Departures from Folklore and Culture in Liminal Chronicles in Liminal Chronicles | World Anvil

Departures from Folklore and Culture in Liminal Chronicles

While I do not claim to represent a “true Japan” in the Liminal Chronicles series, I try to stick to reality and the legends as much as I can, so people who haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Japan yet may get a feel for the country and culture that has so captured my heart. Because Liminal Chronicles is an urban fantasy, I departed from reality and legends/folklore in areas.   Here is a list of some of them. I’ll do my best to not give too many spoilers for those who haven’t read the books yet.

 

Rise (Book 1)

  • Kitsune (foxes - specifically the mythical shape shifting ones):
  • I only hinted at the hierarchical levels of the fox culture in my books. There was much more than I could really show here.
  • Why do there seem to be so many stories about female kitsune? I’ve only seen a few with males. So I reasoned, maybe males are rare?
  • Kitsune and other Yokai (powerful spirit beings): I decided I would show the declining population of Japan affecting their numbers, too. Why is yet to be revealed.

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  • Ki Reserve/Well vs Kitsune bi: I save the “bi” (or yokai fire) for special uses and strictly intentional acts, such as using them to light the way in a wedding procession.

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    Ki and Magic:
  • In Liminal Chronicles, I have ki as the source of life energy and magic. It can be collected in one’s ki well under the ribs (or other things like a kitsune’s tama ball that they carry on their tails). This will only work if the being’s ki well is opened. It’s on the fantastical end of ideas, and doesn’t match what I’ve read about the subject. The idea simply works in my magic system.

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  • Ofuda
    Ofuda
  • In my stories, they are talismans for magic, prayers for a wish or desire, and protections. Shintoism doesn’t seem to use them for magic. But pick an anime such as Read or Die and you find the concept.

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    Public Security Intelligence Agency
  • Japan’s version of the CIA, the PSIA, probably does not have a Paranormal Division. But wouldn’t it be cool? I had to include it in Liminal Chronicles!
  • I am also not sure if the PSIA or even the police would have agents posing as Yakuza. But I figured it was a possibility and worked for the story.

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  • Martial arts:
  • Does everyone practice martial arts? Nope. But it fit the story line and made sense for a yakuza mobster.


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    Guardian (book 2)

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    The Red String of Fate :
  • Is a lovely folklore where two people are destined to be lovers. I wanted to show our lives are interconnected, so I extended the idea with other thread colors.

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    The Selection of yokai in the Council for the League of Guardians:
  • Since I set a year limit on the Guardian appointment, I figured there would also be some changeup over time in the leaders. So the yokai and Kami Japanese people and Japan fans expect, may or may not be on the Council. Yokai have lives too, and won’t always want to serve.

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    Soujoubou:
  • He’s said to live on Mt. Kurama. But where on the mountain? So far I haven’t found more details. I figured he needed to hide from the world. It was fun to find a way to deal with that at a tourist spot.
  • I made his character pretty blunt and gruff and even sneaky, as is fitting a Tengu. But through him, I started to subvert the super strict student/teacher relationship found in traditional Japan.
  • Since he’s positively ancient, I gave him a few hints at old age.

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    Putting yokai in the modern age required choices. In the Liminal Chronicles, yokai have assumed for centuries that their magic will get them by. Who needs tech? But it puts them behind in relation to the human world.

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    Ibaraki Douji:
  • There are legends where Ibaraki is referred to as a she, as a Kijo (a female oni). Though there are plenty of legends that assume Ibaraki was male or don’t mention his/her gender. I chose female for the character representation. (See entry on yokai.com for a mention of this.)

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    Sumichou:
  • Invented for the book! But based on the old name for Kabukicho. As I understand it there’s been work to improve Kabukicho’s reputation. So the most insane things in the book happen in an imaginary and off the map district.

  •   There you go. I hope you enjoyed this set of story related notes!

       

    Resources

    If you’d like to learn more, here are some of my favorite resources:
  • yokai.com: Matthew Meyer does an excellent job researching and interviewing people to learn about the well known legends in addition to the more obscure local tales.
  • mimusubi.com - for insights into Shintoism by David Chart.
  • Find Out More About the Liminal Chronicles


    Check out the Liminal Chronicles series to learn about the characters, location, races, lore, and free stories related to the book.

    Want to Read Guardian?


    Guardian is available at these retailers in ebook and paperback format.
     
    You can read the first 4 chapters of Rise, by clicking on the cover below.

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    About the Author


    Amy is a former programmer turned author after her first trip to Japan in 2017. Now she writes Japanese myth-based urban fantasy to reconnect with the country and culture that captured her heart. She lives in South Dakota with her supportive husband, two wonderful grown-up kids, and a pair of wily and crazy ferrets.
     
    You can read more about her and sign at amywintersvoss.com.


    Cover image: by Odette.A.Bach (Art), AWV (text)

    Comments

    Please Login in order to comment!
    May 21, 2023 21:47 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

    This is such an interesting article showcasing the differences between your world and the real life Japanese culture. Really neat little extra for your books. :)

    May 22, 2023 13:30 by Amy Winters-Voss

    Thank you!

    Author of the Liminal Chronicles urban fantasy series | Author Website
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