Sunday, August 28, 2011

Kotobukiya One Coin Figure Collection Megami Tensei Taira no Masakado ワンコインフィギュアコレクション女神転生「平 将門」

If you've ever played any of the Megami Tensei, Shin Megami Tensei, Persona or Devil Summoner series, you already know that you summon and use demons, kami, monsters, gods and spirits to do battle for you, and that these are usually based on real myths and legends. Some of these are well-known in the west like Thor, Beelzebub, Shiva, etc, but others like some of the Japanese kami are less known to western players. Back in 2005, Kotobukiya started the coolest collection of 6 sets or so of mini trading figures of popular and not-so-popular summons from various games in the MegaTen series. Taira no Masakado, along with Yoshitsune and Susanoo represent the kami section of the games very well in this series (Though Masakado and Yoshitsune fall more into the "real people" category). His name plate is unique in the series - in that, his is printed vertically (ala traditional Japanese writing) whereas the others are all printed horizontally. It gives him quite a unique feel.

The real Taira no Masakado (taken from Wikipedia) was a member of the Kammu Taira clan of Japan. He was the son of Taira no Yoshimochi, Chinjufu Shogun. His childhood name was Soma Kojiro. Taira no Masakado was a powerful landowner in the Kanto region. He is regarded as the first bushi because he was the first to lead a self-governing party.

Masakado killed his uncle Kunika who was part Taira. The central government in Kyoto responded by putting a bounty on his head, and fifty-nine days later his cousin Sadamori, whose father Masakado had attacked and killed, and Fujiwara no Hidesato, killed him at the Battle of Kojima in 940 and took his head to the capital.

The head found its way to Shibasaki, a small fishing village on the edge of the ocean and the future site of Edo, which later became Tokyo. It was buried. Masakado's grave, which is located in the present day Otemachi section of Tokyo, was on a hill rising out of Tokyo Bay at the time. Through land reclamation over the centuries, the bay has receded some three kilometers to the south.

Over the centuries, Masakado became a demigod to the locals who were impressed by his stand against the central government, while at the same time feeling the need to appease his malevolent spirit. The fortunes of Edo and Tokyo seemed to wax and wane correspondingly with the respect paid to the shrine built to him at the kubizuka — neglect would be followed by natural disasters and other misfortunes. Hence, to this day, the shrine is well maintained, occupying some of the most expensive land in the world in Tokyo’s financial district facing the Imperial Palace.

Other shrines which he is deity of include Kanda Shrine (神田明神) and Tsukudo Jinja (which has multiple locations.)

His tomb (which contains only a monument to his head) is near exit C5 of Tokyo's Otemachi subway station.

All that fits with the pretty imposing image that Atlus has given him in the game, ne?

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