Asian Rune Chant

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Kuji-in "Nine Syllable Seals" originated as a specialized form of Buddhist meditation. It has spread to Taoism, Shinto, Onmyodo, Ninjutsu and folk magic through out East Asia.

In popular culture, kuji-in has become a way of performing magic. Details vary widely, from empowering a physical blow, to powering up an ofuda, to weaponized ki.

Kuji-in consists of nine mudras and their related mantras. The order is specific: "Rin Pyo To Sha Kai Jin Retsu Zai Zen". There is also the long version of these mantra chants, in Sanskrit garbled by Japanese spelling and pronunciation (as in "On nōmaku sanmanda basaradan kan"). In visual media such as anime, manga or a video game, the associated kanji may be overlaid as each seal is performed. At minimum, only the mantras are spoken.

Compare Hand Seals.

Examples of Asian Rune Chant include:

Anime and Manga

  • Sailor Mars from Sailor Moon was able to immobilize monsters using this, namely reciting the (short version of) chant then hitting the monster in the face with an Ofuda while shouting "Akuryō Taisan" (Literally Evil Spirits begone)
    • The English dub tried to cut this out and replaced the chant and subsequent Evil sprits begone with with "I summon the power of Mars, Mars Fireball Charge" despite having nothing to do with her powers as Sailor Mars, (or fire for that matter) instead coming from her Miko training, leaving fans confused as to why she could perform it untransformed. They later tried to fix it by replacing it again with simply "Evil Spirit Begone!"
    • She later combined the move, albeit with a different chant, with her Fire Soul creating Fire Soul Bird.
    • In the manga, Akuryō Taisan is a fire attack but only when Sailor Mars was transformed.
  • In a filler arc of Inuyasha, Tsukiyomi, a magic- and sword-wielding female samurai, used this to seal Hoshiyomi.
  • The Buddhist monk from Ghost Hunt usually uses the longer version of this chant.
    • Ayako the Shinto priestess uses the short version of the chant a few times.
    • Mai learns the longer version of the chant from the monk and later the shorter version from Ayako so she can defend herself from hostile ghosts.
  • X 1999 sees many mages cast their spells this way, specially Subaru Sumeragi.
  • In the manga/anime version of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de, the local onmyoji, Abe no Yasuaki, uses this on a regular basis, both the mantras and the mudras (though the Haruka franchise in fact doesn't limit the chant selection used by Yasuaki and Yasutsugu to just this one).
  • The Kuji Kanesada is a sword with the nine words of the Kuji on it; "to cut away the souls of man." Sword of Shiki Ryogi from Kara no Kyoukai.
  • Himiko Se from Vampire Princess Miyu uses similar chants at least twice in the OAV.
  • Kantarou from Tactics uses this when fighting Youkai.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: A pair of filler villains armed with Razor Floss are often heard chanting this to make their abilities seem supernatural.
  • The Shinryuuji Nagas of Eyeshield 21 do the long version of this chant while meditating under a waterfall.
  • A variation is used in The Twelve Kingdoms to bind Youma into a Kirin's service.

Comic Books

  • Larry Hama's Nth Man the Ultimate Ninja can use this to disorient everyone nearby, by making them feel the world has turned upside down.
    • Also by Hama: his G.I. Joe comics sometimes has the Arashikage ninja clan recite this as a purification/initiation rite.

Live Action TV

  • This is used in a Hong Kong live-action TV show (the title is something to the effect of "I Have a Date With a Vampire") about an exorcist and her vampire boyfriend as the standard exorcising chant.

Video Games

  • Zhuzen in Shadow Hearts uses this chant when using his magic.
  • One of Raven's winning pose had him chant this for the sake of coolness. Also, in Yoshimitsu's story mode, he teaches Raven to do it the correct way.
  • Hwang Yang Long's ultimate move with Granveil: Kafuu Seiun Ken had him chant this (missing the Sai) to enhance his Flaming Sword with further power and after blowing black winds that turn into fire to the enemy, he proceeds to lay smackdown on the enemy.
  • In Psychic Force, Genma Rokudou's ultimate involves him throwing a talisman, chant this word, and the talisman generates massive explosion.
  • In Super Street Fighter IV the urban ninja Guy chants this as one of his personal actions.
  • Neo Geo's Double Dragon fighting game character Amon (a ninja), also chants this as part of his ultimate move.
  • In Samurai Warriors, both Hanzo Hattori and his rival Kotaro use this chant.
  • The kanji are used in Tenchu 3: The Wrath of Heaven/ Return from Darkness (same game, different consoles). Each stealth kill you get lights up from one half to one and a half kanjis, depending on the kill method and the target (dogs are only worth half, frontal stealth kills get you one and a half). If all are lit up, you learn a new move but you need to beat the level in question to be able to keep it.
  • They're also used in the XBOX version of Ninja Gaiden—Each 'Life of the Gods' jewel you get lights up a meter by one. Find or make a complete set of nine and your health bar increases. Also, when dialogue is set to Japanese, Ryu will shout the chant to cut a stone platform out of the ground so he can fight the penultimate boss.
    • In Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword, tracing the Sanskrit letter on the touchscreen will activate the ninjutsu associated with it.
  • Kuji-In Rin, Sha, and Retsu appear in City of Villains as player-character abilities for the Stalker (read: Backstabber) class. Respectively, they provide protection from certain Standard Status Effects, act as a self-healing ability, and provide temporary near-invulnerability (of the "95% of attacks miss" sort). Ninja Masterminds have Kuji-In Zen, which is the final upgrade to the abilities of their henchmen.
  • Used liberally in Touhou, with several human characters using paper talismans, and Sanae using a spell card specifically named 'Nine Syllable Seals'.
  • Bang Shishigami from BlazBlue attempts to chant one for a fire jutsu. Unfortunately, before the last syllable, he sneezes, causing the jutsu to run amok.
  • Emon Five from Otomedius recites this chant while charging his D-Burst attack. He runs out of time during the charge period, so he ends it by shouting "Pierce them!" instead of the final phrase.