Cultural References

Shikon no Tama
Mythology & Folklore

taken from Inuyasha Profiles & James Deacon's Reiki Pages

The tale of the Shikon no Tama (Jewel of Four Souls) is spread in bits and pieces throughout the series. Takahashi raises many concepts related to the Jewel and then may not touch upon them for years. This article will attempt to bridge the gaps in the history of the key item of the series.

As revealed in chapter 94, the Shikon no Tama was created in the Heian era when numerous demons sought to kill Midoriko, a powerful miko. Much like Naraku would attempt 500 years later, the demons merged inside the body of a man who lusted after Midoriko. In their battle, the demons and Midoriko fought non-stop for seven days and nights. Eventually Midoriko was mortally wounded, but rather than die in battle, she used her abilities to merge the demons souls with her own and expel them from her body. The expelled souls were placed inside the Shikon Jewel, where their battle continued for eternity. At this point it is useful to explain what happened when Midoriko and the demon's souls merged and the Shikon no Tama was created. For this explanation we turn to Miyatsu, Miroku's grandfather, and his theory on the Jewel of Four Souls.

"In ancient times the high gods divided their spirit among all things on Earth and thus created kokoro. The source of kokoro is Ichirei (the One Spirit). Ichirei is comprised of four souls: Aramitama, Nigimitama, Kushimitama, and Sakamitama. When these move with righteous intent, they are called Naohi and they are in accordance with the natural order.

When they are corrupted by demons they are called Magatsuhi. These stand against the natural order. Aramitama administers courage, betterment and positivity. If turned to Magatsuhi, it becomes reckless and confrontational. Nigimitama administers affection, gentleness, and compassion. If turned to Magatsuhi, it becomes maleficent. Kushimitama administers wisdom, skillfullness, and intuition. If turned to Magatsuhi it is power for devising demonic trickery. Sakimitama administers love. If turned to Magatsuhi it becomes possessiveness and obsession.

The size of each soul increases or decreases depending on the actions of its keeper."

-From Ichirei Shikon Theory by monk Miyatsu

Immediately after the creation of the Shikon Jewel, it disappeared from the historic record for 500 years. When it re-emerged it was discovered near the Village of Demon Slayers, where Sango's grandfather died in the process of retrieving it. The Jewel had become severely corrupted and was turned over to a powerful miko who's job it was to purify the Jewel. That miko was Kikyo. Many demons including Inuyasha sought the Jewel in order to increase their own demonic powers. Kikyo was able to keep these demons at bay until she began to fall in love with Inuyasha. With her powers weakened, history was allowed to repeat itself, and numerous demons made a pact with Onigumo, a human who lusted after Kikyo. The demons merged with Onigumo and Naraku was born. Naraku was able to turn Inuyasha and Kikyo against one another, tainting the Jewel even more. Kikyo gave her life defending the Jewel, and took it with her in death.

As the course of history would have continued had Kagome not travelled back in time, the Shikon Jewel would not make appear for another 500 years, inside the body of Kagome Higurashi, the reincarnation of Kikyo. When Kagome travelled back in time to the Sengoku Jidai (50 years after Kikyo's death) the Shikon Jewel was ripped from her body and eventually broken into twenty-four shards by one of Kagome's arrows.

The origins of the Jewel are largely set aside until chapter 513, when the Shikon no Tama expels a force that merges with Naraku and creates a demon. This demon later reveals himself as Magatsuhi. As mentioned earlier Magatushi is the evil part of the Shikon Jewel, that which corrupts and poisons the possessor of the Jewel. It is the opposite of Naohi, which is defined by philosophy of Omoto (more specifically Yasuaki Deguchi) as "the simplest, purest, innermost aspect of the human spirit, embodying supreme good and ultimate beauty." In Inuyasha it is important to note that the Shikon Jewel is neither good nor evil, it merely attempts to preserve its own existance. These concepts are illustrated not only by the emergence of Magatsuhi, who attempts to regain the final Jewel shard from Kohaku, but also "Midoriko's Will" which takes control of Koga's shards in hopes of killing him to regain the two shards in his posession.

An Introduction to Inuyasha