Onmyōdō: Ancient Magic in Japan (Film, Manga, Anime, Novels and Games)

Fudo-Rieki-Engi (不動利益縁起)
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The magic and mystery of onmyōdō and the onmyōji, who practice the ancient art, are an esoteric combination of Wu XingYin and Yang, Taoism, Buddhism and Shintoism. It came to Japan in the fifth and sixth centuries.

In the popular culture of film, manga, anime novels and video games, there are a host of these magicians and soothsayers, tweaked with extraordinary, supernatural power.

The anime, Ghost  Hunt presents the character, Lin Koujo, an onmyōji, who can exorcise or summons spirits and control shikigami–spirits similar to a witch’s familiar.

In the live-action film and manga, Onmyōji,the fictitious account of the famous, real-life magician, Abe no Seimei, is based on the novel series of the same name.

In the manga, Tokyo Babylon and XSubaru Sumeragi, an onmyōji and his sidekick, the assassin, Seishirō Sakurazuka, eradicate curses and vengeful spirits, evil shadow creatures in modern-day Japan.

In the manga series, Shaman King and the novel, Chō Senji RyakketsuYoh Asakura is an onmyōji and a medium who can communicate between the world of the living and the world of the dead, who spends much of his time hanging out in graveyards. His goal is to hone his skills onmyōdō and win the title of Shaman King.

In the video game and anime, Harukanaru Toki no Naka de, Abe no Yasuaki is a dedicated disciple of Abe no Seimei, the famous onmyōji.

The manga and anime seriesNegima!: Magister Negi Magi, involves a secret cult of onmyōji.

In the award-winning anime series, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, childhood friends Arumi and Sasshi find themselves pulled into another dimension where they learn onmyōdō from the famous wizard, Abe no Seimei.

The novel, Teito Monogatari by Hiroshi Aramata, has an evil onmyōji namedYasunori Kato, who is brought back from the realm of angry and resentful souls of dead mystics. His power surpasses even that of Abe no Seimei.

The anime and manga, Onmyō Taisenki delves into I Ching and Taoism for its magical resources.

The manga seriesAsk Dr. Rin! features a powerful onmyōji named, Takashi Tokiwa who is infatuated with Meilin Kanzaki, a young girl, endowed with Feng shui powers, who can read people’s fortunes and advise them concerning the best way to ensure good luck.

The Playstation fighting game, Evil Zone features an onmyoji named Keiya Tenpouin, “The Man in the Shadow” whose main goal is to kill and claim the power of Ihadulca, who can exist in multiple dimensions at the same time.

The novel, Shōnen Onmyōji is set in the Heian era of historical Japan and portrays the life of  Abe no Masahiro, the youngest grandson of the famous onmyoji, Abe no Seimei, whose greatest desire is to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. .

In the manga and anime series, Steel Angel Kurumi, (an artificial humanoid with superhuman physical abilities) the main protagonist, Nakahito Kagura belongs to a family of onmyoji mystics.

The PlayStation game Final Fantasy Tactics includes a “Job” entitled, Onmyoji, which is translated in the English as “Oracle.” The practicing onmyoji has “Yin-Yang Magic” that can inflict blindness, paralysis or sleep on their opponents.

In the card game, Magic: The Gathering, one of the cards is entitled: Goryo’s Vengeance. The card type is arcane which includes spells represented spells by spirits or kami (Japanese word for spirits and natural forces, used in the Shinto faith).

In the anime, “Tsukuyomi’s Moon Phase,” Hazuki and his mother have the ability to summon a shikigami spirit.

In the horror, survival game, Kuon, the main characters are onmyoji. Most of the magic seals and puzzles are based on onmyõdõ.




Wu Xing


Yin and yang


Taoism in Japan






Abe no Seimei http://en.whikipedia.org/wiki/Abe_no_Seimei

Thirty-six Ghost by Yoshitoshi


Magic: The Gathering:  Goyo’s Vengence http://mtg.wikia.com/wiki/Goryo’s_Vengeance

Three “Brother” Mountains of Dewa (Japan)

日本語: 蜂子神社。山形県鶴岡市大字手向。出羽三山開祖の:蜂子皇子を祀る神社。 Englis...
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Your name is Hachiko, Prince Hachiko. It is the year 593 AD. Your father, Shusun, the emperor of Japan, has been murdered by the Soga clan. You barely escaped with your own life before they could kill you as well. Broken-hearted and afraid, your home stolen by the wicked Soga, you wander  the countryside, almost aimlessly until one morning you wake from your bed on the grassy earth where you fell asleep the night before. You find a three-legged crow watching you sleep. It’s yellow eyes flick back and forth as if carefully examining you.

Intrigued by this strange creature,  you follow it to a place where three brother mountains rise in the near distance. The smallest mountain, the one closest, you name Haguro, “black wings,” in honor of the odd, little bird who led you there. You will always remember the mountain as “birth” since it is the smallest, like a new-born babe and because for the first time in weeks, you feel reborn as if your life has taken on new meaning.

In this uncharted land, you spend many days enduring difficult ascetic exercises as well as a period of penance and mourning for your dead father. Because of your devotion, you are greeted by Haguro Gongen, the deity of the mountain. In honor of the god, you travel to the tallest brother mountain who you then name, Gassan, “Moon Mountain.”

The middle brother is next and you name it, Yudono, the “Forbidden”. Because of your continued devotion, you are greeted by two more deities. Back at Haguro’s summit, you build a beautiful temple dedicated to the three mountain gods.

Soon news travels of the sacred mountains so that pilgrims make the journey from far and wide to worship the three deities of the mountains. It soon becomes a place of learning for BuddhismShinto, and TaoismEn no Gyōja and Kūkai arrive to found the Shugendō or Yamabushi (mountain warrior) sects Even the famous poet, Matsuo Basho comes to meditate and write many of his magnificent haiku. And so this place that you ran to after you lost everything except your life becomes a blessed refuge of peace and meditation for many generations to come.

References and further reading:

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia/Three Mountains of Dewa