Kanako Yasaka

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八坂 (やさか)  神奈子 (かなこ)
Kanako Yasaka
jasaka kanako (♫)
Kanako Yasaka
Kanako Yasaka in Mountain of Faith
The Avatar of Mountains and Lakes
More Character Titles
Species

Goddess of wind and rain (not native to Gensokyo)

Abilities

Creating heavenliness

Age

Over 2000 years old

Occupation

Moriya Shrine's Goddess

Location

Wind God's Lake at Moriya Shrine on top of Youkai Mountain, Underground Geyser Center[1]; Originally from the Outside World

Music Themes
Appearances
Official Games
Print Works

Kanako Yasaka (八坂 神奈子 Yasaka Kanako) is the main antagonist of Mountain of Faith. She's the current goddess of the Moriya Shrine after defeating its previous resident goddess Suwako Moriya in the Great Suwa War. She desires to collect large amounts of faith, but since the humans of the Outside World no longer place much importance on gods, she has transported the shrine to Gensokyo. She currently lives on top of the Youkai Mountain, where she has an uneasy relationship with the leaders of the tengu.

General Information[edit]

Kanako first appeared as the Final boss of Mountain of Faith, as well as being the Extra stage midboss. She was a target on stage 11 of Double Spoiler, one of Sanae Kochiya's spell cards in Touhou Hisoutensoku and was shown in Hopeless Masquerade. She was indirectly responsible for the events of Subterranean Animism, Undefined Fantastic Object, Touhou Hisoutensoku and Ten Desires.

As the deity of the Moriya Shrine, Kanako herself is considered a god, but she also possesses a human form. She is considered to be a divine spirit in this respect. Though she is currently considered a goddess of wind and rain, she currently has plans under way to transition into a goddess of technological innovation, as divine spirits can apparently change their own natures by using myths.

Personality[edit]

Kanako is an ambitious woman who treats religion like a business, using whatever means bring her the most "profit" - that profit being instead faith. She has a natural presence that can seem intimidating or suspicious at times, but also reliable. Unusually for a god she has little respect for tradition - she demands little formality in her worship, and encourages scientific progress. It is somewhat strange for a deity to be knowledgeable and interested about science.

She has no hostility towards humans, though as is the case with all deities, she may curse them if they are disrespectful. She also seems to be rather short-tempered, but she is vulnerable to gifts.

Ability[edit]

Ability to create heavenliness

Kanako's ability specifically refers to the element of Qian (), the "sky" of Bagua in Taoist philosophy. Qian is associated with creation, leadership, overtness, reliability, and acting first rather than reacting to others. Suwako Moriya's ability to create Kun (, earth), refers to the opposite element.

She is at least called "wind god", so it may be a power to manipulate wind, rain, and weather. For Kanako to be a god of agriculture, to manipulate the wind and rain and make the soil plentiful would definitely be the quickest and easiest way to quickly and easily gather faith.

In Symposium of Post-mysticism, it's stated that this ability of hers is still very much a mystery. Concerning what kind of power this is, since there is nothing that seems like a portrayal of this, it is not definite, but it is probably a power unimaginable to humans. After all, perhaps wind god→climate→air=sky. She has been seen altering the terrain with Suwako's help, opening holes to the underground, and even creating large structures. She helped build the Myouren Temple, as well.

Occupation[edit]

Kanako is currently the deity of the Moriya Shrine, and lives with Suwako Moriya, the de facto ruler of the shrine, and Sanae Kochiya, a wind priestess. She generally seems to spend her time implementing new ways to gain faith from those who live outside the Youkai Mountain.

Possessions[edit]

Kanako's shimenawa represents the figure of an entwined snake, which in turn represents resurrection, rebirth, and eternity through the repeated shedding of its own skin. She also possesses onbashira, which she apparently uses in traditional festivals to toss off of cliffs.

Backstory[edit]

Illustration of Kanako from Grimoire of Marisa

One of the gods of Yamato (the precursor of the modern Japanese state), Kanako took over the kingdom ruled by the native goddess Suwako Moriya by holding out a thin vine that immediately rusted all of Suwako's iron weaponry. However, the inhabitants of Suwako's kingdom found it difficult to accept their new deity. In order to consolidate her newfound realm, she borrowed Suwako's powers. In reality, Suwako still ruled, while Kanako was their deity in name only.

However, as time went on humans eventually began to disbelieve in the concept of eternity, which Kanako in part represented. They grew stronger and invented ways of getting around the agricultural problems posed by harsh rain and wind. As their belief in science and information grew, their faith in gods like Kanako waned, and thus did her power.

In order to solve this problem, Kanako decided that the most appropriate course of action would be to abandon the human world and gather faith in Gensokyo. It ended up working out quite well, and she started to be worshipped as the deity of the Youkai Mountain. She then realized that, after observing the Hakurei Shrine which, though low on faith, was frequently visited by youkai was the main reason she had been accepted so quickly.

Kanako, however, did not forsee the power of those who lived on the mountain, such as the kappa and tengu, growing greater through their worship of her. Worried about the power balance in Gensokyo, she resolved to rein in more believers from elsewhere, and thus decided to utilize the Hakurei Shrine for her own ends.

Character Design[edit]

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

Origin[edit]

Kanako is based off both Takeminakata-no-Mikoto (建御名方命) and Yasakatome-no-Mikoto (八坂刀売命),[2] gods of the Suwa Grand Shrine, which, on the other hand, Suwako Moriya is named after.

Takeminakata[edit]

Takeminakata, also known as Suwa Daimyōjin (諏訪大明神) or Suwa Myōjin (諏訪明神), is the god of wind, water, hunting, agriculture, and warfare worshiped in the Upper Shrine of Suwa (上社 Kamisha), one of two sites that make up the Grand Shrine of Suwa.

In the Kojiki, Takeminakata was a son of Ōkuninushi, ruler of the land of Izumo, who was defeated by the god of thunder, Takemikazuchi, acting as the messenger of the gods of heaven, and forced into exile in the "sea of Suwa in the land of Shinano." (Curiously, Takeminakata only appears in the Kojiki; he is absent in other sources that tell the same myth, such as the Nihon Shoki; it is thus speculated that Takeminakata was not originally associated with Izumo and was only artificially grafted into this myth.)

In Suwa, however, Takeminakata, as Suwa Myōjin, is instead considered to be a deity who defeated a local god named Moreya (a.k.a. Moriya, the god Suwako is based off) using only a branch or vine of wisteria. After his defeat, Moreya swore fealty to Takeminakata, the new ruler of the Suwa region, and became the ancestor of the Moriya clan (守矢氏), one of the priestly families of the Upper Shrine of Suwa who served the shrine's high priest, the Ōhōri (大祝), a young boy of the Suwa clan (諏訪氏) considered to be a living god and an incarnation of Suwa Myōjin himself. The Suwa clan itself as a whole claimed Takeminakata to be their divine ancestor. These families served in Suwa Shrine until hereditary priesthood was abolished in the wake of the formation of State Shinto during the Meiji period.

The story of Takeminakata's defeat of Moreya is thought to be a mythicization of a historical event in which a group of outsiders settled in the Suwa region and came into conflict with the local inhabitants, who they eventually defeated and placed under their control. One theory places this event around the end of the Jōmon period (c. 14,000–300 BCE), claiming that the myth is based on indigenous Jōmon hunter-gatherers opposing the arrival of agricultural Yayoi tribes into Suwa. Another theory claims that the story may be inspired by an event during the end of the Kofun period (late 6th century) in which a clan affiliated with the expanding Yamato kingdom (the future Suwa clan) invaded Suwa and subjugated a local clan of priest-chieftains who controlled the area, what would become known as the Moriya clan. (Kanako's characterization as one of the "gods of Yamato" may be based on this latter theory.)

While the myth of Suwa Myōjin's entry into Suwa is the inspiration behind Kanako's backstory, Silent Sinner in Blue suggests that a god named 'Takeminakata', a son of Lord Daikoku (modeled after the Kojiki's portrayal of Takeminakata as Ōkuninushi's son) exists as a separate figure from Kanako.

Yasakatome[edit]

Yasakatome is the goddess of the Lower Shrine of Suwa (下社 Shimosha) considered to be Takeminakata's spouse, and likely the basis for Kanako's last name. Unlike Takeminakata, very little myth or legend survives of her.

In one story involving the goddess, when Yasakatome left her husband's place and moved north of Lake Suwa, where the two shrines that make up the Lower Shrine currently stand, she took with her a wad of cotton soaked in hot water. Upon arriving in her new home, she dropped the cotton ball on the ground; hot spring water gushed out at the spot where the cotton fell. This is considered to be the mythical origin of the hot springs of the town of Shimosuwa. (Yasakatome's association with hot springs could be an inspiration for Kanako's involvement in the events of Subterranean Animism.)

Another legend claims that the pressure ridge that forms on the frozen surface of Lake Suwa during cold winters, the Omiwatari (御神渡り, 'the god's crossing'), is caused by Takeminakata crossing the lake to visit his wife on the other shore.

Association with snakes[edit]

Kanako's association with snakes comes from the fact that the god of Suwa Shrine was often associated with and even portrayed as taking the form of a snake or a dragon in many legends and folktales. For instance, during the Mongol invasions of Japan in the 13th century, Suwa Myōjin is said to have appeared as a giant snake in the sky who flew westward to assist the Japanese troops. In another well-known medieval tale, the god of Suwa Shrine's true identity is claimed to be that of a warrior named Kōga Saburō, who was transformed into a snake/dragon after a journey into the underworld.

The association of Suwa Myōjin with serpents is due to his nature as a god of water, snakes and dragons being associated with the element. One theory regarding the name 'Takeminakata' is that it is derived from Minakata (水潟, 水方 or 水県), a term denoting a body of water.

Kanako's mirror[edit]

Kanako's mirror may be a reference to the Masumi no Kagami (真澄の鏡 'clear mirror'), a mirror said to have been owned by Suwa Myōjin himself. Other items supposedly brought by the god during his entry into Suwa include a bell called the Yasaka no Suzu (八栄の鈴 - the characters for yasaka are not the same as those in 'Yasakatome' or in Kanako's surname) and horse riding gear. Out of these, the Yasaka no Suzu is currently on display in the Upper Shrine's Treasury.

Name[edit]

Her full name is Yasaka Kanako (八坂 神奈子). The ya () in her surname means "eight" and Saka () mean "hill". Literally translated, yasaka means "eight hills," but can also figuratively mean "countless hills." It's referenced that because of her name, she might be seen as a mountain god; but she is really a god of wind and rain.

The 神 (kami, ka(n)) in her first name means "god", while the final character ko (), "child" is a common suffix for Japanese female names. Her name as a whole may be inspired by the Japanese word for a sacred mountain, kannabi (神奈備).

In the character introduction image of Mountain of Faith (just when her theme starts, and her name and title is revealed), her name was incorrectly spelled as Yasama Kanako, which the "sama" isn't a correct romaji for .

Design[edit]

Kanako has an elaborate red shirt with long white sleeves and a round mirror over the center of her chest. She wears a long black skirt with a red flower print hem. Has poofy intense blue hair and dark red eyes. Behind her is a large twisting rope circle shimenawa with shide.

Story[edit]

Games[edit]

Mountain of Faith
Kanako's sprite in MoF

In the main events of Mountain of Faith, Kanako plots to take over the Hakurei Shrine and use it to collect more faith, to gain more power.

Kanako offers to take Reimu and her shrine under her wing so that both would increase in followers and faith. Reimu refuses, on the grounds that she does not want Kanako interfering. Kanako then decides that Reimu is going to accept her help by force and a battle ensues. After she is defeated, she, Sanae, and a few other youkai visit the Hakurei Shrine, where Reimu vouches for them, telling Aya that they're not bad gods.

Kanako gets called out by Marisa for causing strife among the residents of the mountain and the Hakurei Shrine. Kanako scoffs and tells Marisa that she has no need for people who will not give her faith. After Marisa defeats her, the magician creates a little shrine out in the middle of nowhere and, in passing, notes that she should put Kanako in it. It immediately becomes a branch shrine for Kanako, though when she appears, she isn't too happy about it.

Subterranean Animism

Before the events of Subterranean Animism, it is hinted that she was the one who granted Utsuho Reiuji her powers (by telling her that she could swallow a god, Yatagarasu) and inadvertently caused the events of the game.

While Kanako was out on a shopping trip, Suwako explains to the pair about Kanako's quest to find a new energy source as part of their Mountain Industrial Revolution project. Suwako had reservations about the project (such as safety concerns for the kappa they employed). Koishi also hoped to be granted power just as Kanako did for Utsuho in the form of love, but was rebuked by Reimu.

Kanako was out with Suwako and during that time Sanae explains to the duo why Kanako gave Utsuho her powers as a means to produce a new kind of energy in order to bring more followers to the shrine. Reimu realizes that her entire presence during the events of the game helped to advance Kanako's project.

Reimu realizes all the fighting she's done was the cause of Kanako and asks Suwako what she was up to. Suwako explains that Kanako was looking for a high temperature for their kappa workers and decided that the Temple of the High Spirits was a suitable location and gave Utsuho her power.

Kanako catches Marisa going through her house and gave her a scolding.

Sanae tells Marisa of Kanako's plans of a kappa industrial revolution to give her followers a higher standard of living.

Koishi wanted to receive powers from Kanako for her pets as she did for Utsuho, but Marisa informs her that she will only do things that aid in her plans.

Undefined Fantastic Object

Kanako is indirectly involved in the incident for Undefined Fantastic Object, where because she gave Utsuho her nuclear powers, this caused geysers. however, this also caused the Palanquin Ship to pop out of the ground, thus creating the scenario of the game.

Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom

Kanako appears in both Sanae's Pointdevice/No-Death Clear ending and Sanae's Legacy Mode ending, making her the only character the protagonist meets in both of her endings in Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom. In Sanae's Pointdevice/No Death Clear ending, Kanako reads a report written by Sanae about what happened on her trip (the report only being 80% true). Afterwards, Kanako started talking about Sagume Kishin. Kanako thought that if she was the sagume, then the lunarians are akin to gods. Kanako did some deep thinking for a while before realizing that Sanae has basically prevented the second coming of the Divine Emperor and deserves to be praised. In Sanae's Legacy Mode ending, Kanako can be seen training Sanae to become more skilled at dodging danmaku by throwing various balls of different types at her.

Spin-offs[edit]

Touhou Hisoutensoku

In Touhou Hisoutensoku, Kanako was aiding Sanae Kochiya to attack her opponents. During Sanae's story, Suwako goes behind Kanako's back and helps the kappa build the Hisoutensoku. Afterwards, Kanako suggests that nuclear power is too much for it, and proposes heat or electricity as an alternative power source, but is assured that it only runs on steam. She immediately turns it into an advertising tool to gather more faith.

Double Spoiler

In Double Spoiler, Kanako appeared as a stage 11 target, where she uses a few spell cards and had Aya Shameimaru and Hatate Himekaidou take photos of her and her danmaku.

Hopeless Masquerade
Kanako in HM

Kanako made a background cameo appearance in Hopeless Masquerade on the Genbu Ravine stage. She is seen sitting on a rock making some sort of laugh.

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 on day 9. She uses spell cards that are considered impossible to dodge.

Literature[edit]

Wild and Horned Hermit

Kanako and Suwako's "experiment" to produce nuclear energy using Utsuho Reiuji has only been creating energy inefficiently, so Sanae asks Reimu to help them out; the shrine maiden produces some palladium alloy, and Kanako hosts a public experiment, which ends in great success. Later on, Kanako orders the kappa to create a dam on a river on the Youkai Mountain for the purpose of gathering more faith.

Symposium of Post-mysticism

Kanako is one of the main speakers at the symposium, along with Byakuren Hijiri and Toyosatomimi no Miko. During it, she explains the details of why she moved the Moriya Shrine into Gensokyo.

Relationships[edit]

Sanae Kochiya[edit]

Sanae is a wind priestess that worships Kanako, and was part of the shrine's move to Gensokyo. Kanako mentioned in Symposium of Post-mysticism that Sanae herself can be referred to as one of the "gods" of the Moriya Shrine.

Suwako Moriya[edit]

Kanako and Suwako are the opposing gods of Moriya Shrine, but their profiles state that they share quite a few common interests and are actually pretty good friends. They do argue a lot, though, and Kanako still wears the snake-representing shimenawa to boast about the fact that she beat her.

Utsuho Reiuji[edit]

Kanako is the one who originally gave Utsuho her powers for her own end. At the moment it seems she is keeping Utsuho working to produce nuclear energy underground in Former Hell.

Gallery[edit]

Spell Cards[edit]

Additional Information[edit]

The Akimiya's kagura hall in Shimosuwa, Nagano Prefecture.
  • The silhouette of Kanako occupies the front of Mountain of Faith's jewel case.
  • It is revealed in chapter 19 of Silent Sinner in Blue that the Lunarians created and use shimenawa to seal away those that are a threat to them. Kanako's shimenawa at her back is confirmed to be the actual shimenawa in her Mountain of Faith profile. In addition, in Suwako's profile, it is stated that Kanako was one of several gods fighting to unify Japan, and it was implied in Silent Sinner in Blue that it was the Lunarians who were behind those wars (assuming taking away Lord Daikoku's (Ōkuninushi) lands referred to the actual time that happened in Shinto mythology by Amaterasu's family, whom are implied to be the Lunar Capital's founders). The Lunarians are even said to have used shimenawa to seal another god - Ōkuninushi's son Takeminakata - at the Moriya Shrine. However, it is unknown if Kanako was connected to, in league with, or aware of any of this.
  • The shrine pictured in the background image of Kanako's spell cards is the kagura hall of the Autumn Court (秋宮 Akimiya) of the Lower Shrine (下社 Shimosha), one of the four shrines that make up the Suwa Grand Shrine.
  • Oddly, Kanako's sprite changes colors in rainbow order during the time between when her theme begins and when she starts to battle. It also happens to Yumeko in the PC-98 era.

Fandom[edit]

Official Profiles[edit]

Official Sources[edit]

References[edit]



ja:八坂 神奈子