Five-Minute Summaries: Onmyoji Lores "Seimei"

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Abe no Seimei

As you may already know, the protagonist of NetEase’s Onmyoji RPG, Seimei, is roughly based on Abe no Seimei (安倍 晴明), a leading figure of onmyodo (陰陽道,) during the Heian period in Japan. After his death, the emperor built a shrine in his name. The shrine still stands today in Kyoto.

In addition to his role in history, Seimei was also portrayed as a legendary figure in many Japanese folklore. His appearances is often tied in with the supernatural. Historically, Abe no Seimei lived until his 80’s, which is considerably long for the time, fueling the popular belief that he had mystical powers.

As a fictional character, Seimei is portrayed as a wise sage-like character. Typically, he is shown as an ally and rarely an antagonist. Similar to this non-functional history, Abe no Seimei’s fictional appearance revolves around omyodo and divinations. Abe no Seimei is a popular historical figure who has appeared in multiple fictional works throughout history, from The Tales of Heike (Heike Monogatari – 平家物語) to more modern works including Nurarihyon no Mago and Sousei no Onmyoji. Abe no Seimei has also made appearances in games as well, most notably in NetEase’s Onmyoji mobile RPG.

▲NetEase’s Onmyoji RPG

In legends and folklore, it is said that Abe no Seimei’s mother, Kuzunoha, is a fox spirit (Kitsune), which makes him half human and half fox spirit. In many occasions, Seimei is portrayed to have fox familiars. It is also said that at a young age, Seimei was already able to bind inferior oni to do his biddings.

▲Abe no Seimei in the Dynasty Warriors Orochi Series

Trivia:
– In Japan, the five-pointed star, or the pentagram, as known in the west, is also known as the Seal of Abe no Seimei.
– The Abe clan controlled the government ministry of onmyodo in the late 10th century.
– onmyodo was branded as superstition in the 19th century.

 

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