Irk's beforehand note: I'm using Japanese names and terms here. See my
wonderful sources at the bottom. Eat Pocky, Lisa Ortiz says so! ^-^
* * *
Since I started surfing the Sailor Moon internet in 1996 or so, I've
couple of details mentioning the origin or cultural basis for the Outer
Senshi's talismans on various pages. The explanations were never very
complete or failed to go into a lot of depth, so I really couldn't use
as much of a source. However, when researching an essay on Japanese
ran across a large amount of information on Japanese history and
background. I found some details that explained a great deal about the
sparse information I had sighted around the web, as well as a better
backstory for Rurouni Kenshin. ^^; But I think I'll give you the
To understand all of this you're going to have to have a loose
Shinto, the leading religion in Japan. (Along with Buddhism, of
I'm sure most of you know that Rei is a Shinto priestess, more
miko-in-training. "Shinto is an animistic form of nature
has no official theology, no set scriptures, and no moral code beyond
cleanliness." (Levi, 34) Shinto also has a great many gods and
most of them 'kami'. Mount Fuji-san is a kami. The emperor is a kami.
Your ancestors are kami. There's no end to kami. ^-^; However, there
also some more 'official' deities, such as Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess.
Amaterasu is the main deity of Shinto and the imperial family is said
descended from her. Her three treasures, a mirror, jewel, and sword,
symbols of that imperial family, especially the sword.
I'm sure for most of you a bell has rung already. A mirror, jewel and
sword? Very interesting. Where could THAT have come from?
Well, the jewel and mirror come from one of the earliest stories of
Amaterasu. Allow me to quote.
The original story of Amaterasu and Susanou is recorded in
the Nihongi and the Kojiki. They were brother and sister, born of
and Izanagi, the two original gods who created both the islands of
its myriad deities. Izanami and Izanagi were brother and sister, but
were also married. Amaterasu and Susanou never went through any formal
marriage ceremony. Indeed, Susanou later married someone else.
and his sister did produce a number of children together, including the
that eventually became Japan's Imperial family. Sadly, moments of love
rare for them. Mostly, they fought.
Their most famous fight occurred when Susanou visited his
on the high plains of Heaven. Ostensibly, his purpose was to apologize
an earlier incident, but she suspected him from the start. Her
were confirmed by his behavior. He trampled her rice paddies and
her palace by defecating beneath her throne. The last straw, however,
when he flung a flayed colt into her weaving room, causing her to wound
herself with her own shuttle. Deeply offended, Amaterasu retired to
rock cave of Heaven, pulled a huge rock across the entrance and stayed
there, leaving the Earth without sunlight. The planet began to die.
Deeply concerned, other gods of heaven and earth met before
entrance of the cave, hoping to lure the frightened Sun Goddess back
the world. Resorting to guile, they created a sacred tree and upon it
a mirror and a jewel. Then one of the goddesses performed a vulgar but
amusing dance. Hearing the mirth outside the cave, the Sun Goddess was
naturally curious, ventured to the entrance and was struck by the
the jewel and intrigued by her brilliant reflection in the mirror.
light was returned to the world...The jewel and the mirror described in
tale became, with the sword, the three symbols of the Imperial Family.
Where'd the sword come from then? That was certainly what I'd wondered
anyone would (much more concisely) paraphrase the legend. But I found
research that the answer to my problem was quite simple. Swords are
very important. Any portraits I saw of emperors or of their male
showed them bearing a sword. The sword is a symbol of the ruling
And then it REALLY became clear when I read this:
The Sun Goddess instructed her grandchild to illuminate the
with light like the mirror, to reign over the world with the jewel, and
subdue those who will not obey with the divine sword. It is said that
mirror has the form of the sun, the jewel the moon, and the sword the
substance of the stars. (Smith, 175)
Well, now we've got Talismans. ^_^ And in fact, other things that I
give a little insight into our beloved Outer Senshi. In the 1200's,
Mongols attempted to invade Japan two times. Both invasions were
not only by the Japanese, but also by two storms, the second an
violent hurricane (monsoon or tsunami or typhoon if you please).
The hurricane became known as 'kamikaze', or divine wind.
episode became a great patriotic epic in which the national deities,
the divine wind, saved the sacred soil of Japan from pollution.
especially its worship of the Sun Goddess and Hachiman[a Shinto god of
enjoyed a revival. (Smith, 119)
Well, from all of this, what have we learned?
Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto: Our dear Outer Trio's powers are of course
loosely on their Roman deity counterparts, but I see influence from the
'kamikaze' as well. The Outers are indeed a divine wind, appearing out
nowhere to save Japan and the rest of the senshi's collective keysters.
Moreover their attacks make a bit more sense now, as I'll go into on an
Sailor Neptune: Sailor Neptune's Deep Aqua Mirror is obviously one of
Amaterasu's sacred treasures. Amaterasu's mirror's powers of reflection
intrigued the Sun Goddess and helped shake her out of her reclusion,
'Submarine Reflection' reveals the enemy's weaknesses with their
'Deep Submerge', while of course tied sea-wise to the Roman god
also has a basis in the kamikaze that saved all of Japan from the
(If anyone wants to make any astrological ties with the mirror having
form of the sun they're welcome to tell me about it, or better yet post
themselves.) Also a holy mirror is placed inside each Shinto shrine,
symbolizing Amaterasu's mirror. This is a plot point in one of BSSM's
episodes, though I have absolutely no idea which one it was. I think
in R part two. Work with me here. ^^;;;
Sailor Uranus: The Space Sword's name makes a heck of a lot more sense
as its predecessor had the 'substance of the stars'. That of course
well with Uranus' sky attributes and with the god Uranus' qualities.
certainly uses the sword to 'subdue those who will not obey' with
Sword Blaster'. 'World Shaking' makes more sense to me now as an
nature from our dear divine wind. Lightning and thunder are part of
heavens and indeed shake the earth during a good hurricane. I live in
Louisiana so I can well attest to that fact. ^_^;
Sailor Pluto: Well, that's the Garnet Orb for you. Sailor Pluto does
reign over the world with the jewel but she certainly rules over time
it. As for 'Dead Scream', which I could never tie to time at all, it
certainly appears to be its own divine wind. 'Chronos Typhoon' which,
know it, is the manga equivalent of the other senshi's boosted Talisman
powers, draws the whole legendary storm together quite nicely. The
that the jewel is attributed to the Moon could be reflected in Sailor
Pluto's friendship with Chibi-Usa and with her general ties to the
I understand a great deal more about the three senshi now. The
divine wind that saves Japan from invaders is reflected in their task
protect the Earth from invaders outside the Solar System. Certain
make *quite* a lot more sense now, which saves me the headache of
why Naoko did so-and-so. But what about Saturn? I really have no
She doesn't quite fit in with the trio during the beginning of S
could only call her silence the 'calm before the storm' so to speak.
then, Saturn's not exactly anyone's type of 'normal' senshi. She
her own separate origins which I believe have been explained in a very
article on the senshi and astrology which I remember thoroughly
gaping at when reading that I can't, for the life of me, find. Gomen
etcetera. ^^;;;; But I certainly have a greater understanding of
Moon from this, not HUGELY greater, but greater in a nice little sense
I won't have to worry about these details anymore and can start
once again, what the HECK Zirconia is and if he she or it is male or
or...NOT. ^^; Arigatou Gozaimaaasu and good night people.
* * *
Levi, Antonia. "Samurai from Outer Space : Understanding Japanese
Animation". Peru, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company, 1997
Smith, Bradley. "Japan-A History in Art". Garden City, New York:
& Company, Inc, 1964
I'd like to add that the first book up there is a *GREAT* resource for
otaku interested in the stories behind the anime they watch, and helped
understand a great deal about this intriguing and enjoyable medium.
floss angry" - Lore, Brunching Shuttlecocks.
Comments on this article can be sent to: Irk.