Kikyo, the tragic miko (shrine maiden) of Inuyasha, is one thing of a legend inside the story’s canon, forsaking a strong legacy even protagonist Kagome has bother upholding. Together with being one of many extra highly effective miko who ever lived, Kikyo is particularly remembered for her tragic downfall by falling in love with Inuyasha.
At first, it could appear unusual that love could be the factor to destroy Kikyo, particularly contemplating the identical did not occur to Kagome. However there’s actually no comparability for one easy however important motive: Kikyo is a historic miko and Kagome just isn’t. Whereas Kagome could have inherited Kikyo’s non secular powers and kyūdō expertise as her reincarnation, she’s additionally a lady of her time and was by no means subjected to any of Kikyo’s coaching for a miko residing in Japan’s Sengoku period.
Traditionally, Kikyo Started Her Miko Coaching In Childhood
Traditionally, miko in Japan fulfilled a really completely different position from their trendy counterparts. Whereas as we speak’s miko are seen aiding clergymen at Shinto shrines, previously they have been truly shaman ladies. As such, they maintained a place of energy and authority inside their respective communities. As practitioners of Shinto, their job description included performing divinations, exorcisms and communicating with the kami (spirits and deities) of their respective communities. That final one entailed permitting kami to own their our bodies and convey their messages by means of a trance-like dance that’s carried out as we speak as kagura or miko mai.
Inside Inuyasha canon, Kikyo is seen performing many features of the historic miko, most notably exorcisms together with her asuza yumi (sacred bow) and hama ya (exorcism arrows). To grow to be a miko, nevertheless, Kikyo could not simply be anybody. She both needed to be the daughter of a shaman or needed to possess sturdy non secular potential. Whereas nothing is understood about Kikyo’s mother and father, she does, have a fame for immense non secular energy. That energy is probably how she acquired chosen by her group to coach to grow to be a miko.
Per Japan’s own history, to become a miko, Kikyo would’ve begun coaching at a really younger age and undergone a sequence of purification rituals. Since coaching lasted anyplace from three to seven years, Kikyo would’ve began her coaching at age 10 or 11 if she was roughly 17 or 18 on the time she met Inuyasha. The completion of her coaching would’ve ended with a ceremony to represent her bond with the kami Kikyo would decide to serving, which was the rationale she needed to stay a virgin. Since purity is central to the Shinto belief system, sustaining sexual purity was important to Kikyo fulfilling her position as a medium for her group’s kami.
Being A Miko Was At Odds With Kikyo’s Humanity
Regardless of Kikyo’s coaching paying off and establishing herself as one of many extra highly effective miko identified all through Japan, her life was additionally at odds together with her humanity. Kikyo was greater than conscious of what she was sacrificing to satisfy her tasks to her group and the kami she vowed to serve. This inside battle turned a serious supply of unhappiness for Kikyo, who was nonetheless a teenaged woman, and was explored intimately within the Inuyasha anime spring particular “Tragic Love Song of Destiny”.
Within the spring particular, Kikyo’s powers and skills one other miko’s envy — Tsubaki, whom she educated with. At first of the particular, Tsubaki went out of her method to remind Kikyo of what her coaching entailed and why she could not fall in love with a person if she supposed to keep up her non secular energy. This was Tsubaki’s no-so-underhanded method of reminding Kikyo how shortly she will lose all that she has labored exhausting for the second she compromises her sexual purity. In actual fact, she was relying on that occuring given Kikyo’s youth.
Whereas Kikyo disregarded Tsubaki’s “advice” as inserting a curse on her, it was established in each the Inuyasha manga and anime that — because the extra highly effective miko of the 2 — Tsubaki’s curses do not affect Kikyo. Nonetheless, Tsubaki wasn’t off in her prediction given Kikyo’s personal inside battle in reconciling her humanity together with her miko existence. Greater than something, this was the rationale Kikyo refused to kill Inuyasha each time he pestered her for the Shikon no Tama (aside from recognizing he was a hanyō and never a full yōkai) and what led to her bonding with him.
Falling In Love Led To Kikyo’s Sexual Awakening
Over the course of their friendship, Inuyasha and Kikyo developed mutual romantic emotions. This led to them spending extra time collectively, and to Kikyo turning into extra emotionally susceptible. One factor Tsubaki observed in her subsequent encounter with Kikyo was how a lot her non secular powers had weakened since assembly Inuyasha. She as soon as once more reminded her of what she was compromising by permitting herself to fall in love. This means Kikyo began experiencing sexual need, which Tsubaki then tried to use by unleashing her well-known snake curse. Although the assault was simply deflected, Tsubaki nonetheless was not flawed in her predictions.
Not lengthy after this encounter, Kikyo started experiencing the complete extent of what her romantic relationship with Inuyasha was costing her. She was turning into much less highly effective and efficient in fights in opposition to yōkai, considered one of which resulted within the lack of her sister’s eye within the anime. This pressured Kikyo to decide: quit her life as a miko and grow to be an odd lady, or quit her romantic relationship to regain her energy as a miko. She ended up selecting the previous, which led to her proposing that Inuyasha use the Shikon no Tama to grow to be human. If he did, the jewel might be purified whereas Kikyo might be relieved of her tasks to it. After some thought, Inuyasha accepted Kikyo’s proposal, which led to their first kiss within the anime particular.
Kikyo’s Downfall Is Linked To Loss Of Sexual Purity
Though the kiss within the anime was depicted as an affirmation of Inuyasha and Kikyo’s love for each other, when examined by means of Japan’s historic context, it was much more important than that. In Kikyo’s time, folks in Japan didn’t kiss as a part of romantic expression, but as part of sexual interaction. Since Kikyo is a lady of her time with no data of western European notions of affection, which means that when she kissed Inuyasha on the boat dock, she was initiating a sexual encounter. This occurred throughout the daytime and Inuyasha was later seen escorting Kikyo again to her village late at evening.
Whereas the anime doesn’t element what Inuyasha and Kikyo did throughout these in-between hours, loads of contextual clues within the aftermath trace at them having engaged in sexual exercise. The primary clue was Kikyo not detecting Naraku’s distinct aura when he visited her on the shrine disguised as Inuyasha. Since Kikyo is expert at detecting completely different yōkai auras (and particularly Naraku’s distinct aura post-resurrection), this can be a sturdy indicator of how a lot her non secular powers weakened. This was confirmed by Naraku in a while — in each the Inuyasha manga and anime — as the rationale he was capable of assault and kill Kikyo. Had he encountered her whereas she was nonetheless at peak non secular energy, he wouldn’t have succeeded in his plan to tear each her and Inuyasha aside.
Revisiting the query of why Kikyo’s powers diminished by falling in love when the identical did not occur to Kagome, it boils all the way down to the actual fact Kikyo is a historic miko, whereas Kagome is a contemporary miko. As a historic miko, Kikyo was certain by the principles of her occupation, which on the time entailed sustaining sexual purity. Kagome, against this, just isn’t certain by those self same guidelines as trendy miko in Japan are now not required to stay sexually pure to help clergymen at Shinto shrines. As a twentieth century woman, that is the angle Kagome brings to the Sengoku period.