The Kitsune Saiguu (Japanese: 狐斎宮 "Fox High Priestess"), also known as Lady Saiguu and the Hakushin Kitsune, was a prominent historical figure in Inazuma who was worshipped as a kitsune goddess. She was a descendant of the Hakushin Clan, was a close ally of Raiden Ei, alongside the oni Chiyo, and served a mentor-like role towards a shrine maiden named Asase Hibiki.
During a "dark disaster," likely the cataclysm five hundred years ago, the Kitsune Saiguu was among those who disappeared.[Note 1] She was consumed by a "dark will," and both her body and memories were broken down and turned into filth.
The Kitsune Saiguu was one of Hakushin's descendants and dwelt in the Grand Narukami Shrine. Like all kitsune, Saiguu had a longer lifespan than most humans, but it is unknown how long she lived before her death.
Losing one's memory is no different from losing one's life. It is like death amidst darkness eternal.Kitsune Saiguu
According to Hibiki, the Kitsune Saiguu had a sense of humor that was "out of line." She had a more solemn side, however, and was particularly concerned about memories. While attempting to comfort Hibiki about Takamine the Mistsplitter, she says "the person you're missing will be lucky enough to become a part of your memories forever."
Little is currently known about the Kitsune Saiguu's early life. At some point, she won a race against the Chieftain of the Yougou Tengu. Saiguu believed the Tengu was going easy on her, however, to her slight ire. She also tricked the bake-danuki Ioroi into submitting to the Raiden Shogun. She also secretly learned some of the bake-danuki's magic.
500 Years Ago and Death
Do not be blinded. Do not waver. Keep walking the path that you believe in.The Kitsune Saiguu to the Raiden Shogun, before their final parting
Around five hundred years ago, the Kitsune Saiguu became familiar with a certain group of mortals. Included among them were a "shrine maiden" (Hibiki), an "easygoing young man" (possibly Kamuna Harunosuke), a "Kanjou" (Hiiragi Hiroshi), and a "clan who used ingenious techniques to make man-made meteors bloom in the skies" (the Naganohara Family).
A certain "dark disaster," likely the cataclysm befell the land. To protect Ioroi from it, the Kitsune Saiguu tricked him from staying involved by playing a game of hide-and-seek with him.
Later on, after her final parting with the Raiden Shogun, the Kitsune Saiguu disappeared into the "deep darkness," never to be seen again. In her dying moments, Kitsune Saiguu asked the "dark will" that gnawed at her to spare her memories. As her body and mind were consumed, her memories were powerful enough that some of it remained unsullied as it settled into the earth as filth, thus creating Kazari.
Around the same time the Kitsune Saiguu disappeared and died, Takamine the Mistsplitter disappeared during a battle against the dark forces, while Chiyo was consumed by a "beast of sin" and was corrupted by it, drawing her blade against Ei only to be defeated and run away. Mikoshi Doukei, Chiyo's biological son, secluded himself in Konda Village out of shame over his mother's betrayal, while her adoptive son Mikoshi Nagamasa joined the Shogunate to restore the Mikoshi Clan's honor instead.
In the wake of their absences, the Mt. Yougou group went their separate ways. The Great Tengu went on a self-imposed exile over her failure to protect the Kitsune Saiguu, leaving Teruyo behind. Kamuna left for another country in the "fury of his mourning". The Earth Kitsune and the Sky Kitsune turned their forms to stone to await her return. Some of these statues, such as the lit Earth Kitsune Statues, can be interacted with using the Memento Lens. Hibiki took over as leader of the Narukami Shrine, awaiting Takamine's return.
Kazari, who formed from the remnants of the Kitsune Saiguu's memories within the filth that contaminated the land, manifested in order to continue performing the Sacred Sakura Cleansing Ritual. Decades latter when Kamuna returned to Inazuma, she appeared before him and asked him to perform the ritual, initially causing him to mistake her for the real Kitsune Saiguu. Despite quickly realizing Kazari's true nature, Kamuna performed the ritual, and spared her.
- The Saiguu was a big fan of fried tofu.
- The kitsune mentioned in Retracing Bolide's Summer Night's Waterballoon piece was the Kitsune Saiguu.
- Saiguu (Japanese: 斎宮 "purification shrine"), also read as saikuu, itsuki-no-miya, or imimiya, refers to the High Priestess of the Ise Grand Shrine, the most sacred Shinto shrine in Japan.
- Strictly speaking, saiguu originally refers to the residence of the high priestess, but it later became synonymous with the priestess herself.
- From the mythological era, saiguu had been chosen from unmarried imperial princesses. This tradition however ceased to exist in 1336 because of one of the most catastrophic civil wars of Japan (the Nanbokuchou War), which is coincidentally around 500 years before the fall of the last shogunate (which may have inspired the current upheavals of Inazuma).
- The Ise Grand Shrine enshrines the sun goddess Amaterasu (who is also the ruler of the pantheon and the ancestral goddess of the Imperial House) and the agriculture goddess Toyoukebime. The latter is often equated with another agriculture goddess Ukanomitama (better known as Inari), whose divine messengers are foxes (Japanese: 狐 kitsune).
- Regarding the "dark disaster" and the cataclysm: When Hibiki recounts Takamine the Mistsplitter's and the Kitsune Saiguu's disappearances in Shaft of Remembrance's description, she also mentions "Nagamasa joined the Shogunate to clear the Mikoshi name."
Through the descriptions of Katsuragikiri Nagamasa and Mask of the Kijin, it is evident that Nagamasa's adoptive mother was Chiyo, who was "swallowed whole by a beast of sin" when she "fought against the abyss." Though she broke free and slew the beast, she was "stained by a deep sin" and "steeped in darkness as far as the eye could see," causing her to turn on Ei. Similar wording is used in regards to Tartaglia, who wound up in the Abyss and, "within that darkness," learned his fighting techniques and underwent a drastic personality change.
Given that Chiyo's corruption (and by extension Saiguu's disappearance) and Domeki's rebellion happened within Hibiki's lifetime, this puts both events within the realm of 500 years ago. According to Chunk of Aerosiderite, a surge of "endless dark monsters with alien, dark blood" occurred during the fall of Khaenri'ah. In We Will Be Reunited, Dainsleif explains that Khaenri'ah fell 500 years ago, making it extremely likely that the "dark disaster" is another term for the cataclysm.
- Weapon: Hakushin Ring
- Artifact Set: Shimenawa's Reminiscence
- Pirate's Diary #4 on Nazuchi Beach: We shall be like Domeki 500 years ago.
Based on Hamayumi's description, many years after Takamine's disappearance (around which time the Kitsune Saiguu also disappeared), Hibiki lent Domeki her assistance. Based on current knowledge, Hibiki lived a normal human lifespan; thus, Saiguu's disappearance occurred within that general time frame as well.
- World Quest: Yougou Cleansing
- World Quest: Hayashi of Tanuki in the Forest
- Ioroi's recollection of the onmyouji who sealed him gives the impression that the man had an easygoing personality; Kazari later identifies him as Harunosuke. Hibiki reveals that sometime after Saiguu's disappearance and Ioroi's sealing, Harunosuke left Inazuma entirely.
- Weapon: Mistsplitter Reforged
- Weapon Ascension Material: Mask of the Kijin
- Weapon Ascension Material: Narukami's Affection
- Artifact Set: Emblem of Severed Fate
- Weapon: Katsuragikiri Nagamasa
- World Quest: Sacrificial Offering
Harunosuke is highly likely the Mysterious Man seen in the memories revealed by the Memento Lens. The Kannagara bloodline utilized sacred words, and the Mysterious Man had to have been familiar with the Kitsune Saiguu to mistake Kazari's presence as her return.
- Wikipedia, Sushi § Inarizushi
- Sacrificial Offering
- Kotobank: 斎宮 Definition (in Japanese)