Abe no Seimei

Abe no Seimei was a famous onmyoji, a Japanese magician and diviner for the imperial court in the Heian period. As an onmyoji, Seimei practiced onmyodo (meaning 'the way of yin and yang') a form of Japanese occultism based on Chinese five element theory. It involved magic, divination and spiritual protection and had an important role in Japan before eventually becoming prohibited in the mid 19th century.Abe no Seimei was said to be able to predict the gender of unborn babies, locate lost items, summon spirits, conduct exorcisms, and command oni to do his bidding.

'Abe no Seimei' - Hokushi, mid 19th century (British Museum)

His supernatural powers were attributed to his mother being a kitsune, making him half yokai. Legend goes that his father had saved a white fox from hunters and as a reward she took the form of a beautiful woman named Kuzunoha and married him. Seimei was born soon after and it was not long before his powers became evident. At the age of five Seimei saw his mother in her fox form. She told him the story then disappeared into the forest, never to be seen again. 

Utagawa Yoshitoshi

Seimei became very famous and had many rivals, most of whom he easily defeated. One rival ended up killing him but then a Chinese wizard retrieved his bones and brought him back to life, whereupon he got his revenge. Today Abe no Seimei is worshipped as a god at many Shrines in Japan, the most famous being Seimei Jinja in Kyoto. 

Seimei Jinja, Donny Kimball

'Abe no Seimei & his shikigami before an assembly of god-like demon spirits'
from the 14th century emaki scroll 'Fudo Rieki Engi.'

Ema with Abe no Seimei and kitsune

Kikuchi Yosai


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