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Yukari Yakumo

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八雲 (やくも)   (ゆかり)
Yukari Yakumo
jakɯmo jɯkaɽʲi (♫)
Yukari Yakumo
Yukari Yakumo in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
Border of Phantasm
More Character Titles
Species

Youkai

Abilities

Manipulation of boundaries

Age

At least 1,200 years old, older than the history of Gensokyo itself

Occupation

Unknown; she sleeps most of the time

Location

Somewhere along the boundaries of Gensokyo

Music Themes
Appearances
Official Games
Print Works
Music CDs

Yukari Yakumo (八雲 紫 Yakumo Yukari) is a legendary youkai who is able to manipulate boundaries. She's got Ran Yakumo serving her as shikigami. She is called the "gap youkai" (すきま妖怪 sukima youkai),[1] although "gap youkai" is not the name of a species, as she is more of a one-of-a-kind type of youkai.[2] Regardless of her power, Yukari appears to be the most well-informed being in Gensokyo of any kind, and usually achieves her goals through manipulating events rather than direct combat.

General Information

Yukari first appeared as the phantasm stage of Perfect Cherry Blossom with Ran Yakumo serving her as shikigami. Despite being a high-class boss compared to other Extra and Final stage bosses, she's made occasional appearances in later games. She was a playable character in Imperishable Night, partnered with Reimu Hakurei (and supported her in Subterranean Animism), and was playable in the fighting games, but was only a cameo in the background of Hopeless Masquerade. Also, she was also an Extra stage target in Shoot the Bullet and appeared on the Final Day of Impossible Spell Card.

She is one of the oldest youkai in Gensokyo, one of the strongest of youkai, and is praised as one of the wisest of youkai.[3][4]. She was one who proposed the Great Hakurei Barrier, which covers Gensokyo, and is therefore tied to Gensokyo's creation. She is the only known youkai who is able to pass this barrier in order to access the Outside World, although there are a few instances like Mamizou Futatsuiwa who's passed it. She also performs surveillance and safety administration (mainly for Ran Yakumo). She is simply one of the most mysterious youkai living in Gensokyo.

Personality

Yukari is known for being a very youkai-like youkai who sleeps all day and lives for the enjoyment of life. Though she rarely leaves her house, she's well-connected and is acquainted with most of the most powerful youkai as well as anyone having anything to do with the Great Hakurei Barrier or the outside world, although she rarely attacks humans.[3] She has a tendency to toy with her opponents rather than use her full power from the start. If anyone is suited for the role of "mastermind", it's Yukari. She excels at mathematics and is experienced due to her long life.

She possesses superhuman intellect, and especially surpasses in dealing with numbers. In Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red, as Ran Yakumo said, this intellect is something that even Ran is not able to understand, to the extent that for example that she is able to determine the depths of the darkness of Avici or determine in an instant how long it would take for Ursa Major to devour the North Star, as it seems. Concretely to what extent this amazing intellect goes is hard to know, but it would be no mistake to think that this intellect far surpasses that of humans.

She often has a great deal of insight and understanding about whatever happens in Gensokyo, and possesses considerable intellectual prowess, as well. Though she seems flaky and unreliable most of the time, when the safety or security of Gensokyo is at stake, she won't hesitate to get involved, even if it means using others to do the work for her. For example, in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, she treats Tenshi Hinanawi with much hostility after finding out the plot of the Heavens. She could easily be either a villain or a heroine, depending on her whims.

Yukari deals with problems by manipulating others to act to resolve things for her. She seems to rarely act directly except in particularly egregious situations. In all cases, she rarely lets anyone know what her true aims or goals are, and sometimes these goals are extremely abstract. Yukari has a well-deserved reputation of being fickle, whimsical, and lying often, and thus many characters in Gensokyo dislike her. For whatever reason, Yukari takes it all in stride and does not seriously deny any of those comments. She seems to actively try to keep her more obviously-altruistic actions a secret, such as her donations to the Hakurei Shrine in Strange and Bright Nature Deity. She possibly cultivates this image to ensure that people continue to fear her as a youkai, as this is what her true goal for a particularly complex gambit is revealed to be at the end of Cage in Lunatic Runagate.

Abilities and strength

Yukari is with no doubt one of the most powerful youkai in Gensokyo. A few other youkai like Suika Ibuki and Yuugi Hoshiguma have been considered to be around her level. Yukari also refers to Eiki and Watatsuki no Toyohime as being stronger than she is, and tries to avoid direct confrontations with them (Although in Eiki's case the statement is far more ambiguous and it could just mean that it would be "pointless to argue with" the Yama). Despite her power, she might still lose spell card battles to humans or youkai.

Her physical strength is what you'd expect from a youkai. While the extent of an average youkai's strength is never really specified, their bodily ability is typically very high, so her strength is still far from that of a human. There are some examples and statements which show Yukari's physical prowess:

  • In Curiosities of Lotus Asia Chapter 12, Yukari's hand is able to effortlessly block and brush aside a mallet swung by Rinnosuke Morichika with all his might, leaving him shocked that a small slender feminine hand was able to pull off such a feat. Rinnosuke said that it feels like he hit a pillow.
  • Hong Meiling, in one of her Touhou Hisoutensoku win quotes, notes that she felt a odd resistance from Yukari's body (presumably after punching and kicking her a lot), to the point where she wondered if Yukari was wearing something else under that presumably delicate dress of hers.

Yukari states in her own win quotes in Immaterial and Missing Power that she has no weaknesses, and even shooting, cutting, stabbing, hitting, or killing her is useless.[5] In Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, her ability is yet again described as being "without weaknesses", and as one of the most dangerous that youkai are known to possess. Her Imperishable Night profile also states that "she easily has enough power to annihilate all of Gensokyo if she so desires"[6], while the manual says that "the danger and power of her ability is beyond imagination".[7]

By mostly moving around in gaps, one would usually not see her as doing much physical labour at all, and according to Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, since she ends up in blurting out herself such sayings like "to do mountain climbing at such an age", there is the image that she is like an indoors-type youkai, but in the end, she is still a youkai.

Manipulation of boundaries
Yukari's "Danmaku Barrier", as illustrated in The Grimoire of Marisa.

With the word "boundary" in its name, Yukari is capable of pretty much anything put under the influence of this ability. In her monologue during A Beautiful Flower Blooming Violet Every Sixty Years, she explains that this power allows her to control the boundaries "between any and all things", like Gensokyo and the outside world, the worlds of the living and the dead, humans and youkai, and even the day and the night. [8] The most common application of Yukari's boundary manipulation abilities is opening "gaps" (すきま sukima) which act as portals between two places, where she's able to hold, sit on or emerge from such gaps. By manipulating borders in space and creating a chasm, she is able to link together separate places. According to this, she's able to show up in unexpected places from time to time, but the aforementioned suspiciousness has been refined. Although this gap is a kind of sub-space, within Yukari's gap, one can see a lot of eyes. These eyes are a manifestation of what one can say is the image of "how desires are swirling around" that Yukari sees in the outside world. The description of Yukari's Magic Eye "Laplace's Demon" spell card implies that Yukari can see using the eyes, as well. Also, although sign posts and other flotsam also drift about, these things also come from Yukari's image of "things that have come to be of no use in the outside world".

Other than that, since there is a boundary on the water surface so to speak, as there is definitely a distinction between water and atmosphere, and since there is the boundary called the horizon that separates the sky from the earth, as was said, she can freely manipulate the boundary of all existent things at will. According to Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, it seems that not only are physical boundaries, but also the general idea of boundaries are also able to be manipulated, and it seems like she would be able to manipulate the boundary between dreams and reality and open up holes for people to enter into dreams. Yukari is also capable of seeing (and seeing through) boundaries that are normally invisible; when the Human Village was displaced from history by Keine Kamishirasawa, Yukari was still able to see it.[9].

It's shown that Yukari can also control the boundaries and bend them to her will as seen in Immaterial and Missing Power when she adjusted the sky by manipulating the border between the daylight and moonlight to unite the day and the night.[10] According to Marisa Kirisame, Yukari can even control the boundary between "a danmaku for play and a danmaku for battle".[11]

There are limits to the kinds of places Yukari can connect with her gaps; she required multiple trips to reach Heaven in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, while in Silent Sinner in Blue she could only create a gap to the Moon under highly specific circumstances (and had to travel much of the distance to the Lunar Capital on foot). She is, however, capable of travelling between Gensokyo and the Outside World. Yukari can create gaps through which only she can pass, or through which anything can pass.[12]

Ultimately, since existence of anything consists of having a boundary, for anything to lose its boundary is a very big thing, as it would then not be able to have its own individual existence. As the rules that govern boundaries would govern this, it is said that to make a new boundary is to create a new existence, and to destroy a boundary is to negate an existence. Hieda no Akyuu evaluated this ability, saying "there is not any sort of defence method nor countermeasure, a power comparable to the power of gods". However, Yukari is capable of sensing and repairing damage to the Great Hakurei Barrier, and is widely believed to have aided in its construction (Yuyuko Saigyouji states that Yukari could not have done so herself). To add to all this, Hieda no Akyuu writes that "manipulation of boundaries" is theoretically a godlike power which would allow Yukari to create or destroy anything, but that all the stories about it are impossible to confirm.[3]

Examples of the usage of this ability:

  • Manipulation of the boundary between lies and truth of the moon reflected on the lake surface for an invasion of the surface of the moon from Gensokyo (Lunar War, Silent Sinner in Blue)
  • By the boundary between reality and fantasy, she isolated Gensokyo from the outside world, participating in the Great Hakurei Barrier Project (The Great Barrier Disturbance)
  • Upon Yuyuko's request, repairing the border between the present world and the Netherworld, i.e the boundary between life and death that has become thin (Perfect Cherry Blossom)
  • Since the Great Hakurei Barrier has loosened, she returned Rinnosuke Morichika to Gensokyo who has been ejected into the outside world (Curiosities of Lotus Asia)
  • Many of her Spell Cards allude to various circumstances involving boundary manipulation, such as: Barrier "Balance of Motion and Stillness", Barrier "Mesh of Light and Darkness", "Boundary of Humans and Youkai", between many others.
Onmyoudou

Yukari is skilled in Onmyoudou, the Taoism-derived arts of traditional Japanese court wizards, and specialises in spells which create and manipulate barriers (presumably due to overlap with her innate abilities). Yukari has been able to teach some of her spells to Reimu Hakurei, whose own techniques have similar roots.

Yukari also displays great aptitude with shikigami, binding a powerful kitsune and numerous lesser servants at once. As Shikigami are strongest when following orders, Yukari must also be skilled at giving the correct orders to fully maximize her shikigamis' potential. In an interview with Aya Shameimaru, Ran Yakumo states that despite sleeping most of the time, Yukari is capable of giving orders no one else would think up the instant she opens her mouth, and Yukari uses complex equations to increase Ran's power indefinitely (This manner of using shikigami is likely one of the reasons Yukari views computers and shikigami as one and the same).

Backstory

According to Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, an apparent article on Yukari appears in the first edition of the Gensokyo Chronicle from 1,200 years ago. However, this article did not refer to her name as "Yukari Yakumo"[3]. It is believed she chose this name for herself, the name "Yukari" signifying that she was a youkai of boundaries, and the name "Yakumo" from a poem about creating a great fenced mansion where one can live a peaceful life in seclusion, and a strong fortress to keep the gods trapped inside.[13] This land would be Gensokyo.

Saigyou Ayakashi Occurrence

Over a thousand years ago, Yukari met and became friends with a human girl named Yuyuko Saigyouji. Over time, Yuyuko was driven to suicide out of despair over her ability to control death. After Yuyuko died, her body was used to seal the Saigyou Ayakashi, a youkai tree which drained the lives of too many humans, by an unknown individual who hoped Yuyuko would never have to suffer and experience pain again. The seal was created as the boundary between life and death. Yukari continued to be friends with Yuyuko's ghost, although Yuyuko gradually forgot who she had been and why she had died[14].

It is not stated who sealed the Saigyou Ayakashi. It was someone who held Yuyuko very dear, judging by the record ("My wish... is that she will never again reincarnate, and never again suffer pain..."). Yuyuko's profile describes the hypothetical breaking of the seal as "breaching the boundary". The boundary sealing the Saigyou Ayakashi is apparently the boundary between life and death, as this is what the BGM that plays during the Saigyou Ayakashi's reflowering represents. Boundary of Life and Death is one of Yukari's spell cards. This possibly implies it was Yukari who sealed the Saigyou Ayakashi. Yukari's profile reveals she knew all along that Yuyuko's body was sealing it, and gives a clear motive, as the tree was killing too many humans. As another possible indication, The Grimoire of Marisa brings up the butterfly dream regarding Yuyuko's spell card during the Saigyou Ayakashi's reflowering, which is a theme associated with Yukari.

One day, Yuyuko requested that Yukari use her power to repair the border between the Netherworld and Gensokyo. Yukari sleepily set off to do so. She had known Yuyuko's plan to make the Saigyou Ayakashi bloom could never succeed, but was too busy sleeping to say or do anything about it, or to put the border back to normal after everything was finished, which put her on a collision course with the heroines of Perfect Cherry Blossom.

Lunar War

Also over a thousand years ago, the youkai now named Yukari Yakumo[15] organized an army of youkai and led them in an invasion of the Moon, of which Yuyuko was also present for[16][15]. Publicly, Yukari states the invasion was to take the Lunarians' source of power, an infinite energy source which let them play all day.[17]

However, the youkai were subsequently routed by the Lunarians, who possessed superior technology and magic, and forced to retreat to Earth. While Yukari claims she organized the invasion out of desire for that power, her true purpose may be that she did it to teach the youkai a lesson about starting wars of conquest; namely, that it was a bad idea, as since that time, no youkai have attempted to expand their territory beyond Gensokyo[3]

Border of Gensokyo

Since then, Yukari has had numerous roles in managing Gensokyo and the youkai. She authored a system of constellations for the youkai[18]. She enacted the Youkai Expansion Project 500 years ago by creating a border between illusion and reality around Gensokyo. She was one of several youkai who suggested the creation of the Great Hakurei Barrier 120 years ago and presumably was one of several that contributed to its creation.[3][19]

The Gensokyo Record in Perfect Cherry Blossom's prologue says that the original Gensokyo boundary (presumably the first "boundary between inside and outside" mentioned in Yukari's Perfect Memento in Strict Sense article) was created by priests, but ZUN said in his e-mails that the Gensokyo Record is not reliable, and that only the long lived youkai knows the true history of Gensokyo. Hieda no Akyuu firmly believes Yukari was involved and Curiosities of Lotus Asia Chapter 26's prologue states that Yukari being its actual creator is an ongoing rumor.

Yukari and "The Vampire Incident"

Regarding the vampire incident in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, it is not stated who were the powerful youkai that defeated the vampire, who signed the contract with the vampire, or who was the one who wrote the original draft of the Spell Card rules that came afterwards (as it was also written on youkai contract paper, Hieda no Akyuu feels it wasn't the Shrine Maiden). However, the colophon at the end reveals that Yukari is the author of a work called "Vampire Pact". This possibly implies her involvement in at least one of these things (if not all three) in the fact that Yukari may've had been involved in the deal with the devil (presumably Remilia Scarlet).

On the related note to the contract, it's explicitly stated in her Perfect Cherry Blossom profile that she's the one responsible for outsiders ending up in Gensokyo, where most of them get devoured by youkai. Her involvement is made even more explicit in Chapter 14 of Wild and Horned Hermit, where Yukari reveals to Kasen Ibaraki that having the zashiki-warashi sent to the outside world takes precedence above keeping them in Gensokyo, and then cryptically comments, "Gensokyo's getting the food to fill the stomachs of all of its youkai from somewhere." This could further extend to an article on Symposium of Post-mysticism, where there were human bones near a well, but no human of Gensokyo was missing and Yukari made no reference to the outside world humans, calling it a "misunderstanding"; the bones later on disappeared.

Underground Agreement

She made a deal with certain youkai to allow them to have their own realm underground in Former Hell if they pacified the evil spirits there[20]. For a while, Yukari took it upon herself to make regular check-ups on various aspects of Gensokyo such as the Human Village or the barrier, but eventually took on Ran Yakumo as a shikigami and left such tasks to her.[21]

Character Basis

Yukari, as illustrated in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense.

Name and origin

Her full name is Yukari Yakumo (八雲 紫). The characters for Yakumo (八雲) literally mean "eight clouds", but can also mean "countless clouds", and Yukari () means "purple" or "violet" (In ordinary Japanese perspective these two colors are not discriminated).

Chapter 26 of Curiosities of Lotus Asia reveals that Yukari gave herself that name, in which she didn't have that name 1,200 years ago[3]. Probably a coincidence, there is a train service in Japan called "Yakumo" (やくも).

Yukari's name related to Colors

All of the Yakumo family are named after colors. The light frequencies (energies) of the colors are proportional to their powers: Chen (orange) << Ran Yakumo (indigo) < Yukari (violet). The energy of violet light is the highest in the visible spectrum, and violet light is the boundary between visible and invisible light. Red light (the symbolic color of Remilia Scarlet or Reimu Hakurei) is another boundary, but they are stronger than Chen. Fittingly, when Reimu and Yukari team up in Imperishable Night, they are called the "Boundary Team". In addition to maintaining the Great Hakurei Barrier, their colors form the two boundaries between visible and invisible light. In addition, the word "yukari" is uncommonly used to mean "border" or "edge", albeit with a different character.

Occasionally, double rainbows form after rainfall—there's the rainbow one usually sees (red on the top, and violet at the bottom), and another, larger, fainter one above it. The colors on the second rainbow are reversed—red on the bottom, and violet at the top. In other words, the outside edges of the rainbow are violet—or, put another way, violet forms the boundary between the sky and the rainbow. Thus, Yukari's given name strongly signifies the idea of boundaries.

In Japan (and many other countries) "purple" or "violet" had been thought as a noble color, and used occasionally as a color for high ranks. In fact, ZUN mentioned in some of his interviews[citation needed] that he was aware of this fact and uses the color on certain character designs to show levels of power and nobility, thus in this sense using both "violet" as her name and in dress shows that Yukari was designed to be powerful and high ranking.

Yukari's name related to Koizumi Yakumo (Lafcadio Hearn)

There is an assumption that her name Yakumo is taken from the writer Lafcadio Hearn, who naturalized as a Japanese citizen and renamed to "Koizumi Yakumo". When fans asked about the implied connection between Yukari and Maribel Hearn in a high school open lecture program, ZUN brought up Lafcadio Hearn but did not elaborate. See Maribel Hearn article page for details.

Yukari's name related to an Ancient poem

Yakumo also comes from the first ancient poem written in what would become the Japanese "Tanka" form:

"Yakumo tatsu / Izumo yagegaki / Tsuma-gomini / Yaegaki tsukuro / Sono yaegaki wo"
Definitely in keeping with the character's origin/age in the storyline. The translation into English is:
"Eightfold rising clouds/ Build an eightfold fence / An eightfold Izumo fence / Wherein to keep my bride-- / Oh! splendid eightfold fence"
This poem was attributed to the god Susanoo. Interpretations vary as to the meaning of the poem.

Yukari's name is thoroughly analyzed in chapter 26 of Curiosities of Lotus Asia by Rinnosuke Morichika. However, Rinnosuke implies at the end that there may be even more meanings hidden in it.

Design

Her first appearance was in Perfect Cherry Blossom, where she is depicted with purple eyes and long blonde hair. She carries a pink lace parasol and a paper fan, and rides on a red gap that leads to an unknown destination. She wears a deep purple dress, a pale pink mob cap with a thin red ribbon, and smaller ribbons tied liberally on her accessories and the tips of her hair.

In her appearances in Immaterial and Missing Power and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, her eyes have become dark golden. She wears a purple Chinese-style tabard with various Trigrams over a pale pink Western-style dress (similar to Ran Yakumo's outfit), wears her hair coiled up into her mob cap, and usually carries a pink parasol. She wears the same outfit in Imperishable Night, but her hair is left loose. In the Japanese community this outfit is known as the "Taoist dress" (道士服).

According to ZUN, the purple dress in Perfect Cherry Blossom is her casual daywear, and the pink one with the Ba Gua symbol in Imperishable Night is the work attire she wears when she commands her Shikigami.[citation needed]

Hexagram

The outfit Yukari wears in post-Perfect Cherry Blossom games has two groups of solid/broken lines called trigrams on the front. A solid line represents Yang and a broken line is Yin. The top trigram () is "dui" or "tui" (open) and is associated with west and water. The bottom trigram () is "kūn" (field) and is associated with southwest and earth, as well as Yoni (divine passage). The two trigrams together in that order form the hexagram for "clustering," "gathering together," and "finished", which sounds more fitting for Suika Ibuki.

The hexagram "Ts'ui" formed by the combination of "tui" and "kun" results in a meaning of gathering together to persevere towards a destination. This hexagram signifies also great wisdom which is necessary for leadership when directing an assembly together to create overall prosperity for everyone. Yukari herself can be seen as an overseer of Gensokyo. Her ability to create boundaries would definitely give her the ability to bring everyone together while maintaining the harmony of the "created" world. Maybe this design was a critique on her abilities?

Story

Games

Yukari as seen in Wild and Horned Hermit chapter 14
Perfect Cherry Blossom

<Insert General Summary>

<Insert Summary>

<Insert Summary>

<Insert Summary>

Immaterial and Missing Power
Imperishable Night
Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
Subterranean Animism
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.

Literature

Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red
Main article: Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red/Yukari

After hearing a fox's cry, Aya Shameimaru went to investigate. She found Yukari beating Ran Yakumo over the head with an umbrella, which Yukari claimed was only for disciplining her. Because Aya is a crow tengu, she feels animal rights are important and was upset by Yukari's "animal abuse".

During the interview Yukari insisted that it was not animal abuse because Ran is a shikigami, which Yukari considered to make her no longer count as being an animal. Yukari explained that as long as a shikigami follows its master's will then it will be as strong as its master. Ran had apparently disobeyed Yukari by doing something she hadn't been ordered to do. Because of that Ran wasn't as strong as she could be and ended up putting herself in danger while relying only on her own strength. This discipline was meant to remind Ran just who her master is so that Ran won't needlessly be in danger by fighting at less than full strength. Aya didn't think that excused it at all.

Yukari also called the Bunbunmaru Newspaper a shoddy paper and offered to make Aya her shikigami too, which Aya refused.

Perfect Memento in Strict Sense

Yukari edited Perfect Memento in Strict Sense and was one of its major sources, according to Memorizable Gensokyo, yet did not confirm her involvement in the above events. One common thread regarding them seems to be that they primarily benefited humans, not youkai (the vampire contract even went so overboard towards protecting humans that youkai complained to the shrine maiden). In addition to this, she has her own in-universe article that provides encyclopaedic information about her.

Touhou Bougetsushou

Ran Yakumo tells Remilia Scarlet in Silent Sinner in Blue chapter 3 that Yukari invaded the moon to procure its secret of power to improve the youkai quality of life. This is probably the official reason Yukari gave all youkai for the war, as otherwise, Remilia could confirm Ran was lying just by asking around. However, privately, in Cage in Lunatic Runagate Chapter 5, Yukari reveals to Ran that she knew it was impossible for the beings of Earth to ever win a direct confrontation against the Lunarians. It is never stated when Yukari made this realization, so it is possible she knew this even before the first Genso-Lunar War. In addition, The last chapter of Cage in Lunatic Runagate has the line, "While it was Yukari who led the invasion that had convincingly failed more than one thousand years ago,". The word "convincingly" could imply it was staged. If this was the case, then presumably the outcome where youkai decided to stop expanding beyond Gensokyo was Yukari's true intent.

Wild and Horned Hermit

<insert summary>

Symposium of Post-mysticism

Back in 1984, Aya Shameimaru reports that during Gensokyo's winter, children were finding skeletal remains of a human while playing around a dried-up well, to which it ended up that the well was declared to be off-limits. Apparently, a tsurube-otoshi youkai (presumably Kisume) came out of well saying "So is THIS the body you dropped down here?" and threw the bones at them. There were no-one missing, so for who the bones belong to is a mystery.

The bones disappeared while no-one was looking during preparations to bury it in Muenzuka. This rolled onto a case whether there was any sort of incident or not, along with the identity of the previous owner of the bones. Yukari though it was by the youkai from the Underworld and that they wanted to scare the humans since their powers come from the negative energy of humans, but it may've been a simple misunderstanding. There was a non-intervention agreement pact made between the underworld youkai and the surface, so the situation could become complicated.

The incident was settled as silver birch branches have been mistaken for bones, to which no ominous occurrences had happened at the Human Village. At a later date, it was confirmed that the dried-up well was filled in with dirt; who did this is unknown.

Connexions with outside Gensokyo

In Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 of Curiosities of Lotus Asia, when Rinnosuke Morichika had an iPod in Kourindou, only Yukari knew how to actually use it, and further knew that it was considered a trendy item in the Outside World. She similarly knew about the Nintendo Game Boy and DS. She appears very knowledgeable about the outside world.

Because of her understanding of technology from the outside world, there are rumors that she lives in the outside world from time to time. It is confirmed that she at least visits there. Reimu mentions in Curiosities of Lotus Asia Chapter 24 that Yukari told her that she gets to enjoy twice the amount of cherry blossom viewings a year because she also goes to watch the blossoms in the outside world, which occurs at a different time from Gensokyo's. In addition, Yukari at the end of Chapter 25 of Strange and Bright Nature Deity is shown viewing the Hakurei Shrine from the outside world (some panels focus specifically on pointing out there are cars driving by).

Marisa Kirisame once stated that Yukari uses a small box to talk to her shikigami when they are far away from her, which led Rinnosuke to believe that she owns a phone. She has given characters phone-like devices in Subterranean Animism. Yukari mentions in Oriental Sacred Place chapter 10 that radio towers fall into Gensokyo every once in a while. Presumably her phones use those in order to work.

There is an theory for something like "isn't she outside of Gensokyo?", but since her home is a place that Ran Yakumo can enter and exit ordinarily, her home would definitely be at least somewhere within Gensokyo. It was said that she lived in an estate somewhere in Gensokyo, but other than that, nothing is known. It is said that her residence is at the end of Gensokyo just like how the Hakurei Shrine is, but the true location is completely unclear. Mayohiga is not Yukari's residence; in Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red, it was called the "village of cats", and it is only a deserted house where Chen gathers cats.

Relationships

Using her gap to travel accross Gensokyo, despite sleeping a lot, Yukari has encountered many youkai and humans in theTouhou Project. By many residents of Gensokyo, she is commonly referred to as the "Gap Youkai" when she's involved in a conversation.

Reimu and Marisa

Yukari has always had a close tie to the Hakurei Shrine maidens, as one meaning of her name is she controls the Shrine Maidens of Gensokyo. Reimu Hakurei, along with Marisa Kirisame, first met Yukari when she asked her to repair the border between the Netherworld and Gensokyo in Perfect Cherry Blossom. However, Yukari indicated she is already familiar with Reimu and Marisa to an unspecified extent. With Marisa, it resulted in Yukari playing a prank on her by keeping her up way past bedtime.

As a friend, she often visits Reimu at the Hakurei Shrine and often drops by Marisa's house randomly, to which in Perfect Memento in Strict SenseMarisa complains that Yukari never uses the door. Yukari steals food from Reimu in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, stays at Reimu's shrine for at least a month into the winter in Curiosities of Lotus Asia, and is among several characters when Reimu complains about youkai visitors to her shrine in Wild and Horned Hermit. She sometimes visits to discuss philosophical matters like in Seasonal Dream Vision, or Strange and Bright Nature Deity where she gave Reimu out-of-season taro roots from the outside world, asking her to think about their meaning.

As an employer, she's given Reimu several missions in Subterranean Animism, Imperishable Night and Silent Sinner in Blue. An offhand comment in the first stage of Imperishable Night shows she compensated Reimu for it.

As a mentor, she is often teaching Reimu not just about Gensokyo (she does that a lot, too, shown several times in Oriental Sacred Place) but also how to do her job as Shrine Maiden. She shows up when Reimu purposefully damages the barrier in Curiosities of Lotus Asia to tell her not to do that, reminds Reimu of her youkai-crushing duties in Imperishable Night's extra, and makes Reimu train hard to prepare for Silent Sinner in Blue (Curiosities of Lotus Asia states the latter is rare for her). The latter included Yukari attacking Reimu at unannounced times.

She seems to be secretly looking after Reimu in other ways, as she sneaks yen donations into the Hakurei Shrine's donation offering box when Reimu isn't looking in chapter 23 of Strange and Bright Nature Deity. Like most characters, Reimu finds Yukari extremely annoying. Yukari doesn't mind, clearly joking "How rude!" or "What a greeting!" to such things. In the case of Seasonal Dream Vision for Marisa, she got angry over Yukari's random visit, but it was because Yukari was curious as to Marisa's thoughts on the matter regarding the flower incident, so presumably many of Yukari's other visits to Marisa are for her own amusement, as well.

Shikigami

Yukari smacking Ran Yakumo, as illustrated in Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red.
Ran Yakumo

Ran Yakumo is Yukari's main shikigami. Yukari is the one who's given Ran her current name. An interview in Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red with Aya Shameimaru implies Ran came to be Yukari's shikigami because of all the power it promised, and is quite satisfied with the result despite losing her freedom. Ran was not born before the Genso-Lunar War, so she must have become Yukari's shikigami sometime after that.

Yukari keeps the relationship on a user-to-shikigami level. This relationship is analogous to a user and its computer in the outside world, and Yukari insists heavily that Ran is not a fox, but is a tool to be used. Yukari's own thoughts and perspective in Chapter Five of Cage in Lunatic Runagate refers to Ran with computer terms, such as programming or debugging. Ran is still more advanced than a computer, so Yukari attempts philosophical discussion with Ran from time to time, but typically gets boring responses involving numbers and calculations. Yukari loves Ran very much, but in terms of how one would love a tool they own.

Ran often "forgets" she is a shikigami, taking matters into her own hands without Yukari's orders. This can't be helped because Yukari sleeps a lot. Yukari will physically discipline Ran when this happens (by whacking her with her umbrella). Using a tool and keeping it in good shape (via discipline) shows love for your shikigami (according to Yukari). Ran accepts and seems satisfied with this, and also seems to care for her master, attempting to encourage Yukari after the second Genso-Lunar War failed. But she won't disagree that her master is annoying and is often driven to much frustration by Yukari's double-speak and secrecy.

Chen

Ran also has a shikigami named Chen. As Ran's shikigami, Chen follows the will of both Ran Yakumo and Yukari Yakumo. It's implied she's quite a handful, and unlike Ran, Yukari views Chen as both Ran's shikigami and their pet, saying in Subterranean Animism, "I wonder where our cat went off to? It's such a pain when she just suddenly disappears like that. I wish you'd take care to program your own familiar properly. Without any bugs."

Unlike Ran Yakumo, Chen is never called "Chen Yakumo", even when "Chen" and "Ran Yakumo" show up in the same sentence in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense.

Yukari's crows

Zenki and Goki are two crows that Yukari and Ran use as shikigami. They might be temporary names for all shikigami crows, as one gets killed by Watatsuki no Toyohime, yet three more spy for Yukari later in Chapter 20 of Silent Sinner in Blue.

Netherworld Residents

Cover of Silent Sinner in Blue vol. 3, featuring Yukari and Yuyuko Saigyouji.
Cover of Immaterial and Missing Power OST, featuring Yukari and Suika Ibuki.
Yuyuko Saigyouji

Yukari and Yuyuko Saigyouji were friends even while Yuyuko was alive more than a thousand years ago, and continued to be Yuyuko's friend after she became a ghost.Of note is that this friendship between Yuyuko and Yukari does not extend to Yukari's shikigami Ran, and Yuyuko does not mind others beating Ran up.

Yuyuko seems to be the only one who truly understands Yukari. Yukari knows this as well, often just assuming that Yuyuko knows what she's talking about or what's going on (this is clear whenever the two interact, including victory quotes). The two don't think exactly alike, however, which results in Yuyuko acting in ways that surprises Yukari. Yukari will do something just because Yuyuko asked and vice versa.

Yukari believed the Saigyou Ayakashi ate too many human lives. She was always aware that Yuyuko's body was sealing it. It's possible Yukari is the one who sealed it using Yuyuko's body, herself.

Youmu Konpaku

Being Yuyuko's servant, Yukari helps Youmu Konpaku with lessons and advice every once in a while, like in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody.

The Oni

Suika Ibuki

Yukari was Suika Ibuki's friend before the oni went underground. It is unknown how or when they became friends. Yukari looks out for Suika in Immaterial and Missing Power and Suika does favors for Yukari, such as rebuilding the Hakurei Shrine in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody or helping to investigate the underground. The two play danmaku battles with each other, though it's been a while since the last one before Scarlet Weather Rhapsody. In Oriental Sacred Place Chapter 12, Yukari is with Suika at the Hakurei Shrine New Year's Festival.

Suika does get annoyed with Yukari's "dirty tricks", but doesn't go beyond snapping that they're dirty. Suika may know some of Yukari's secrets, as she's referred to Yukari's existence as fraudulent in Immaterial and Missing Power, and stated to Yukari that it was rare to see her "on this side of the world" in broad daylight.

Yuugi Hoshiguma

Yuugi Hoshiguma is one of the oni (presumably Suika is another) that Yukari made a deal with. In exchange for keeping the evil spirits of former hell in control, Yukari would give them their own place in the Underworld and keep the overworld youkai from intruding. Unlike Suika, Yukari does not seem to have any personal attachments to Yuugi. As an aside, from Yukari's Immaterial and Missing Power ending, Yukari believes that if the oni ever do come back to Gensokyo, it must be gradual instead of all oni coming back at once.

Residents of the Scarlet Devil Mansion

Remilia Scarlet

Yukari uses Remilia Scarlet as part of her scheme to extract the residence tax and get revenge on the Lunarians in Silent Sinner in Blue. Patchouli reveals Remilia knew she was manipulated but didn't care, because she was bored. Remilia herself has an unexplained rivalry of sorts with Yukari, wanting to get to the Moon in her own way before Yukari could to surprise her. This rivalry might be due to the power struggle mentioned in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense's Vampire article, possibly starting with the vampire incident. The rivalry is mostly friendly (and only Remilia seems to care), as Remilia has no objections to Yukari staying for the party at the end of Silent Sinner in Blue or assisting her with investigating in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody.

Dialogues in Immaterial and Missing Power seems to imply they've already known each other before that game. It is possible they met at the vampire incident, and that Yukari was the one that signed "the contract" with Remilia.

Patchouli Knowledge

Patchouli Knowledge first meets Yukari in her scenario in Immaterial and Missing Power. In Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, Yukari places her in charge of watching the underworld in her victory quote to her. Patchouli later informs and urges her to act about the evil spirits coming out of the underground in Subterranean Animism's prologue. Yukari finally agrees to act because she "can't let them all just do whatever they want again". It is unknown (even to Patchouli) which incident Yukari is referring to (there are many possible ones). Patchouli continues to collaborate with Yukari regarding the underground, as she informs Yukari of the Palanquin Ship in a Touhou Hisoutensoku victory quote.

Eientei Residents

Along with Reimu, Yukari confronted Eirin and Kaguya Houraisan to restore the full moon in Imperishable Night, making Yukari one of the few characters who knows they're from the moon. After the incident was resolved and the moon restored, the girls all had a round of moon viewing sake with each other.

Unknown to each other, Eirin and Yukari's own history actually goes back further than that. As mentioned by Watatsuki no Toyohime at the end of chapter 17 of Silent Sinner in Blue, one thousand years ago, Eirin set up a trap to catch someone who'd try to invade the moon. Yukari was well aware of the trap, apparently having already triggered it before (assuming her "make-believe" story in Cage in Lunatic Runagate actually happened). She seems to bear a grudge against the Lunarian sage (Eirin) that set it, referring to her as "the much-despised Lunarian sage".

However, Yukari hasn't realized who Eirin is. Neither of them make special note of each other in Imperishable Night and are amicable with each other in the ending. Near the end of Silent Sinner in Blue, Yukari remarks to Ran Yakumo that she's unsure if "the Brain of the Moon" had actually settled on Earth. Yukari suspects Eirin is a spy for the Moon.

The final chapter of Cage in Lunatic Runagate reveals that Yukari orchestrated the events primarily to teach Eirin to fear the unknown, likely because those who live as humans in Gensokyo are supposed to fear the youkai (as stated in Yukari's lecture to Ran earlier about the aliens).

Minor Relationships

Rinnosuke Morichika

Yukari and Rinnosuke Morichika mostly have business arrangements. In exchange for fuel for his kerosene fan heater, Yukari takes merchandise she likes and occasionally provides information on items. While he is grateful, Rinnosuke also doesn't like dealing with her all that much and makes note of how ominous she seems. Although he can't remember it, Yukari once prevented Rinnosuke from being spirited away to the outside world.

Eiki Shiki, Yamaxanadu

When Yukari senses Eiki Shiki approaching in Seasonal Dream Vision; she and Yuyuko leave immediately, as even together, they were no match for the yama (note that the context in the Japanese can possibly be read as "pointless to argue with"). Perfect Memento in Strict Sense notes that most long-lived youkai were assisted by Eiki at least once and avoid her due to her lectures.

Alice Margatroid

For whatever reason, Alice Margatroid is willing to confront Yukari in Immaterial and Missing Power despite otherwise avoiding strong youkai such as Remilia Scarlet and Yuyuko Saigyouji. Yukari's also set up Alice's dolls off-page to allow for long-range communications in Subterranean Animism. Her dialogue towards Yukari in Immaterial and Missing Power shows that they knew each other before then. Like most characters, Alice is still suspicious of Yukari by default. Alice is aware of various youkai roles and agreements that Yukari is constantly preaching. Yukari also harshly scolds Alice in Alice's second bad ending in Immaterial and Missing Power, much to everyone else's entertainment.

Keine Kamishirasawa

Yukair and Keine Kamishirasawa met and fought at the Human Village in Imperishable Night. Keine's ability to hide history has no effect on Yukari, who didn't even know she was using her ability in the first place. It is unexplained why, but history and reality are mentioned regarding Yukari so often that there are many possible reasons. Yukari also disliked Keine for being a human-faced beast.

Fujiwara no Mokou

Yukari and Reimu fought Fujiwara no Mokou in Imperishable Night's Extra stage.

Three Fairies of Light

Yukari met the Three Fairies of Light in a continuation of chapter 0 in Eastern and Little Nature Deity chapter 5, asking if she could join in on their pranks. They ran away from her. Later, in Strange and Bright Nature Deity, Yukari needed to repair a tree that was part of the Great Hakurei Barrier. She did so by moving the three fairies into it, but only after testing that they were too weak to cause serious trouble. They failed the test with flying colors, so Yukari let them move in. Sunny's ability to reflect some of Yukari's danmaku did impress her a bit.

Gallery

Spell Cards

From various descriptions of Yukari's spell cards, many of her danmaku consists of light attacks, concentrated spirit power (for her manjis according to Scarlet Weather Rhapsody and assuredly her butterflies in Sinister Spirits: "Double Black Death Butterfly"), or even just attacking with boundaries and gaps. Her ability to transport objects via gaps also allows her to use almost any physical object as danmaku, including road signs and even an abandoned runaway train. Attacking with her parasol is not out of the question, and she sometimes uses her shikigami Ran Yakumo and Ran's shikigami Chen as projectiles (that can fire danmaku of their own) for her spell cards. Some of the names and descriptions from The Grimoire of Marisa for her spell cards implies she's capable of attacking with metaphorical concepts.

Additional Information

Spell Card 222

Fandom

Yukari is a common recurring character to appear in the fanbase of the Touhou Project, being very popular amongst the fans of Touhou. she may appear in many fangames and art, where despite being a high-class boss, compared to Flandre Scarlet, she may have more lower-class appearances to try and fit her better within the fangame. It's common to treat her to have an antagonistic role or a supporting role for Reimu Hakurei. For fandom material based on Yukari's Gap, see said article.

Maribel Relations

Yukari is famously associated with Maribel Hearn by fans due to the related nature of their abilities, the "ability to manipulate boundaries" and the "ability to see boundaries", although their exact relationship is never directly stated. When asked what their relationship was, ZUN said a cryptic remark about Lafcadio Hearn, a writer from the past who changed his name to Koizumi Yakumo. This confirms there is a relationship and it's analogous to Lafcadio Hearn (and if directly analogous, Maribel and Yukari may actually be the same person or related).[23] See Maribel Hearn's page for details.

Despite this, Yukari may be shown to be a motherly figure of some sort to Maribel, who will on the occasion visit the outside world to see Maribel. There's also trivial videos and artwork representing a nostalgic feeling that Yukari meets her "young-self" Maribel.

Characteristics

In contrast to her part canon personality, in some fan works, she is sometimes shown as being caring and affectionate towards Ran Yakumo and Chen, being a strict but motherly figure with Ran and grandmotherly to Chen and, in others, going with the fact that she is familiar with Reimu due to an unsaid event, she is sometimes shown as a mother-figure to Reimu Hakurei, as having cared for her when she was younger in the place of her parents.

There is a running gags involving her which plays on the fact that she sleeps a lot and leaves most of her work to her shikigami Ran. Due to the fact she sleeps a lot, fans tend to depict her as lazy, which is somewhat true (she did perform her tasks for awhile before she got a shikigami) and some fans depict her as nocturnal or crepuscular because she is mostly active when it is dark. Due to the fact she sleeps and was sleeping at the time she encountered Reimu (canonically), some fans interpret her outfit in Perfect Cherry Blossom as a nightgown and she's portrayed in one, also she's often drawn without shoes only socks or stockings.

Nicknames

Popular fan-nicknames for Yukari include "Sukima" ("gap"), "Yukarin" (a contraction of "Yukari-chan"), and the mock nickname "Babaa" (ババァ, roughly, "old hag," also BBA for short). The last one has been in use because she is known as one of the oldest youkai in Gensokyo. In relation to this, Yukari is also often depicted with Kanako Yasaka and Eirin Yagokoro. This is due to their family names containing the character ya () that, when misread, can mean old hag.

Miscellaneous
  • In some fanworks, Yukari insists on being 17 years old. Usage in fanworks is possibly a parody of Kikuko Inoue, who claims that she is 17 years old despite being way over that age. Musou Kakyou: A Summer Day's Dream casts Kikuko Inoue as the narrator (probably Yukari), in a nod to this in-joke.
    • This, along with her "old hag" reputation above, led to Yukari being depicted as easily offended when talking about her age, and comments regarding it are sometimes left unfinished and/or end with the addition of "*gapped*", as if Yukari herself gapped away the writer to avoid her actual age being revealed or made fun of.
  • Yukari has been compared to (and depicted cosplaying as) Sheryl Nome of Macross Frontier fame, something which became hilarious in hindsight when Sheryl's voice actress, Aya Endo, voiced Yukari in Koumajou Densetsu II: Stranger's Requiem.
  • In fanart, Yukari's fan is sometimes drawn to have Yuyuko Saigyouji's "fan" on her own.
  • She is speculated to be loosely based off of the "sukima-onna", a Japanese urban legend and folk tale (dating from the Edo Period).

Official Profiles

Official Sources

References

  1. As indicated by Ran and Chen's titles
  2. Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red - Yukari
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Perfect Memento in Strict Sense: Yukari Yakumo
  4. Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red: Ran Yakumo
  5. Immaterial and Missing Power - Yukari's Script:
    Yukari:Shooting, cutting, stabbing, hitting, killing... It's all useless against me.
    Yukari: I'll tell you a secret. My weakness is... nothing.
  6. Imperishable Night - Yukari's Profile
  7. Imperishable Night - Manual: The danger and potency of the power to manipulate boundaries is beyond imagination. It's something that can only be controlled by those who are able to withstand its stress, or some weirdo youkai like Yukari.
  8. A Beautiful Flower_Blooming Violet Every Sixty Years - Yukari: I'm a youkai with the ability to control the boundaries between any and all things. This power allows me to remove the boundary between anything: Gensokyo and the outside world, the worlds of the living and the dead, humans and youkai, even day and night.
  9. Imperishable Night Stage 3 - "Hey hey. I do see the humans as usual though. A deception of this level isn't useful at all, is it?"
  10. Immaterial and Missing Power Border Line - "While you were teasing me I adjusted the sky to enjoy both night and day. If the night falls now, the sky will be morning. The border of daylight and moonlight is mine"
  11. The Grimoire of Marisa: Yukari Yakumo
  12. Perfect Memento in Strict Sense: Yukari Yakumo - "No one can follow her through the gaps". Despite this statement, various canon works show her opening gaps for others to use.
  13. Curiosities of Lotus Asia/Chapter_26
  14. Perfect Cherry Blossom: Yuyuko and Yukari's profiles. Applies to the entire paragraph
  15. 15.0 15.1 Cage in Lunatic Runagate: Last_Chapter
  16. Cage in Lunatic Runagate: Chapter 7
  17. Silent Sinner in Blue: Chapter 3
  18. Curiosities of Lotus Asia: Chapter 22
  19. Perfect Cherry Blossom Reimu B Ending. Yuyuko comments that she doesn't think even Yukari could have made the Hakurei barrier by herself.
  20. Subterranean Animism: Reimu and Yukari's Scenario
  21. Perfect Memento in Strict Sense: Ran Yakumo
  22. ぶらり廃駅下車の旅 - ニコニコ大百科 the Nicopedia page of her spell card "Abandoned Line 'Aimless Journey to the Abandoned Station'" (Japanese).
  23. ZUN (19 Februari, 2005). "Doujin Barrier: The Work Called Touhou and the Fantasy of Game Creation" (in Japanese). Nagoya's Toukai High School: coolier. http://www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~coolier2/rep/tks_sp.html. Retrieved 21 September, 2011. 
  24. Mag-Net!. "Mag-Net! 第5回 東方Project". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhHfhZ-J3Cc. Retrieved 11 September, 2011.