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Byakuren Hijiri

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(ひじり)  白蓮 (びゃくれん)
Byakuren Hijiri
çid͡ʑiɽʲi bʲakɯɽeɴ (♫)
Byakuren Hiziri
Byakuren Hijiri
Byakuren Hijiri in Hopeless Masquerade
The Sealed Great Magician
More Character Titles
Species

Magician (formerly Human)

Abilities

Magic (specialization in magic that increases her physical abilities)

Occupation

Monk

Location

Myouren Temple

Music Themes
Appearances
Official Games
Print Works

Byakuren Hijiri (聖 白蓮 Hijiri Byakuren) is a Buddhist nun and magician who was sealed away by humans because of her kindness towards youkai in the outside world. During the events of Undefined Fantastic Object, the youkai she has saved reappear to break her free from the seal. She is now the head priest at the Myouren Temple, which is populated mostly by youkai.

General Information

Byakuren first appeared as the final boss of Undefined Fantastic Object and later as a playable character in Hopeless Masquerade. She was a target for Stage 12 of Double Spoiler and the Final Day of Impossible Spell Card.

Personality

Byakuren is a monk who is kind to both humans and youkai. However, it is somewhat difficult for her to befriend humans because of these views, as well as the fact that she doesn't drink alcohol and is a vegetarian. She is mild-mannered and has never been seen to be overly angry. Youkai that don't desire conflict flock to her, while those that do are repulsed by her.

Abilities

Using magic

Originally derived from Buddhism, Byakuren then began using dark magic derived from aiding youkai to retain her youth, after her brother's death. Now, Byakuren specializes in "buffing" magic which increases her physical abilities, body, including strength, speed, and the five senses. Normally, however, she's only as strong as an average human. Ultimately, though she is called a saint, these powers are demonic in nature. In the game, since there was a spell card Superhuman "Byakuren Hijiri", it seems that she indeed used this magic to strengthen her physical abilities. During this spell, Byakuren's movement speed goes fast to such an extent that she can even outrun Fantasy Seal.

Occupation

Byakuren is the chief priest at the Myouren Temple, where her main goal is to bring peace to both humans and youkai. As the chief priest, she teaches the dharma to anyone willing to listen. She also manages funerals and the graveyard. Once a month, she performs an "overnight sutra-chanting live concert", where she sings a song in monotone while keeping rhythm with a wooden fish. The event attracts both youkai and humans.

Possessions

Sorcerer's Sutra Scroll

Created while Byakuren was in Makai, the Sorcerer's Sutra Scroll is unique to her. The sutras Byakuren needs in order to use her power are written on it. It has an automatic mode, which will cause it to recite spells on its own. Compared to a regular paper scroll, the amount the Sorcerer's Sutra Scroll holds is limitless. It is also said that this scroll won't deteriorate over time. Lastly, because it has a "will" of its own; no one except for Byakuren is able to handle it.

Backstory

Once a human, Byakuren was a nun who worked with her younger brother, Myouren Hijiri. However, when her brother died, she began to fear death. This fear prompted her to search for some way to maintain her youth. Eventually she did find it; however, its origin was not in the Buddhist art she had dedicated her life to, but rather a kind of black magic.

No longer fully "human", she soon came to fear losing her power. Because of the nature of the world of Gensokyo, the magic that she wielded would only be lost if humanity came to reject it as a whole; and because of that, she needed to ensure the prosperity and longevity of youkai. Thus, she came to honor and protect the youkai for her own benefit while simultaneously making herself out to be a great youkai exterminator. People came to look up to her and started fearing the youkai less and less. However, after some time, Byakuren started to realize the struggle youkai faced in the outside world. Eventually, rather than protecting them out of her own selfishness, she began to honestly consider the youkai as beings that needed to be helped.

At one time, Byakuren was sent to exterminate the ghost on the seas, Minamitsu Murasa, who had gained much renown for sinking ships. Rather than vanquish Murasa as she had been sent to do, Byakuren confronted the spirit as a normal human, and Murasa easily capsized her ship. However, Byakuren rose from the sea, riding atop a shining ship like the one Murasa had fallen from. By granting Murasa this ship, she freed the spirit from the cursed oceans and earned her gratitude.

At some point she also welcomed Ichirin Kumoi and her nyuudou companion Unzan, gaining their trust as well. The two of them lived at her temple.

The temple that she lived in was in the mountains; a temple to the god Bishamonten. In order to gain the trust of the youkai living on the mountain, she decided to appoint a youkai to serve under the god. This youkai was Shou Toramaru. Shou excelled at her duties, and it is implied that in doing so, Byakuren came to be liked by the youkai living around the area.

Eventually, her desire to help youkai rather than exterminate them was exposed to humans such as with her encounter with Murasa. She was ostracized for being a "demon in human form", and eventually was sealed away into the depths of Makai, for ever locked in Hokkai.

Background Information

Byakuren, as she appears in Symposium of Post-mysticism‎.

Myouren Hijiri, Byakuren's younger brother, was a real Buddhist priest born in Shinano Province, which is ZUN's hometown, and trained at Chougosonshi Temple (朝護孫子寺) on Mount Shigi (信貴山). He appears in several stories, but the most significant one is Shigisan Engi, which is one of the most popular emakimono. In its third volume, there is an unnamed Buddhist priestess who wants to meet Myouren, who is her younger brother. She is the inspiration for Byakuren. The priestess is looking for Myouren because she is worried about him not coming back, so she stays at Toudaiji, where Myouren had made the vows for priesthood. Daibutsu tells her in a dream that there is a purple cloud over the side of the mountain southwest from where she is. She goes there the next morning, and finally she is able to meet and live together with him.

Name

Byakuren Hijiri (聖 白蓮) is her name. Hijiri () can mean "Saint", "Virtuous Monk" or "Itinerant Monk" whilst Byakuren (白蓮) can mean "White Lotus" or "Purity". So it literally can be read as "Saint of the White Lotus" or "White Lotus Saint"; drawing upon the cultural reading of the white lotus as a symbol of purity – "Pure and Saintly" or "Saint of Purity". It may also be drawing upon the modern definition of Hijiri (, meaning a world-trekking Buddhist monk) – "Roaming Monk of the White Lotus" or "The Pure and Itinerant Monk".

Design

In Undefined Fantastic Object's official art, Byakuren has long, wavy, light brown hair that fades to purple at the top, with hazel or light brown eyes. She wears a black and white dress with long strips of black fabric going across the middle and white fabric across the arms. Along with this dress, she wears a long cape. She also holds a giant, magical scroll called the Sorcerer's Sutra Scroll.

The gradient in her hair has been confirmed by ZUN to be a natural colour.[1]

Story

Undefined Fantastic Object

In Undefined Fantastic Object, she is unsealed thanks to the combined efforts of Shou Toramaru's group of youkai and the heroine. Her fate depends on which heroine is chosen by the player, but in canon, she settles down near the Human Village with the intentions of building a temple there. By Sanae Kochiya's request – the shrine maiden had vouched for Byakuren's character – Kanako Yasaka and Suwako Moriya constructed it for her relatively quickly.

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Impossible Spell Card

After apparently reading the newspaper by the tengu about a mischief-making amanojaku, she becomes one of the many strong youkai and humans to try and stop Seija Kijin. She uses spell cards that are considered impossible to dodge.

Relationships

Being the final boss of Undefined Fantastic Object, Byakuren serves as the common ground for the character relationships.

Ichirin Kumoi

Ichirin Kumoi is a youkai who used to live at Byakuren's temple hundreds of years ago. By showing kindness to both her and Unzan, even though she was human, she earned their trust.

Minamitsu Murasa

Byakuren saved Minamitsu Murasa from her grim fate of haunting the oceans and capsizing ships. Minamitsu became one of Byakuren's strongest allies, and she used the flying object in Gensokyo to retrieve the treasures needed to revive the nun.

Shou Toramaru

Shou Toramaru was a disciple of Bishamonten that lived at Byakuren's temple. Byakuren had used her to gain more trust from the other youkai living on the mountain at the time, and in order to show her kindness towards youkai.

Nue Houjuu & Mamizou Futatsuiwa

It is also known from both Touhou Hisoutensoku and Oriental Sacred Place that Nue Houjuu is currently living at the temple she built. Nue, after learning from the heroine during the extra stage of Undefined Fantastic Object of Byakuren's kindness to all beings, including youkai like her, went there, most likely after a bit of time had passed and nervous because she was attempting to ruin the plans to unseal the nun in the first place. Also, Nue calls in her friend Mamizou Futatsuiwa from the outside world to become a youkai ally. After being suggested by Youmu Konpaku in her respective Extra stage, she decides to take up residence at Myouren Temple with Nue.

Myouren Hijiri

She also had a brother named Myouren Hijiri. However, her brother eventually died.

Kyouko Kasodani

Kyouko cleans the Myouren Temple.

Toyosatomimi no Miko & Seiga Kaku

Miko targets Byakuren. While they have not been seen interacting, Byakuren is highly disturbed by Seiga's activities and claims that she can sense great evil from her.[2]

Koishi Komeiji

Byakuren believes that Koishi's present "thoughtless" state is close to enlightenment, and wants her to join the temple.[3]

Hata no Kokoro

During the events of Hopeless Masquerade, Kokoro stays at Myouren Temple in order to learn how to control her emotions in order to prevent another berserk at the end of Byakuren's storyline.

Spell Cards

Additional Information

Cover of Undefined Fantastic Object, featuring Byakuren's silhouette.
  • The silhouette of Byakuren occupies the front of Undefined Fantastic Object's jewel case.
  • Byakuren was one of the candidates for the extra boss of Ten Desires, along with Kasen Ibaraki.
  • Written in ZUN's hand on her final cut-in is Namusan! (南無三!), which is short for Namu Sanbou (南無三宝) - roughly, "Hail to the three treasures of Buddhism" (the Buddha, dharma, and the clergy). It's used to request salvation in a moment of danger. Byakuren also uses this term at the very end of her dialogue with the heroine.
  • Byakuren appears on the cover of the Undefined Fantastic Object case.
  • During her second-to-last (fourth) spell card on Easy, the stars under the health bar show she has two lives left. She does, but only on higher difficulties.
    • The same spell card looks like one of Shinki's attack patterns.
  • Byakuren's Lotus Butterfly seems to act similar in appearance (and in two or three attack patterns) to YuugenMagan.
  • In Undefined Fantastic Object, the player can touch Byakuren and not lose a life, but only during specific times. This may likely to be a glitch.
  • In Oriental Sacred Place chapter 12, Byakuren's hair is lighter on the top and gets darker towards the bottom.
  • With Miko's appearance and revealed conflict with Byakuren with their use of Buddhism they show signs of being a reference to Hokuto No Ken where Byakuren is Toki, a peace loving pacifist that wants only to help people and hates violence when it can be avoided, Miko is Raoh in this case.

Fandom

  • Similar to how Yukari is called "Yukarin", it has become common to call her "Hijirin" (ひじりん).
  • Because of her and Minamitsu Murasa's relationship and character designs, some fans have described them as modern versions of the PC-98 characters Yumemi Okazaki and Chiyuri Kitashirakawa.
  • Because she is a bit more mature-acting, and possibly because she is a Stage 6 boss like Eirin Yagokoro and Kanako Yasaka (who are often portrayed as much older than the norm for the Touhou girls), some fan artists portray her as being an "old lady", or lumped into the same grouping as such. This is perhaps a bit ironic in Byakuren's case, considering how her profile states that she became a Magician to retain her youth.
    • Though in various fanarts, she's shown to have a mix of youthfulness and motherliness (including figure).
  • She's often shown as a mother figure to various temple residents and a few others.
  • Some fans have suggested that Byakuren's clothes are similar to Rozen Maiden's Suigintou's.
  • She is considered something of a saint among some fans, especially when compared to the ruthless and self-centered nature of the heroines, who reject her ideals for peace. Other fans have argued that, from the point of view of someone from a world where humans are oppressed, her appeals for human-youkai equality wouldn't make much sense. Others insist that Gensokyo is very close to if not exactly like her dream of a co-existence between humans and Youkai.
    • There's the fact that things were just a misunderstanding, and that she ends up building a temple (perhaps with helps from the heroines) afterwards, which is sometimes said to be very popular with humans and Youkai alike.
  • Some western Touhou fans compare her to Jesus Christ because she fought for youkai but got sealed away for their sins. Because of this, fans have affectionately dubbed her "Youkai Christ" or "Youkai Jesus".
  • Before Byakuren's gradient hair color was confirmed to be natural, it was somewhat up in the air. Most fans depicted it as it appears (purple on the top, fading to brown), but other fans believed her hair is – which because official – entirely brown, and it was the lighting of the stage or her scroll glowing that made it appear purple.
  • Some fans did not take her usage of Shinki's attack pattern very well at all, most expecting Mima or Shinki to make an appearance in the Windows games after being practically forgotten about. The sight of Byakuren filling Shinki's attack stroked these fans the wrong way. Whether it was from the attack pattern or being in Makai, some fans however speculate she has a relationship or acquaintance with Shinki and is shown in artwork, sometimes suggesting that Shinki taught Byakuren some of her attacks.

Official Profiles

Official Sources

References

  1. Comment on Yamu's blog (NSFW) on 2009/09/24 at 18 o'clock―俺的というか、神主的に髪の毛自体の色って言ってた。(夏コミ直後に話す機会があった時、真っ先に聞いたw)
  2. Symposium of Post-mysticism: Part 5
  3. Symposium of Post-mysticism: Part 4