Shikigami

Shikigami

Shikigami (式神) is the term used for spirits summoned by an onmyoji or Japanese sorcerer. Shikigami are used to protect and serve their master, much like the Western concept of a wizard's familiar spirit.

There are many types of shikigami described in legends, the most common type being enchanted paper cutouts that can produce the illusion of another real-life object.

Description of Shikigami

Shikigami are said to be invisible for most of the time, although they can be made visible by linking them to small paper dolls. They can also be shown as animals, especially birds.

Shikigami must be conjured through a complex ceremony and their power is connected to the spiritual strength of their master.

If the summoner has sufficient control and experience, his shikigami can possess animals and even people and manipulate them in this way; but if the summoner is careless, the shikigami may escape his control and gain will and consciousness of their own, and attack the onmyoji in revenge for having summoned them.

Usually, shikigami are summoned to perform tasks too risky for their masters, such as spying, stealing and tracking enemies.

Shikigami In popular culture

  • In Teito Monogatari, probably the first modern work of fiction to popularize the concept of shikigami, shikigami are described and shown in its adaptations as sheets of paper with the five-pointed star symbol or Seiman, and are capable of taking various forms, typically small black demons or shapeless masses of darkness endowed with human eyes and mouths.
  • In Touhou Project Yukari Yakumo possesses a shikigami named Ran Yakumo. Ran in turn has his own shikigami, named Chen.
  • In Inuyasha Kanketsu-Hen Kikyo has two shikigamis at her disposal that serve her for various tasks, such as taking care of Kohaku which was her last task before being destroyed by Byakuya.
  • In the Rosario + Vampire manga a member of Antithesis can summon a type of shikigami that have one eye while another shikigami projects the image of the first is seeing in real time.
  • In the RPG Tales of Symphonia there is a shikigami that is summoned by Sheena Fujibayashi in their first encounter. In the Tales of Symphonia OVA she summons a shikigami to cause a gust of wind to reach a human ranch near Luin, Sylvarant.
  • In Tokyo Ravens, shikigamis are also referenced with the characters a Natsume and Harutora. When Natsume has her powers stolen and concentrates on the temple to get them back , Harutora offers to be her Shikigami.
  • In the anime "Naruto shippuden" Konan, a member of Akatsuki uses the shikigami in a spear (a devastating attack called "Shikigami no mai" in English "Shikigami Dance") and in several other jutsus, such as another in which he creates a paper wings.
  • In Chihiro's journey they are used by Zeniba to attack Haku.
  • In 11 eyes the "Onmyouji or oracles" use magic to fight and control the oni "Shikigami".
  • In the anime "sousei no onmyouji" the shikigamis appear as guardians of their creators, a clear example is the shikigami cat-fox kinako, which can possess objects and transform into a talisman to be always by the side of its creator, "Benio Adashino".
  • In the RPG Persona 5 of the Megami Tensei saga, there is a creature called "Shiki-Ouji" based on the shikigami concept.
  • In the manga and anime Ghost Sweeper Mikami, Meiko Rokudo has twelve shikigamis under her control that usually hide inside her shadow, and come out to wreak havoc whenever she gets scared or breaks down crying.