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Abe no Seimei

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search In this Japanese name, the family name is "Abe". Abe no Seimei

Abe no Seimei as drawn by Kikuchi Ysai (), a popular painter in Japan. Religion Personal Born Died Senior posting Based in Title Religious career Post Onmyji adviser to the Emperor on the spiritually correct way Japan Onmyji 921? Abemonju-in Temple in Sakurai, Nara, Japan[1] 1005 (aged 8384) Japan Onmyd

to deal with issues. Abe no Seimei ( ?, February 21, 921 October 31, 1005) was an onmyji, a leading specialist of onmyd during the middle of the Heian Period in Japan.[2] In addition to his prominence in history, he is a legendary figure in Japanese folklore and has been portrayed in a number of stories and films. Seimei worked as onmyji for emperors and the Heian government, making calendars and advising on the spiritually correct way to deal with issues. He prayed for the wellbeing of emperors and the government as well as advising on various issues. He was also an astrologer and predicted astrological events. He enjoyed an extremely long life, free from any major illness, which contributed to the popular belief that he had mystical powers. The Seimei Shrine, located in Kyoto, is a popular shrine dedicated to him. The Abeno train station and district, in Osaka, are sometimes said to be named after him, as it is one of the locations where legends place his birth.

Contents
[hide] 1 Life and legends 2 2.1 Senji Ryakketsu

3 In fiction 4 5

[edit] Life and legends


Part of the series on

Japanese Mythology & Folklore

Mythic Texts and Folktales: Kojiki | Nihon Shoki | Fudoki

Kujiki| Kogo Shi | Nihon Ryiki Otogizshi | Oiwa | Okiku | Urashima Tar Konjaku Monogatari Divinities Izanami | Izanagi | Amaterasu Susanoo | Ame-no-Uzume | Inari Kami | Seven Lucky Gods | List of divinities Legendary Creatures & Spirits Oni | Kappa | Tengu | Fox | Ykai Dragon | Yrei | List of creatures Legendary Figures Abe no Seimei | Benkei | Kintar Momotar | Tamamo-no-Mae | Sjb Mythical & Sacred Locations Mt. Hiei | Mt. Fuji | Izumo | Ryg-j | Takamagahara | Yomi | Jigoku Sacred Objects Amenonuhoko | Kusanagi | Tonbogiri Three Sacred Treasures Shint & Buddhism Bon Festival | Setsubun | Ema | Torii Shinto shrines | Buddhist temples Folklorists Kunio Yanagita, Keigo Seki, Lafcadio Hearn, Shigeru Mizuki, Inoue Enryo Seimei's life is well recorded, and there is little question about it. Immediately after his death, however, legends arose much like those surrounding Merlin. Many legends of Seimei were originally written in the Konjaku Monogatarishu, and by the Edo period there were many stories in circulation that focused on his heroic acts. Abe no Seimei was a descendant of the poet Abe no NakamaroHYPERLINK \l "cite_note-3"[3] and a disciple of Kamo no Tadayuki and Kamo no Yasunori, 10thcentury diviners of the Heian court. He became Kamo no Yasunori's successor in astrology and divination, while Yasunori's son took on the lesser responsibility of devising the calendar.[4]HYPERLINK \l "cite_note-5"[5] Seimei's duties included analyzing strange events, conducting exorcisms, warding against evil spirits, and performing various rites of geomancy. He was said to be especially skilled in divining the sex of fetuses and finding lost objects.[2] According to the Konjaku Monogatarishu, he correctly predicted the abdication of Emperor Kazan based on his observation of celestial phenomena. Seimei's reputation grew sufficiently that, from the late 10th century, the Onmyry, the government ministry of onmyd, was controlled by the Abe clan. The Kamo clan

likewise became the hereditary keepers of the calendar.[6] The mystical symbol of the equidistant five-pointed star, referred to in the West as a pentagram, is known in Japan as the Seiman or the Seal of Abe no Seimei.[7] According to legend, Abe no Seimei was not entirely human. His father, Abe no Yasuna, was human, but his mother, Kuzunoha, was a kitsune (a "fox spirit").[8] At a very early age, no later than five, he was allegedly able to command weak oni to do his bidding. His mother entrusted Seimei to Kamo no Tadayuki so that he would live a proper human life and not become evil himself. The Heian period, especially the time when Seimei lived, was a time of peace. Many of his legends revolve around a series of magical battles with a rival, Ashiya Doman, who often tried to embarrass Seimei so that he could usurp his position. One noted story involved Doman and the young Seimei in a divination duel to reveal the contents of a particular box. Doman had another person put fifteen mandarin oranges into the box and "divined" that there were fifteen oranges in it. Seimei saw through the ruse, transformed the oranges into rats, and stated that fifteen rats were in the box. When the rats were revealed, Doman was shocked and defeated. Seimei is involved in numerous other tales as well. He appears as a minor character in the Heike Monogatari and is said to be responsible for divining the location of the Shutendji, a powerful oni purportedly slain by Minamoto no Yorimitsu.[9] He is sometimes said to be the onmyji who discovered Tamamo no Mae's true nature, although the time of the Tamamo no Mae story does not coincide with Seimei's lifetime; other sources credit the act to a descendant, Abe no Yasuchika.[10]HYPERLINK \l "cite_note11"[11]HYPERLINK \l "cite_note-12"[12]

Torii of the Seimei shrine in Kyoto.

Seimei's pentagram mon represents the Wu Xing.

[edit] Legacy
After Seimei's death the emperor had a shrine, the Seimei shrine, erected at the location

of his home. The original shrine was destroyed in war during the fifteenth century, but it was rebuilt in the same location and still stands today.[1]HYPERLINK \l "cite_note13"[13] The asteroid 5541 Seimei, discovered in 1976, is named for him.[14]

[edit] Senji Ryakketsu


Abe no Seimei is credited with the writing of the Senji Ryakketsu, an onmydo primer.

[edit] In fiction
His name appears in many works of fiction, often as a helpful, wise man and rarely as an enemy. There are exceptions such as Nurarihyon no Mago where Seimei was also a great ayakashi and the Lord of Darkness. The first modern fictional work credited with bringing back popular interest to onmyd mysticism in Japan is the 1985 historical fantasy novel Teito Monogatari by Hiroshi Aramata. [15] In the novel's story two of the primary characters, Yasumasa Hirai and Yasunori Kat, are descendants of Seimei and have inherited all his knowledge. Yasumasa Hirai is notable example because his appearance is modeled off classic depictions of Seimei and many of his actions are based on those of Seimei's from stories in the Uji Shui Monogatari.[16] Yasunori Kat is also notable because his first name "Yasunori" is derived from the name of Seimei's legendary teacher and he proudly wears the Seiman (five pointed star) on his gloves and handkerchief. Unlike Hirai though, Kat's burning hatred for the Japanese Empire has transformed him into an oni. With one in defense of the Empire and one against it, the two men naturally become enemies. In 1988, Baku Yumemakura started a novel series named Onmyoji with Seimei portrayed as a handsome young man who lived in a Heian-period world populated with mysterious beings. This was turned into a manga by Reiko Okano and became popular with teenage girls. In 2002, an NHK television series was made, based on the novels.[17] A version of Abe has also been rendered by acclaimed Taiwanese manga artist Ethan, who has stated that he is a huge fan of the novel.[18] Since 1989, Abe no Seimei has been depicted as a bishnen.[19] He appears in Kouta Hirano's Drifters manga series leading a group of Magicians called Octobrist. He appears as a handsome young man and wears a beret. The movie Onmyoji, starring Mansai Nomura as Seimei, was released in 2001 (2004 in the U.S.) by Pioneer (now Geneon). As with any other work featuring both Seimei and Minamoto no Hiromasa, the film was based on Yumemakura's novels. Despite Yumemakura having been involved, the manga adaptation and the movie adaptation are quite different in style and plot. The horror/survival video game Kuon featured Seimei as a female exorcist who becomes a playable character near the end of the game. To capitalize on the success of the Onmyoji films (a sequel was made in 2003), Fuji

Television produced a miniseries in 2004, called Onmyoji: Abe no Seimei.[20] This series has no ties to cinematic releases. The character Hao Asakura from Hiroyuki Takei's Shaman King is directly based on Seimei. Hao is the author of a magical book called Ch-Senjiryakketsu, clearly inspired in Seimei's Senji Ryakketsu. They also share facts about their lives, such as their mother being called a demon fox and their ability to create oni since they were young. Seimei can be seen in the anime MagicalShopping Arcade Abenobashi, which was released in 2004 in the U.S. by ADV Films. The show's focus was on the Onmyoji practice of changing events to avoid an ill occurrence and the misadventures of two youths. Seimei also appears in the anime Gintama as an onmyoji, as well as in the anime Shonen Onmyouji which is about his grandson. Seimei is a central character in the anime called Otogi Zoshi. Abe no Seimei had been shown in a manga called Nurarihyon no Mago by Hiroshi Shiibashi, as an evil Nue, dark lord of the Ayakashi, born from an evil fox. Nurarihyon no Mago was adapted into an anime series starting on July 2010. Abe no Seimei also appears in the manga Igyoujin Oniwakamaru as an evil spirit who plans to revive himself to begin his second life and rule over both humans and yokai. Abe no Seimei was made a playable character in the PlayStation Portable version of Warriors Orochi 3.

[edit] References
^ a b "Seimei Shrine". The Tale of Genji. 2007. Archived from the original on 21 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-29. ^ a b Miller, Laura. "Extreme Makeover for a Heian-era Wizard." Mechademia 3: Limits of the Human. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008. 33. ^ Anderson, William. Descriptive and Historical Catalogue of a Collection of Japanese and Chinese Paintings in the British Museum. London: Longman's & Co., 1886. 391. ^ Mikami, Yoshio. "The Development of Mathematics in China and Japan." Abhandlungen zur Geschichte der mathematischen Wissenschaften mit Einschluss ihrer Anwendungen. Volume XXX. 1913. 179. ^ Goff, Janet. Conjuring Kuzunoha from the World of Abe no Seimei. A Kabuki Reader: History and Performance, ed. Samuel L. Leiter. New York: M. E. Sharpe, 2001. 271. (ISBN 0-7656-0704-2) ^ It, Satoshi. Shinto a Short History. New York: RourledgeCurzon, 2003. 98. (ISBN 0-415-31179-9) ^ Miller. Extreme Makeover. 44

^ Goff. Conjuring Kuzunoha. 269270. ^ Tanaka, Stefan. New Times in Modern Japan. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2004. 5758. (ISBN 0-691-11774-8) ^ Gilbertson, E. "Japanese Archery and Archers." Transactions and Proceedings of the Japan Society of London. Volume 4. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trbner and Co. Ltd., 1900. 118. ^ Schwarz, Karl M. Netsuke Subjects. Vienna: Novographics, 1992. 72. ^ Kusano, Eisabur. Stories Behind Noh and Kabuki Plays. Tokyo: Tokyo News Service, 1962. 80. ^ Dougill, John. Kyoto: a Cultural History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. 19. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1992. 472. (ISBN 3-540-00238-3) ^ Kazuhiko, Komatsu. "Seimei jinja" 28-61 ^ Reider, Noriko T. Japanese Demon Lore: Oni from Ancient Times to the Present Utah State University Press, 2010. 113. (ISBN 0874217938) ^ "Onmyouji ". 2007. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-29. ^ "The Onion Club, E's Past Works". 2007. Archived from the original on 19 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-09. ^ Miller, Laura. "Extreme Makeover for a Heian-Era Wizard". . ^ "Onmyouji ". 2007. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-29.

[edit] External links

The Taoist Deities


The religious current of Taoism evolved its own pantheon of deities that were worshipped in temples by the various sects. These Taoist deities, like the Buddhist or Hindu pantheon, represented different qualities and attributes and various ceremonies, depending on circumstances were conducted to appeal to them.

Yu-huang -- The Jade Emperor


Yu-huang is the great High God of the Taoists -- the Jade Emperor. He rules Heaven as the Emperor doe Earth. All other gods must report to him. His chief function is to distribute justice, which he does through the court system of Hell where evil deeds and thoughts are punished. Yu-huang is the Lord of the living and the dead and of all the Buddhas, all the gods, all the spectres and all the demons. According to legend he was the son of an emperor Ch'ing-te and his wife Pao Yuehkuang who from his birth exhibited great compassion. When he had been a few years on the throne he abdicated and retired as a hermit spending his time dispensing medicine and knowledge of the Taoist texts. Some scholars see in this a myth of the sacred union of the sun and the moon, their son being the ruler of all Nature. "The good who fulfill the doctrine of love, and who nourish Yu-huang with incense, flowers, candles and fruit; who praise his holy name with respect and propriety -- such people will receive thirty kinds of very wonderful rewards." --Folkways in China L Holdus.

Yuan-shih T'ien-tsun -- The First Principal


Although Yu-huang is the High God, there are other abstract deities above him. He rules; they simply exist and instruct. First and foremost is Yuan-shih T'ien-tsun - the First Principal. He has no beginning and no end. He existed "before the void and the silence, before primordial chaos." He is self-existing, changeless, limitless, invisible, contains all virtues, is present in all places and is the source of all truth.

San-ch'ing -- Three Pure Ones


These are the so-called Three Pure Ones. They are Yu-ch'ing (Jade Pure), Shangch'ing (Upper Pure) and T'ai-ch'ing (Great Pure). They are believed to be different manifestations of Lao Tzu. They are not rulers, but rather seek to save mankind by teaching and benevolence. In a place with Yu-ch'ing lives Yuan-shih T'ien-tsun and the Holy Men (sheng-jen). With Shang-ch'ing lives Ling-pao T'ien-tsun (Spiritual Treasure Honoured by Heaven) and the Heroes. T'ai-ch'ing is the direct manifestation of Lao Tzu. He holds a fan, symbol of his powers, on which are written the yin-yang symbol and the Big Dipper.

San-kuan -- Three Officials


The San-kuan rule over all things in the three regions of the universe, keep a register of good and evil deeds and award good or bad fortune accordingly. T'ien-kuan, the Ruler of Heaven, grants happiness. Ti-kuan, Ruler of Earth, grants remissions of sins, and Shuikuan, Ruler of Water, averts all evil. Their compassion for all people is unbounded. The San-kuan originated in a rite from the time of the Yellow-Turban Taoists. "You, poor miserable people, ill-clad and destitute of worldly comforts, weighted down beneath the burden of labour and affliction, keep abstinence, and having taken a purifying bath, recite a thousand times the prayer in honour of the Ruler of Heaven." --Recherches sue les superstitions en Chine, Henri Dore.

San-yuan -- Three Epochs (or Principals)


The San-yuan originate from a time in the Eastern Chin Dynasty (317-420 A.D.) when the year was divided into three unequal periods. Shang- yuan ruled the first six moons (winter and spring); Hsia-yuan ruled the 7th and 8th moons (summer); and Chung-yuan ruled the 9th to 11th moons (fall). It was believed that they dwelled in the North Star (tzu-wei).

T'ien-shih
T'ien-shih was the title awarded to Chang Tao-ling (157-178 A.D.), the founder of the Yellow Turban Taoists (he is also claimed as founder by the Cheng-I and Five Bushels of Rice sects). It is believed that he received the Ling-pao (spiritual Treasure) Scripture written on golden tablets, from the Gods. He succeeded in finding the elixir of immortality, swallowed it, and ascended to Heaven, leaving his secrets, including his seals and demon-dispelling sword, with his son. Since then the title T'ien-shih has passed through the family for generations. The current (63rd) Chang T'ien-shih lives in Taiwan and heads the Five Bushels of Rice Taoist sect. He continues to retain the sword and seals of Chang Tao-ling.

Pa-hsien -- Eight Immortals


These are popular deities modeled on historical figures. They were believed to live in grottos in Heaven. They are:

Lu Tung-pin Lu Tung-pin (755 - 805 A.D.) was a scholar, doctor and official. He became a Taoist after a long and distinguished life as an official which ended in disgrace. He was very popular in his life and after his death became venerated as the King of Medicine. He represents the wealthy and literacy.

Ts'ao Kuo-chiu Ts'ao Kuo-chiu represents the nobility for he was connected with the Imperial Sung Dynasty. His brother committed a crime for which he was ashamed and he retired and became a hermit who studied the Tao and learned the recipe for perfection. He holds in his hands the tablet that admits one to an audience with the emperor. One day Han Ching-li and Lu Tung-pin found him and asked him what he was doing. He replied that he was studying the Tao. "What is that and where is it?" they asked. He pointed first to the sky and then to his heart. Then they realized that he understood and they gave him the recipe for perfection.

Chang Kuo-lao Chang Kuo-lao was once the head of the Imperial Academy but he retired to live as a hermit on Mt. Chung-t'iao in Shansi. He was summoned to court by the Empress Wu (684-705 A.D.) however, when he reached the Temple of the Jealous Woman he fell down dead. Shortly afterwards he came back to life. He had a magic mule which could travel thousands of miles a day. When he reached his destination the mule would turn to paper and Chang Kuo-lao could fold it up and put it in his pocket. To revive it he unfolded it and spurted water on it with his mouth. He is often pictured riding the mule, facing the tail.

Li T'ieh-kuai Li T'ieh-kuai has an iron crutch and a black face. He represents the crippled and deformed. He tries to alleviate human suffering. He was taught to be an immortal by Hsiwang-mu, Queen of the Immortals. One day, when his soul went to Mt. Hua he told his disciple to guard his body and cremate it after seven days if he had not returned. On the sixth day the disciple's mother fell ill and so leaving to take care of her he burnt the body a day early. Li T'ieh-kuai's soul on returning could find no body so it entered that of an old man who had just died. Only then did he discover that it was a cripple. At first he wanted to leave it but Lao Tzu persuaded him to stay and gave him a golden circlet and an iron crutch. He carries a gourd with him in which he keeps medicine to help people. Some say that it contains the elixir of life made from the peaches of immortality that grow in Hsi-wangmu's garden.

Ho Hsien-ku Ho Hsien-ku is represented holding a lotus blossom (a symbol of purity) and a peach. The

legend is that she lived in the time of the Empress Wu (684-705 A.D.) in the Yun-mu (Cloud Mother) Mountains. One night she had a dream that she should grind up a stone called Yun-mu and eat it. She did and vowed chastity at the same time. She then floated from mountain peak to peak gathering fruits which she gave to her mother (she having no need to eat). The Empress heard of her and summoned her to the court but on the way she disappeared. In this way she became an immortal. She is a patron deity of women.

Han Hsiang-tsu Han Hsiang-tsu represents youth. He was the grand nephew of Han Yu (768- 824 A.D.) who was a minister to Emperor Hsing-tung. He is reported to have accomplished all manner of remarkable feats including the production of extraordinary plants. He became an immortal by eating one of the peaches of immortality. He carries with him a basket of fruit or flowers. He was a disciple of Lu Tung-pin.

Han Chung-li Han Chung-li represents military men. He lived during the Han dynasty when he was a Marshall of the Empire. In his old age he became a hermit and lived on Yang-chiu Mt. in Shansi where he met the Five Heroes who taught him how to be an immortal. This knowledge he taught to Lu Tung-pin. During a famine he turned base metals into silver which he distributed to the poor people. He is recognized as a figure who holds a fan or a peach. When he achieved immortality he was carried by a stork into the Heavens. Another legend has it that the wall of his hut burst open to reveal a casket in which were instructions on how to become an immortal.

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