田氏邦)
Title: Awa-no-Kami

Houjou Ujikuni was the fourth-born son of Houjou Ujiyasu (third son to survive childhood), younger brother of Houjou Ujimasa and Houjou Ujiteru, and older brother of Houjou Ujinori, Houjou Ujitada, Houjou Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora), and Houjou Ujimitsu.

He married Ofukugozen, daughter of Fujita Yasukuni of Musashi (a vassal of the Houjou Clan who had years before submitted under attack) and was adopted as heir to the Fujita Clan. He later adopted his older brother Ujimasa's 6th son, Houjou Naosada.

Like his brother Ujiteru, Ujikuni was known for his courage and wise governance. He was entrusted with the military affairs of the front line of the North Kantou, Kouduke-no-kuni and distinguished himself in battles leading to the expansion of the Houjou territory, though was defeated at the Battle of Mimasetoge in 1569 by Shingen.

Ujikuni's quick temper was said to be one of the contributing factors to the fall of the Houjou Clan. In 1578, he poisoned his brother-in-law Fujita Juuren to ensure his own position, thus earning the hatred of his other brother-in-law, Fujita Nobuyoshi, who entered the service of Takeda Katsuyori and later Uesugi Kagekatsu.

When Odawara Castle fell to Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the Siege of Odawara in 1590, Ujikuni cut off his hair and begged for his life, which he was granted with a fief of 1000 koku in Noto. He lived until the age of 57, when he died of illness at Kanazawa in Kaga (there are also theories that he killed himself).

Houjou Ujimasa (北条氏政)
1538 - Aug. 10, 1590

Title: Sagami no Kami
Also known as: Matsuchiyomaru (松千代丸—childhood), Shinkurou (新九郎—nickname), 慈雲院松巌傑公 (posthumous)

Ujimasa was born in 1538 as the second son of Houjou Ujiyasu and his principle wife Zuikeiin, daughter of Imagawa Ujichika, and was older brother of Houjou Ujiteru, Houjou Ujikuni, Houjou Ujinori, Houjou Ujitada, Houjou Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora), and Houjou Ujimitsu. He became heir to the clan when his older brother Shinkurou died before reaching adulthood.

Ujimasa married Oubaiin, eldest daughter of Takeda Shingen and Sanjou-no-Kata, on the occasion of the three-way alliance between the Takeda, Imagawa, and Houjou clans in 1554. Their marriage was thought to be a happy one.

Ujimasa succeeded his father as the fourth head of the Sagami Houjou Clan in 1559 upon Ujiyasu's retirement. His first task upon becoming heir of the clan, per clan convention, was a a land survey evaluating how the Houjou lands were being used and the condition of the people serving on those lands. His relationship with his brothers was good throughout, and they were be a huge help to him in the governing of the clan.

In 1561, Uesugi Masatora (Uesugi Kenshin) of Echigo laid siege to Odawara Castle with a huge army gathered from the Kantou and south Mutsu. Under the leadership of his father Ujiyasu, Ujimasa was able to drive back the army. After the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima, he was able to take back a large part of North Kantou from the Uesugi in concert with Shingen.

In 1568, seizing the opportunity presented by the decline of the Imagawa Clan after Imagawa Yoshimoto's death at Oda Nobunaga's hand, Takeda Shingen invaded Suruga, laying siege to Yoshimoto's heir, Imagawa Ujizane in Kakegawa Castle. Ujimasa led the Houjou forces to repel the Takeda army and formed an alliance with Tokugawa Ieyasu of Mikawa in order to rescue Ujizane (his brother-in-law by way of his younger sister Hayakawadono). Ujimasa then had Ujizane adopt his son Ujinao as his heir, thus giving the Houjou Clan a legitimate claim to the territory of Suruga. In order to hold back Takeda, he formed an alliance with his old enemy Uesugi Kenshin, giving his younger brother Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora) as hostage. The severing of ties with the Takeda Clan, however, meant the dissolution of his marriage with his beloved wife Oubaiin.

In 1569, Takeda Shingen laid siege to Odawara Castle, delivering a crushing defeat to the Houjou Clan (though recent analysis by historians indicate that Shingen lost a great many men as well). In 1570, Suruga belonged almost wholly to Shingen.

In October of 1571 upon his father's death, Ujimasa broke off his alliance with Kenshin and reformed the alliance with Shingen in accordance with his father's will, after which fighting between the Houjou and Uesugi clans flared up again.

Kenshin's death in 1578 triggered a fight for succession to the Uesugi Clan between his two adopted sons, Uesugi Kagekatsu and Uesugi Kagetora (the Otate no Ran). Ujimasa was tied up at that time in a confrontation with Satake Yoshishige and Utsunomiya Kunitsuna in Shimotsuke, so sent his brother Houjou Ujikuni to their brother's aid in his place while asking Takeda Katsuyori for reinforcements. Katsuyori betrayed the Houjou and formed an alliance with Uesugi Kagekatsu, and the Otate no Ran ended with Kagetora's death and Kagekatsu's succession.

Ujimasa broke off the alliance with the Takeda clan a second time and formed an alliance with Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu to attack the Takeda territory in a pincer movement, but shifting alliances and hard fighting left the conclusion unclear. In 1580 Ujimasa proposed to Oda Nobunaga, who had just taken Ishiyama Hongan Temple, that the Houjou Clan become a vassal of the Oda Clan, but Takeda Katsuyori managed to form an alliance with Oda first. Ujimasa retired from the position of clan head in the same year, but like his father before him still held onto the government and military affairs of the clan.

In the following years, the Houjou Clan managed to gain control over a vast territory: Sagami, Izu, Musashi, Shimousa, Kazusa, Hitara, Shimotsuke, and a part of Suruga. Interestingly, however, Ujimasa did not seem to hold the ambition of ruling the entire country, a tradition passed down from the founder of the Late Houjou Clan, Houjou Souun. Instead, Ujimasa concentrated on independence for the 8 Kantou provinces under Houjou rule and alliances with other strong warlords such as Tokugawa Ieyasu and Date Masamune.

In 1589, using Ujimasa's refusal to proceed to the capital to attend him as pretext, Toyotomi Hideyoshi gathered an army of 220,000 to lay siege to Odawara Castle. It overran castles in the Houjou territory in quick succession. The siege against Odawara Castle lasted from May to August. On August 4, Ujimasa offered to surrender his life for the lives of his men. Toyotomi demanded the lives of both Ujimasa and his brother Ujiteru, as well as the lives of their vassals Matsuda Norihide and Daidouji Masashige. Ujimasa and Ujiteru committed seppuku on August 10.

Ujimasa left behind the following tanka verses for his death poem:

「雨雲の おほえる月も 胸の霧も はらいにけりな 秋の夕風」
「我身今 消ゆとやいかに おもふへき 空よりきたり 空に帰れば」

translated (Sadler 1978, pp. 160–161):

Autumn wind of eve,
blow away the clouds that mass
over the moon's pure light
and the mists that cloud our mind,
do thou sweep away as well.

Now we disappear,
well, what must we think of it?
From the sky we came.
Now we may go back again.
That's at least one point of view.

There is another verse which is sometimes attributed to his brother Ujiteru, but is most often attributed to Ujimasa:

「吹くと吹く 風な恨みそ 花の春 もみじの残る 秋あればこそ」

which may be translated:

The wind's resentment—
Oh, see how it blows against
The flowering spring.
Yet it will leave us anon
The bright colors of autumn.

Houjou Ujinori (北条氏規)
1545 - Mar. 22, 1600

Title: Mino no-Kami

Houjou Ujinori was the fifth-born son of Houjou Ujiyasu (fourth son to survive childhood), younger brother of Houjou Ujimasa, Houjou Ujiteru, and Houjou Ujikuni, and older brother of Houjou Ujitada, Houjou Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora), and Houjou Ujimitsu. He was the master of Misaki Castle in Sagami and chamberlain of Nirayama Castle in Izu. He married Kougen'in, the daughter of Houjou Tsunashige.

As a child, Ujinori was sent to Suruga as a hostage of Imagawa Yoshimoto. It was said that he became friends with Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was also a hostage in Suruga at the time, during this period. He returned to the clan somewhere in the period between 1558-1570, and in 1571 was again sent as hostage to the Takeda Clan in Kai along with his younger brother Houjou Ujitada.

Though his brothers Ujiteru and Ujikuni were known for their diplomatic skills, Ujinori surpassed both of them. This finesse was evident in his negotiations with Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Katsuyori, and later in alliances with Tokugawa Ieyasu, Date Masamune, and the Ashina Clan. Tokugawa Ieyasu saw Ujinori as his window into the Houjou Clan, and communicated with him extensively.

Ujinori journeyed to the capital several times to negotiate with Toyotomi Hideyoshi as his brother Ujimasa's representative, but these negotiations failed, and Hideyoshi attacked Odawara Castle in 1590. Ujinori withstood siege from Hideyoshi's army for 3 months, but finally surrendered on Ieyasu's recommendation. He was also given the role of persuading his brother Ujimasa to surrender.

After the battle, Ujinori followed Houjou Ujinao to Mt. Kouya. He was pardoned in 1591 by Hideyoshi and given a territory of 2000-koku, then 6,980-koku in Kawachi and Sayama Castle in 1594. He died of illness at the age of 60, and his son Houjou Ujimori was allowed the continued governance of Sayama-han. His line continued until the Meiji Restoration.

Houjou Ujitaka (北条氏隆)

Houjou Ujitaka was the son of Houjou Tsunashige and grandson of Houjou Gen'an. He was the master of Kuno Castle in Sagami.

In January 1570, when Ujitaka's father died, Houjou Gen'an adopted him as heir in place of Uesugi Kagetora, who was adopted into the Uesugi Clan by Uesugi Kenshin.

After the destruction of the Houjou Clan, Ujitaka followed Houjou Ujinao to Mt. Kouya. He later served the Ikoma Clan of Takamatsu-han and became a monk, though he resided in Kyoto.

Houjou Ujiyasu (北条氏康)
1515 - 1571

Title: Sagami-no-Kami
Also known as: The Tiger of Sagami, The Lion of Sagami

Son of Houjou Ujitsuna and third head of the Late Houjou Clan, one of the greatest daimyo of the Sengoku in both military and political arenas. He expanded the Houjou holdings to five territories and battled both Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin over the Kantou and Suruga regions.

He retired in 1560 and handed over the clan to his eldest son Houjou Ujimasa, but continued to guide the clan until his death of palsey or stomach cancer in 1571. He made an alliance with the Takeda Clan in 1562 and gave over his 7th son, Houjou Saburou, to Takeda Shingen for adoption.

Houjou Ujiyasu was a great admirer of poetry, culture and learning as well as a outstanding administrator who created unique bureaucratic organizations such as litigation processes for the ruling of his lands. He was much beloved of his people and widely mourned at his death.


The seed syllable of Śakra, Lord of the Devas, as well as the God of Thunder.

Iroha-zaka (いろは坂)

Iroha Hill Road is a Japanese national highway (no. 120) which connects Nikkou's Umagae district to the banks of Lake Chuuzenji. The road, actually consisting of two one-way paths, is famous for its hairpin curves. Iroha Hill One, which goes from Lake Chuuzenji to Umagae, contains 28 curves, while Iroha Hill Two, going in the opposite direction, contains 20 curves. Iroha Hill One was established in 1954, Iroha Hill Two in 1965.

The name "Iroha" comes from the poem of the same name which uses each character of the Japanese hiragana exactly once; each of the 48 curves in the road is named after the character which it resembles.

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.

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.

Kegon no Taki (華厳滝)

Kegon Falls is a waterfall located in Nikkou, Tochigi Prefecture, which according to legend was discovered by Shoudou. It was named for the first sutra of Buddhism, the Avatamska Sutra (Kegon-kyou in Japanese). The waterfall is formed by Daiya River, the only river out of Lake Chuuzenji after it was dammed by eruptions on Mount Nantai, falling over a 97-meter cliff. Is it one of Japan's three great waterfalls.

The waterfall is also infamous for suicides, starting with an 18-year-old high school student, Fujimura Misao, who leapt from the waterfall on May 22, 1903 after writing a poem on an oak tree nearby.

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.

Kirifuri Kougen (霧降高原)

Kirifuri (Mist Falls) Plateau is a plateau located to the north of Nikkou City, at the foot of Mt. Nyohou. It is now a resort area with villas and tourist attractions like hiking trails, skiing, and golf courses.

Kirifuri-no-taki (霧降ノ滝)

Kirifuri Falls is a waterfall along the Kirifuri River. Its name, "Mist Falling", comes from the mist of spray formed during the waterfall's descent. Along with Kegon Falls and Urami Falls, it is one of Nikkou's three famous waterfalls.

The waterfall is split into two sections; the upper half is 82 feet (25 meters), while the lower half is 85 feet (26 meters). It spans 246 feet (75 meters). A path goes from the viewing platform on the south side to the basin.

koko (狐蠱)

spirit foxes

Komagatake (駒ヶ岳)

Komagatake is one of the lava domes in the central dome of the Hakone Volcano, formed around 400,000 years ago.

Komagatake can be reached via the Hakone Komagatake Ropeway from the eastern bank of Lake Ashi.

Kosui Katsuri (湖水祭)

The Festival of the Lake Waters at Lake Ashi begins the Hakone Summer Festival Week every year on July 31st. The festival started in ancient times as a ritual sacrifice to the nine-headed dragon which lives in Lake Ashi. In the current form of the festival, boats set out with offerings of red rice which are thrown into the lake with Shinto prayers, followed by a fireworks display.

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.

Kuzuryuu-jinja (九頭竜神社)

The Nine-Headed Dragon Shrine is a sub-shrine to Hakone Shrine. Though there are many shrine dedicated to the Dragon God throughout Japan, the Nine-Headed Dragon Shrine at Hakone is one of the most well-known. It is actually composed of two structures, the main one on the bank of Lake Ashi and another, newly constructed, within the Hakone Shrine complex.

The shrine worships the dragon god of Lake Ashi, formerly a poisonous nine-headed dragon, which was subdued by Holy Priest Mangan and became a guardian deity.

Maitreya dharani

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

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

In Japanese:


Transliterated from Japanese:

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

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

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

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

Mangan-shounin (万巻上人)

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

mikkyou (密教)

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

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

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

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