Kusanagi in popular culture

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The sword Kusanagi is one of the Imperial Regalia of Japan. Its high profile has made it popular, and it appears in various works of fiction. Its appearance frequently signals the nearing of an end of the storyline, but not always. Unlike Excalibur, it is rare for characters to actually use Kusanagi in a combat since it is a ceremonial weapon. Instead, its magical properties are stressed. Because it is a Japanese weapon, it is sometimes misrepresented as a katana, even though the Kusanagi legend predates the katana design by a number of centuries. If archaeological evidence is to be taken into account, then Kusanagi would have been double-edged and much shorter than a katana.

Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi in popular culture[edit]

  • The character Shura Kirigakure from Blue Exorcist wields a snake sword thought to be the "Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi".
  • The protagonist of the King of Fighters series, whose story is loosely based on the Yamata no Orochi mythos, is called Kyo Kusanagi, and he is one of the descendants of the three clans responsible to seal Orochi 1800 years before. While his clan guards the namesake sword, the Mirror of Yata is in possession of Chizuru Kagura and the Magatama of Yasakani belongs to the Yagami family (which, currently, seems to be reduced to Iori only, due to the accursed blood pact made by them with Orochi himself, by which clan members possess the powerful Orochi Flames at the cost of their men would die young and women would die when giving birth).
  • In the popular Japanese manga Naruto, a villain named Orochimaru is able to procure the Kusanagi sword from a snake that comes out of his mouth. This is befitting of him both because it references the Yamata-no-Orochi and because an alternate translation of "Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi" is "Sword of the Snake". The manga depicts the sword as a katana, while the anime shows a Jian.
  • Also, in Part II of the Naruto manga, Sasuke Uchiha wields what he calls a "Sword of Kusanagi", albeit, a different version or variation to Orochimaru's Sword of Kusanagi, though it does not share any of the traits that Orochimaru's Sword had. Orochimaru's Sword of Kusanagi is a Katana (Jian in the anime), while Sasuke's Sword is a Chokuto.
  • In Part II of the Naruto manga, Itachi Uchiha, a major supporting character, wields the Totsuka-no-Tsurugi, which is a variation of the Kusanagi. It is an ethereal blade that is kept by his guardian spirit, Susanoo.
  • In Ōkami, a game for the PlayStation 2 and Wii systems, the Kusanagi is represented as a jade-edged glaive obtained upon defeating Ninetails. In the same game, there is a character named Susano who slays the eight-headed snake Orochi with the help of the protagonist. However, the sword he uses is the wooden sword that he carries around, not the Kusanagi. Also, the sword obtained from the first slaying of Orochi in game is Tsumugari, one of the legendary swords of Japan. The Ama no Murakumo no Tsurugi (known in the English version as Thunder Edge) is acquired after defeating True Orochi, echoing the original legend.
  • In the Nintendo GameCube game Tales of Symphonia, each successive defeat of a Sword Dancer is awarded with the Yata Mirror, Yasakani Jewel, and Kusanagi Blade.
  • Stan Sakai's comic book series Usagi Yojimbo includes a volume entitled Grasscutter that is heavily influenced by the Kusanagi no Tsurugi legend. Kusanagi is featured as a key element in some of the stories of the series starting out with Miyamtoto Usagi finding the sword in the seashore. However, Usagi doesn't realize the sword is Kusanagi until he finds himself frequently attacked by assassins and samurai trying to take it from him.
  • In Kyuden, a novel by Jonathan Holburt, a man called Scott tries to steal the three sacred items (see Imperial Regalia of Japan) to help a man become the rightful emperor.
  • In the novel The Sword That Cut the Burning Grass by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, Kusanagi is stolen from the boy emperor, but it cannot be used by anyone not chosen by Amaterasu.
  • Uesugi Kenshin's final weapon in the first installment of the Samurai Warriors games is in the English version, and in the Japanese version Ama no Murakumo.
  • In the game Kessen III, it is used as Oda Nobunaga's strongest weapon
  • In the Scion role playing game, the Kusanagi is wielded by Yukiko Kuromizu, the demigod daughter of Susanno-o
  • Monica, from Dark Chronicle or Dark Cloud 2, can use a weapon called Amano Murakumo.
  • In Final Fantasy XI, Amanomurakumo is one of the sixteen relic weapons, which are some of the strongest weapons in the game obtainable by the player characters. It can be wielded and used only when the player character has their main job set to Samurai. As one of the special features of the weapon, it grants the user access to the weapon skill (a special move) entitled "Tachi: Kaiten", one of the strongest weapon skills in the game.
  • In Final Fantasy XII Ame-no-Murakumo is a Katana which may be acquired by the player.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, there is a katana with the name "Heaven's Cloud", a possible reference to the sword's original name, "Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi".
  • In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, there is a sword called the Cloud Brand, which can be obtained after defeating the Serpent by examining its tail, which could be a reference to the origin of the legendary sword.
  • In World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, the sword named Grasscutter can be purchased with gold in Dalaran. The sword has the flavor text "Imperial Sword".
  • In Thor: Blood Oath the Grasscutter sword was one of several items Thor and the Warriors Three had to gather on their quest.
  • In the movie Pink Panther 2 the Kusanagi or "Imperial Sword" is stolen by the main villain of the movie
  • The Kusanagi also appeared in the video game and anime Sakura Taisen as it was used to seal the Demons in the First Demon War
  • In the PlayStation game Valkyrie Profile, the Soul Sword - Kusanagi is the most powerful Hai-Lan sword equipped by Jun and Suo. It has the innate ability to instantly kill enemies who are weak to the Holy element.
  • In the Touhou video games series, Rinnosuke, a shopkeeper, found Kusanagi's sword in a pile of scrap metal. In the doujin game Labyrinth of Touhou 2, the final boss, Ame-no-Murakumo, is a reference to the legendary Japanese sword.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game, there is a spell card called Sword of Kusanagi and there is also a Xyz monster card called Heroic Champion - Kusanagi.
  • In the game Phantasy Star Online from Sega the items Kusanagi, Yata mirror and Yasakani magatama are obtainable in the blue burst installment.
  • In the Sailor Moon universe, the Outer Senshi (Sailors Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) possess talismans inspired by the Imperial Regalia. Sailor Uranus possesses the Space Sword, a clear reference to Kusanagi.
  • In the Full Metal Daemon: Muramasa Minagoroshi manga, Ame-no-Mahitotsu-no-Mikoto Kusanagi is a cursed Tsurugi that revels in bloodshed and is said to have existed since the Age of Gods.
  • In the game Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, there is a sword called the Kusanagi Blade, which also references Yamato Takeru in its description.
  • In the novels of The Dresden Files, there are three holy swords each said to contain a nail from the Crucifixion of Jesus in the hilt. One of these is the Sword of Faith Fidelacchius, a Japanese sword (most closely resembling a shirasaya) that is identified as the source of the Kusanagi legend; its brothers Amoracchius and Esperacchius are also said to be legendary swords (Excalibur and Durandal, respectively).
  • In the game The Darkness II, in vendetta mode, the character Inugami Wields a katana with demonic powers named Kusanagi.
  • In the light novel and anime series Campione!, the princess shrine maiden Ena Seishuuin, one of the main characters, wields Ame no Murakumo no Tsurugi.
  • In the 1972 Fantasy novel Sword of the Demon by Richard A Lupoff, the titular sword is Kusanagi.
  • In the Square Enix game Nier, Kusanagi is a two handed sword, with a charge attack similar to a buildup of wind.
  • In The Golden Princess, an Emberverse novel by S.M. Stirling, the lost sword is sought in the year 2044 by the daughter (and only surviving heir) of the slain Japanese emperor.
  • In the last chapter of Yaiba, the main character obtain a katana called Kusanagi and start his new adventure with main heroine that mark the end of the series.
  • In the album In Return by Odesza, track number 7 is named Kusanagi.[1]
  • In MOBA SMITE, Amaterasu appears as a playable character, wielding the Kusanagi as her weapon of choice, although she is also armed with the other two Regalia. Its appearance is inaccurately similar to the katana, and used for the same purpose. One of her skins, called Shining Heaven, portrays the Kusanagi more accurately, although it does not change the usage.
  • In Nioh, a game made by Team Ninja and published by Koei Tecmo, the sword is obtainable as a drop after fighting Yamata-no-orochi.
  • In Cardfight Vanguard, there are cards called susano kusanagi and Ame no murakumo

Kusanagi as a concept in popular culture[edit]

  • In the popular anime/manga series One Piece, one of the three admirals of the world government Kizaru uses an attack named Ama no Murakumo. It references the original name "Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi" or "Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven" in which the attack is a blade of light.
  • In the anime Blue Seed the main protagonist is named Mamoru Kusanagi and was given his powers from a giant eight headed dragon. This series also contains the character Susano-o as one of the main antagonist. There however is no mention of the actual sword itself, rather it regards the main character Kusanagi as a Hero metaphorically symbolizing the sword itself, as he has the ability to turn a snake like green and has serpent eyes.
  • The protagonist of the Ghost in the Shell franchise, Major Motoko Kusanagi, shares her surname with the legendary sword. Although the name is a pseudonym (as she was involved in an accident as a child and was forced to become a "total" cyborg at a young age) it is likely that she either chose or was given the name Kusanagi because of its status as a famous blade.
  • In the 2008 anime The Sky Crawlers (directed by Mamoru Oshii like the 1995 anime Ghost in the Shell), a main character is called Suito Kusanagi.
  • In the InuYasha movie Swords of an Honorable Ruler, Sounga is thought to be Kusanagi until Sota points out the words are read as Sounga and not Kusanagi.
  • In the anime Kannazuki no Miko, Himeko Kurusugawa and Chikane Himemiya have the use of a large mecha named Ame no Murakamo.
  • In the anime Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora, the character Kaon is known also known as the sword of Murakamo. This is a nod to the legendary sword itself and the character Chikane Himemiya from Kannazuki No Miko, who Kaon is thought to be a reincarnation of.
  • Was a Izumo-class modular-design mobile suit carrier in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED (first mentioned in episode 40.) Operated by the neutral third-party Three Ships Alliance to end the First Bloody Valentine War, although it was designed and built by the neutral Orb Nation.
  • In Shadow Hearts: Covenant the final boss is accompanied by the three Mutant Apes who transform into the Kusanagi, Yata no Kagami, and the Yasakani no Magatama.
  • In the fighting game BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, the character v-13's armor is called the Murakumo unit. It is shaped like a large sword before transforming into her armor, and it allows her to summon multiple blades. In its sequel BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, the "upgraded" version of the unit appears, and is called Kusanagi.
  • In the Digimon franchise Shurimon, a ninja digimon has a large Shuriken on its back named after the legendary sword.
  • In the manga Akame ga Kill! the human type Teigu Susanoo has a "trump card" called Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi.
  • The heroine Kusanagi Yui of Kamigami no Asobi, is the daughter of a Shinto shrine priest/family and upon finding a mystical ceremonial sword in a storage shed for important items is sent to a world where various pantheons' gods are being held hostage by Zeus.
  • In the doujin fighting game Akatsuki Blitzkampf, the main villain of the story is a man named Murakumo.
  • In the first-person shooter video game Call of Duty: Black Ops III's Zombies map Zetsubou No Shima, a weapon called KT-4 is featured, which is an abbreviation of Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "In Return". Last.fm.