Tag Archives: Ten Desires

Introduction to Touhou 51: Mamizou

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“It smells like youkai around here. Or like wild animals.” – Reimu

Upon hearing of Miko’s resurrection, Nue Houjuu recognized the threat they posed to the youkai of Gensokyo and called forth an ally of hers from the outside world. This ally is Mamizou Futatsuiwa, and while she arrived too late to combat the Taoists, she did have the opportunity to experience the quintessential Gensokyo welcome wagon of pain. Following her debut, Mamizou made herself comfortable in Myouren Temple after Youmu (and presumably Nue) told her about Byakuren’s unusual ideology. Now she spends her days watching local events play out, using a human form whenever she visits the village.

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Introduction to Touhou 50: Miko

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“To understand the ten desires of a human is to know them fully. “

Toyosatomimi no Miko is the leader of Gensokyo’s Taoist faction and the immortal hermit form of the semi-historical Prince Shotoku.

Within Touhou canon, Prince Shotoku was approached by Seiga Kaku with a scheme to make him and his followers immortal. Since the prince could not see Taoism functioning as an effective national religion, he decided to adopt Buddhism as a method of pacifying the masses, who would theoretically look to nirvana for freedom instead of political reform. Thus, his political stance became one of spreading Buddhism across Japan.

“It corrects the disorder in human nature, and teaches people to accept everything bad as a personal test, so really it’s all for the benefit of those in power.”

As the prince secretly explored the limits of his new Taoist knowledge, rumors began to spread of his superhuman abilities. Though Prince Shotoku wanted to become a true immortal hermit and then a celestial, time worked against him. In order to prolong his life, he used a number of irregular cures like cinnabar. Cinnabar, however, has high mercury content and his body began to fail him at an early stage. Using the last option available to him, he opted to become a shikaisen once Futo played guinea pig and demonstrated that the procedure does indeed work.
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Introduction to Touhou 49: Futo

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“How did it end up like this? You dead people are all morons.” – Reimu

Mononobe no Futo is a resurrected Taoist in service of Toyosatomimi no Miko. Her name means Futo of the Mononobe, and this was a naming convention used by Japanese aristocrats in much the same way as with Fujiwara no Mokou.

As with the other Taoists in Ten Desires, the method of her resurrection involved transferring her soul into an object, a plate in her case, and becoming a subclass of hermit called a shikaisen. This plate acts much like a lich’s phylactery, but one important difference between a lich and a shikaisen is that a lich’s form moves independently of its soul. Shikaisen, on the other hand, have their objects transform into a new body. Not only does this give them the freedom to choose a new appearance, it also has the effect of cheating death. Essentially, the swapping of their body and their chosen object causes them to be marked off as dead by the forces of the afterlife, meaning no one bothers coming after them to collect their soul unless they draw attention to themselves like Seiga did through her immoral deeds.

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Introduction to Touhou 48: Seiga

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“One who manipulates corpses as she pleases and disrupts the providence of nature” – Byakuren

Seiga Kaku is a hermit in the service of Gensokyo’s Taoist faction. Back when she was a regular human, presumably living in China, her father left her family to become a Taoist hermit, opening Seiga’s own interest in Taoist philosophy. She never got the chance to explore this fascination, however, as she married into the wealthy Kaku family. Her reason for accepting this marriage is unclear, but she was dissatisfied with her life despite the tremendous degree of freedom her new family offered her (at least by the standards of 5th Century China, which is a number we can roughly infer through her later interactions with the semi-historical Prince Shotoku). Of course, becoming a Taoist hermit necessitated abandoning her in-laws and other social connections so her interest in Taoism was the one thing married life couldn’t afford her.

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