Addition to C15
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
It’s time again for some (skippable) information about what happened in C15.
First of all, Grandma Wang summons Xiang Liu (相柳), a nine-headed snake, which, according to legends, is eventually slain by Yu the Great (大禹), one of the first tribal/legendary leaders of China who was said to have saved the people from great floods. Those of you who have some knowledge of Greek Mythology may instantly recognize the hydra, killed by Heracles. Others that are familiar with Japanese mythology might recognize the Yamata no Orochi (八岐大蛇), a dragon/snake creature with eight heads and tails slain by the god Susanoo (須佐之男, Yes, the name of that technique in Naruto). A quick search shows that these kinds of multiple-headed creatures have parallels in different cultures, with the earliest appearance originating in the Proto-Indo-European religion about a storm god slaying a multi-headed serpent that dwells in water. Xiang Liu is described in the 山海经 (Shan Hai Jing, Classic of Mountains and Seas), a collection of fantastic places, beings (beasts, gods etc.), plants, medicine and all kinds of stuff whose origins can be retraced to the dawn of the Chinese civilization, in the third millenium BCE.
Then, in reference to what Grandma Wang actually says when she summons the Xiang Liu. She says 临兵斗者皆阵列前行 (lin bing dou zhe jie lie zhen qian xing). These nine characters, first seen in a work by the Taoist Ge Hong in the 4th century CE, was later exported to Japan and taken in by the Buddhist branch over there. (Even though the last two characters were miscopied. I’m sure that that’s because they didn’t have good editors like we do xD.) Each of these characters represent a desirable trait (power, harmony, the usual package). In Japan, they are thought of as having the power to banish ghosts, spirits, and your typical collection of monsters. Later on, these seals were adopted into the ninja culture, and what’s really interesting is that these nine characters are each represented by a hand-seal in Shingon Buddhism. Yes, you’ve guessed it right; they constitute the basis of the hand seals performed by the characters in Naruto whenever they are about to release a Ninjutsu. Of course, some modifications were made by the author, and, for example, there are twelve seals in the Naruto universe compared to the initial nine.
The Japanese version of the 9 characters, 九字真言 (jiu zi zhen yan, lit. nine true words) or 九字切り (kuji-kiri, lit. nine symbolic cuts)
- (臨) Rin – Power
- (兵) Hyo/Pyo – Energy
- (闘) Toh – Harmony
- (者) Sha – Healing
- (皆) Kai – Intuition
- (陣) Jin – Awareness
- (列) Retsu – Dimension
- (在) Zai – Creation
- (前) Zen – Absolute
(Tip: try to pronounce these characters in English and compare them to the Chinese pronunciations above—you’ll notice something very interesting! God bless Chinese characters for the sake of learning Japanese ^^)
A picture of the seals
TL DR: Imagine an eighty year-old grandma flying across a street performing Naruto hand seals to summon a giant nine-headed snake (Orochimaru…) to battle a clone of the MC with purple lightning. Ah, this would be good as an anime.
Yes, I did grind through all 700 chapters of Naruto…
(P.S. Tell me what you think of these extra bits of information; is it interesting? Could it be improved in any way? I’ll pay close attention to your feedback!)
Double P.S. Seems like the concept of chakra comes from the Sanskrit word meaning wheel, circle, or cycle, and has long been a part of Indian culture. The nine-tailed fox is also something that came out of the Classic of Mountains and Seas! Everything is related and makes sense. 0.0 Epiphany.