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 Abe no Seimei

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Abe no Masahiro
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PostSubject: Abe no Seimei   Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:31 pm

(安倍 晴明, Abe no Seimei?) (921?-1005?) was an onmyōji, a leading specialist of onmyōdō during the middle of the Heian Period in Japan. 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 an onmyōji for emperors and the Heian government, making calendars and advising on the spiritually correct way to deal with issues. He prayed for the well-being of emperors and the government as well as advising on various issues. He was also an astrologist 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 (晴明神社), 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.

His 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 which focused on his heroic acts.

According to legend, Abe no Seimei was not entirely human. He was the issue of a human father, Abe no Yasuna, and his mother, Kuzunoha, was a kitsune (a fox spirit). At a very early age, no later than five, he was able to command weak oni to do his bidding. His mother entrusted Seimei to Kamo no Tadayuki, a master of onmyōdō, 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 myths revolve around a series of magical battles with a rival, Ashiya Doman, who often tried to embarrass Seimei so that the former could usurp the latter's 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 the box. Seimei, however, 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.

It has been said that Abe no Seimei had no children. It has also been said, in contradiction, that the onmyōji Abe no Yasuaki and Abe no Yasuchika were his son and grandson, respectively. Whether this was through adoption, or whether the story has some other meaning is unclear.

After Seimei's death the emperor had a shrine, the Seimei shrine, erected at the location of his home, where it stands today[1].

[edit] Senji Ryakketsu

Abe no Seimei is credited with the writing of the Senji Ryakketsu, an onmyōdo primer.
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PostSubject: Re: Abe no Seimei   Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:31 pm

His name appears in many works of fiction, often as a helpful, wise man, and rarely as an enemy.

In 1994, Baku Yumemakura started a novel series named Onmyoji with Seimei portrayed as a handsome young adult male 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 later made, based on the novels.[2] Manga version of Abe has also been rendered by acclaimed Taiwanese mangaka Ethan, who has stated that he is a huge fan of the novel.[3]

The movie Onmyoji, starring Mansai Nomura as Seimei, was released in 2001 (2004 in the U.S.) by Pioneer (now Geneon). In 2003, a sequel, Onmyoji II, was produced. Though they share the same name as the above series, the two franchises are unrelated. To capitalize on the success of the Onmyoji films, Fuji Television produced a miniseiries in 2004, called Onmyoji: Abe no Seimei.[4] This series has no ties to either of the above two productions.

Seimei can also be seen in the anime Magical☆Shopping 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 in the resultant realities.

One of Seimei's rare appearances as a villain is in the anime series Otogizoshi.

Another one of Seimei's appearances as a villain is in the 2005 anime Shin Getter Robo. (Where Shin translates to "New" as opposed to "True" - A very different Getter Robo series was produced in 1998 under the Shin (True) Getter Robo title. (Please see: Getter Robo: Armageddon)) Abe no Seimei appears as a powerful sorcerer inhabiting a castle and a surrounding township. He wields powerful magical abilities, has thousands of oni under his command, and can summon even larger oni with size on par with Getter Robo - evidently at will. After Ryoma and company defeat him in the time of ancient Heiankyo, he returns in the modern era, only to be effortlessly dispatched, courtesy of Getter Robo's upgraded Getter Reactor. His magical abilities falter in face of the activated Douji-Kirimaru. Near the end of the series, the four kami (Possibly the Four Heavenly Kings) inform Ryoma, Hayato, and Benkei that Abe no Seimei was an oni they had dispatched to destroy the Getter itself.

He appears as a woman simply named Seimei, a heroine of Otogi 2, an Xbox video game.

In the PS2 game Kuon, Ashiya Doman and Abe no Seimei are featured as rivals, the latter as a female.

In the anime Harukanaru Toki no Naka de, Seimei appears as Abe no Yasuaki's creator and master. Again, he is portrayed as a powerful onmyoji.

In the story Teito Monogatari, the evil onmyoji, Kato Yasunori, claims to be a descendant of Seimei. Since it is believed that Abe no Seimei never passed on his characteristics to following generations, Kato is more credibly the descendant of the most powerful onmyoji in history. According to plot of Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis, Kato is supposed to really be the culmination of the dead, resentful souls of the onmyoji, striking out against the foreign invaders of Japan during the 1920s. Since Kato possesses so much power in the magic of onmyodo, it could even be inferred that he is actually an incarnation of Seimei's dark side.

In the anime Spirit Warrior: Festival of the Ogres Revival, he appears as a ghost.

Hao Asakura in Shaman King (a manga and anime series) seems to be inspired by Abe no Seimei.

Abe no Masahiro of the novel, drama, and anime Shounen Onmyouji is Abe no Seimei's grandson. Abe no Seimei appears in the series as a combination of mentor and obstacles to the main character, whose goal is to surpass his grandfather. Here he appears as an elderly onmyoji who observes his grandson's progress as an onmyoji constantly. While he praises his grandson whenever he achieves a good result, he's also quick to point out mistakes made along the way, enraging his grandson, who is always in his grandfather's shadow.

The card Sealmaster Meisei from the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game is inspired by him
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