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Kutaka Niwatari in Wily Beast and Weakest Creature
More Character Titles
God of chickens
Healing throat illnesses
Kutaka Niwatari (庭渡 久侘歌 Niwatari Kutaka) is a god of chickens and a guard of Hell. She lives in a spring atop the Youkai Mountain but goes to Higan for her job of overseeing the gateway to otherworlds such as Hell under the yama's oversight.
Kutaka first appeared as the stage 3 midboss and boss in Wily Beast and Weakest Creature, attempting to dissuade the protagonist from entering Hell. She speaks in a polite, somewhat refined manner, and despite already being authorized to let the protagonist through, she takes extra care to test the protagonist's strength out of concern for their well-being.
Healing throat illnesses
Kutaka is based on Niwatarijin (ニワタリ神), a god based in rural folklore who is worshiped in many shrines throughout northeastern Japan. Niwatarijin is typically depicted as a god of agriculture, fertility, irrigation and/or safe passage, and is at times associated with chickens (niwatori) and the sacrifice thereof. One of the god's notable blessings is to cure children's whooping cough, which was associated with birds and locally referred to as tori-shabiki.
Wide variation exists in the name of the god and its shrines, both in terms of spelling and pronunciation. Variants include Niwatari/Niwatashi (庭渡, 二渡, 二羽渡, 仁和多利, 荷渡), Oniwatari/Oniwatashi (鬼渡), Newatari (根渡, 子渡), and Miwatari/Miwatashi (水渡, 新渡, 見渡, 美渡, 御渡). Various theories exist regarding which name or meaning came first, though no conclusive answer has been reached. Some shrines were originally referred to with the Buddhist terms Myoujin and Gongen, and were renamed to "jinja" in the Meiji era. Many of the shrines were also dedicated to gods from Japanese mythology at this time in addition to Niwatarijin, including water gods such as Ame no Mikumari no Kami (天水分神) or Kuni no Mikumari no Kami (国水分神).
Kutaka's role as a gatekeeper of Hell is likely drawn from the "Oniwatari" name variant. The characters "鬼渡" (oniwatari) mean "passage through oni", or "battle with oni" as in the verb "watari-au" (渡り合う, "to do combat with").
Her full name is Kutaka Niwatari (庭渡 久侘歌). Kutaka is spelled with the characters ku (久), meaning "a long time", ta (侘), which means "proud" in Chinese and "lonesome" in Japanese, and ka (歌), meaning "song". The name may be derived from "kutakake", an archaic word for "chicken". Though it was originally a derisive term, with "kake" meaning "chicken" and "kuta" meaning "rotten", it eventually came to be viewed as a refined term owing to its archaic nature. (Incidentally, "kutaka" is also Swahili for "wanting".)
Niwatari is taken directly from one of several names for Niwatarijin's shrines, spelled with the characters niwa (庭), meaning "courtyard", and watari (渡), meaning "to pass through". Relatedly, the word "niwatori" (chicken) is derived from "niwatsu-torikake" (庭つ鳥かけ), meaning "domestic kake kept in the courtyard".
Kutaka wears a brown dress under a short white jacket. Her jacket has an orange Puritan collar, over which she wears a red ribbon that resembles a rooster's wattle. She wears long brown boots. She has fluffy yellow wings and a bushy, feathery tail. She has red eyes and a light tan. Her hair is cut short and light yellow in color. Her head is partially covered in red feathers which are apparently hosting a tiny chick. Her pose in her portrait art is a reference to a statue of Mekhila.
- Wily Beast and Weakest Creature
Kutaka approaches the protagonist as she enters the gateway to Hell, claiming that she has heard of her from the Yama. Although given permission to let the outsider in, she defends the gate anyway to test whether they can really survive Hell. She relents and lets them through upon being defeated, though not without a warning about the trustworthiness of their beast spirit partner.
- Eiki Shiki, Yamaxanadu (possibly)
Kutaka is a subordinate of a yama. Though the exact yama is never explicitly named (though Eiki Shiki appears in an ending of Wily Beast and Weakest Creature), the fact that Kutaka resides in Gensokyo and was sent to deal with a Gensokyo resident implies that she answers to Eiki, who is employed as the yama for Gensokyo specifically.
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