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Kasen Ibaraki in Wild and Horned Hermit
More Character Titles
|Species||Unknown, posing as a Hermit|
|Abilities||Understanding what birds say, crushing onryou, instant movement, using animals, remote control of artificial arms, connecting separate spaces, guiding and transfiguring youkai, hiding her home using fangshu, creating and controlling light orbs|
|Location||Youkai Mountain, also seen at the Hakurei Shrine|
|Show Print Work appearances|
Kasen Ibaraki (茨木 華扇 Ibaraki Kasen) (with pseudonyms Ibarakasen 茨華仙 and Kasen 華仙) is a mysterious self-proclaimed hermit living in the mountains. Possessing an artificial arm and various abilities, she can often be seen dispensing knowledge to Reimu, Marisa, and Sanae. She first appeared in Wild and Horned Hermit, in which she is the main character.
Kasen is kind and polite to nearly everyone. She is always willing to lend a word of advice or teach a lesson, but is often seen as preachy and overly critical of others.
- Guiding of animals
Kasen is able to communicate with animals, including cryptids, beast youkai and dragons, and has a great deal of knowledge about them. She knows the antidotes to obscure venoms, as well as the processes that lead an animal to become various types of youkai and how to affect them. She also employs a number of trained animals as servants, whom she can apparently summon to her side.
- Artificial arm
Kasen's bandaged right arm is secretly an artificial one, apparently consisting of black smoke, and Kasen is capable of detaching it to act independently. Her arm is also capable of crushing vengeful spirits, removing them from the cycle of reincarnation entirely; Komachi Onozuka appears unsure how exactly Kasen does this. Of note, her arm is blown apart when it touches the Hakurei Yin-Yang Orb, implying that it has youkai properties.
- Hermit arts
While she may or may not be a real hermit, Kasen has used the common hermit technique of hiding her dwelling place, preventing anyone from reaching it unless they follow a specific (regularly changed) route.
- Creating light orbs
In chapter 10 of Wild and Horned Hermit Kasen creates orbs of light that last for a long time. This appears to be a generic application of mystic power, rather than a specific ability of Kasen's.
Little is known about Kasen's history so far, other than that she seems to be hiding some secret which Suika Ibuki is either privy to or related to. However, a newspaper article in Symposium of Post-mysticism shows that she has been a hermit at Youkai Mountain since at least 1980, if not earlier. It is known that Kasen lost her arm at some point in the past and replaced it with a artificial one.
Although she introduces herself in Wild and Horned Hermit as Ibarakasen (茨華仙), or Kasen (華仙) for short, this is merely her art-name; her real name is Kasen Ibaraki (茨木 華扇 Ibaraki Kasen). Note the different spellings of "Kasen".
Her family name, Ibaraki (茨木) could mean "rose bush", while Kasen (華扇) is written with the characters for "flower fan". The name Ibaraki is also likely a reference to Ibaraki-dōji.
In her art-name, 茨 (ibara) refers to a thorny wild rose, hence the rose brooch and thorn motif on her dress. The character 華 (ka) means "flower", "petal" or "beauty", while 仙 (sen) is the first character of hermit (and its Chinese reading is the Chinese word for hermit). Thus "Ibarakasen" could translate roughly as "Rose-flower hermit".
In her original appearance, she has red eyes, and shoulder-length pink hair with Chinese-style double buns. Her right arm is wrapped in bandages. She wears a white shirt and a green skirt, over those a brown front panel that has a thorny vine motif and a large rose-shaped ornament just below collar level. She also appears to have a shackle on her left wrist.
- Wild and Horned Hermit
Kasen meets Marisa Kirisame outside the Human Village as the latter was running an errand for Reimu Hakurei. In the beginning, she appears to be nothing but a simple, strange ascetic, but it's all a guise. Her real motive for appearing at the Hakurei Shrine is to search for the Kappa's Arm, thought by her to be at the Hakurei Shrine. Second, according to her, her objective is to shut down the connection between humans and the Former Hell. What that means is unclear, but she takes great interest in the runaway evil spirits at the Underground Geyser Center, and is able to destroy them with her bandaged arm which, when unwrapped, takes the form of black ash or smoke. This brings her to the attention of Komachi Onozuka, whose superiors are concerned about Kasen's movements. As she continues to act in secret, she also attempts to teach Reimu, Sanae Kochiya, and Marisa how to be better people, investigates and wraps herself up in various small time incidents, and introduces Reimu and the others to her power to control various beasts.
Kasen remembers Reimu Hakurei from long before, having visited the Hakurei Shrine many times in the past, although Reimu's memory failed her and she had to be reminded who Kasen was. She's mostly earned Reimu's annoyance, who dislikes sermons and doesn't want her shrine to smell of them. She mostly thinks of Kasen as a nagging, preachy busybody. However, Reimu often concedes, either because Kasen is usually right or she doesn't want to deal with her. Kasen is openly critical of Reimu, believing her to be too greedy and slack in her duties.
Initially thinking she was just a strange hermit, Marisa Kirisame also met Kasen some time before Wild and Horned Hermit and is the first to remember who she was. Once reunited, Kasen is invited by Marisa to visit more often, to the disdain of Reimu. Marisa hopes that Kasen will teach her any life extending techniques and is more than willing to listen to Kasen's preaching in exchange.
Mostly cryptids who can be summoned at any time, such as when she called on the child dragon to abduct Reimu and used the dapeng for transportation. However, there was a point at which the raijuu she captured previously felt lonesome and ran away. She is also shown to have a snake and monkey.
Sanae Kochiya lives on the Youkai Mountain near to Kasen and are considered neighbors. They meet fairly often and are on friendly enough terms. Kasen is a bit critical of Sanae, as well, albeit to a much lesser extent than Reimu. Sanae describes her as living in a large mansion, corrected by Kasen as being a training dojo.
Despite being friendly enough with Sanae, she is highly suspicious of Kanako and Suwako's schemes to attain faith and their inability to handle the Underground Geyser Center's dangers.
Komachi Onozuka and Kasen are slightly antagonistic toward each other. Ordered to keep Kasen under surveillance, Komachi is distrusting of her, even to the point of threatening her with her scythe - although the death god doesn't appear to be serious about it.
When Suika Ibuki appeared at the Hakurei Shrine, Kasen quickly fled the scene in order to avoid her. She appears familiar with Suika, but her relationship with her is unknown, and she appears hesitant about letting Suika know about her current status. However, after learning that Kasen borrowed some sake from Yuugi, Suika realised that Kasen was planning something and decided to leave her alone.
- Kasen was one of the possibilities ZUN had in mind for the Extra Stage boss of Ten Desires, along with Byakuren Hijiri.
- Kasen is mentioned in Ten Desires' ending no.4 where it's explaining that Marisa heard from Kasen that the ultimate goal of Taoism is to achieve immortality.
- Kasen appears to be based on the oni general Ibaraki-doji. Some of her behaviour suggests that like her namesake she is actually an oni and/or a member of the Big Four of the Mountain, but the truth of her past is currently a mystery.
- Kasen's title of "The One-armed Horned Hermit" (片腕有角の仙人) appears to be derived from the titular character of the Noh play "One-horned Hermit" (一角仙人 Ikkaku Sennin).
- From a historical perspective, the Noh play suggests that Kasen may not exactly be a hermit, but a rishika, a person who gives wisdom. They are different from hermits in that they are sometimes regarded as Buddhist saints.
- Kasen recites one of Miyako no Yoshika's poetry in her first appearance. According to legends, Ibaraki-douji was deeply impressed after reading Miyako no Yoshika's works.
- Because of the advantages of being a hermit, Kasen is not required to eat that much, suggesting that she could be potentially very thin in return. Fans picked that up, drawing her with a very skinny exposed chest to the extent that you can see her ribs under her skin. It is a pun on "Rib-kasen", which is Abarakasen (肋華仙) in Japanese.
- Though in contrast, most arts give her a moderate frame and figure, sometimes more so.
- For the above reason in addition to her general style of dress, Kasen has become a very popular target of doujins of a non-work safe nature. Rather impressive for a character seen only in manga thus far.
- Kasen's bandaged "arm" is used in various ways in fanart, from rocket punches to less than clean references.
- For some reason, Kasen is sometimes portrayed with a sign in her hand, which was featured in Chapter 2 of Wild and Horned Hermit.
- Many fans expected Kasen to appear in Ten Desires. Due to this there exists a fanmade Phantasm Stage featuring her.
- Since the introduction of Seiga Kaku in Ten Desires, fans have frequently depicted Kasen and her together, very often on unfriendly terms as she is a proper Hermit while Seiga is a Wicked one.
- A few arts go with the scenario that the enmity is especially fierce as Yoshika (Seiga's servant) was actually the poet (that Kasen befriended in the past) that she poisoned.
- "キャラクター紹介 [Character Introduction]" (in Japanese). Ichijinsha. June 2011. http://www.ichijinsha.co.jp/special/toho_ibarakasen/.
- Oriental Sacred Place Chapter 16
|This page is part of Project Characters, a Touhou Wiki project that aims to write proper descriptions for all official characters of Touhou Project.|