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Answerman - What Do Miko (Shrine Maiden) Actually Do?


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HeeroTX



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
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Location: Austin, TX
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:49 pm Reply with quote
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The history of the Miko is so rich and fantastic, however, that it does capture the imagination. This is doubtlessly why they still figure so prominently in Japanese fantasy fiction.

Much like school girls and maids, I'm sure the distinctive outfit doesn't hurt either.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:51 pm Reply with quote
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The history of the Miko is so rich and fantastic, however, that it does capture the imagination


And the dress. To dress-fetishizing Japanese teen boys, hakama pants and white robes are right up there with maid uniforms and gym swimsuits.

And although we see Rei in the article thumbnail, when Usagi and her friends "play" at Miko by helping out the shrine, it's usually just to sell the souvenir-stand fortunes and charms, which any part-time girl might be image-enamored to do for a week or two.
It's just in anime that Sailor Moon's Rei or Urusei Yatsura's Sakura are ever called out on hire for spiritual consulting or psychic fortunetelling visions.
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Heishi



Joined: 06 Mar 2016
Posts: 527
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:17 pm Reply with quote
A legendary shrine maiden named "Himiko". Hmm, now where have I heard this before? Very Happy
Perhaps I should make "movie prequel" where a certain someone might have descended from this Princess Himiko...

Of course, I am fascinated by the culture of Mikoism.
It's a shame, however that they have been relegated to a mere High School/College day job and nothing more. I'm sure the Miko might have had some amazing affect on Japan's religious and cultural history.
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ultimatehaki



Joined: 27 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:34 pm Reply with quote
Sounds like the "chuuni" condition also originated with Himiko.
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leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:46 pm Reply with quote
Now I wonder what the deal is with nuns being fetishized in Japanese media as the same way as shrine maidens. Surely it must be some form of blasphemy in Shintoism to fetishize shrine maidens in the first place though.
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Agent355



Joined: 12 Dec 2008
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Location: Crackberry in hand, thumbs at the ready...
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:36 pm Reply with quote
Himiko sounds awesome, and everything about her can be tailor made for an anime plot: was appointed queen as a teenager, had a younger brother who helped her rule, had 1,000 female attendants and only 1 male attendant (how's that for a harem scenario?) Wink, had magical powers, and the history's so vague you can make just about any plot for any demographic work. Why hadn't she already been in as many anime as Oda Nobunaga?
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residentgrigo



Joined: 23 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:47 pm Reply with quote
The only manga with a realistic take on modern Shinto as a main plot i can think of is Jinja no Susume.
A rare title that tough me a few things.
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BadNewsBlues



Joined: 21 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:56 pm Reply with quote
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Himiko was said to have practiced magic and sorcery over her people,


Hmmm I wonder if this is why there's a segment of Japan's not all that enthused about the idea of a female ruling the country.
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Hoppy800



Joined: 09 Aug 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:41 pm Reply with quote
leafy sea dragon wrote:
Now I wonder what the deal is with nuns being fetishized in Japanese media as the same way as shrine maidens. Surely it must be some form of blasphemy in Shintoism to fetishize shrine maidens in the first place though.


I don't think there's anything saying that it's wrong to sexualize miko or deities.
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mrsatan



Joined: 06 Jul 2005
Posts: 628
Location: Olympia, WA
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:01 pm Reply with quote
I got to know a Miko a little bit in Japan. Totally not what I was expecting. It seemed like her job was only to pose for photos with tourists.
I think she only did the job part-time on a seasonal basis. And then she told me she planned to have a career in Mizu Shobai. Shocked
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MajinAkuma



Joined: 15 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:22 pm Reply with quote
Lucky Star also lampshaded how otaku tend to fetishize mikos.
Remember that the Hiiragi family consists of a Shinto priest and mikos?



I intially thought that Konata's comment about the twins being mikos was just another one of her jokes, but they are actual mikos.
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Shay Guy



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:45 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Himiko was said to have practiced magic and sorcery over her people, but it seems that very few people actually saw Himiko in the flesh -- she was constantly surrounded by a thousand maids and kept locked away in the palace, so no commoners ever saw her. Her younger brother apparently helped rule the country.


...Have there ever been fantasy stories about her doing this to hide something like a lack of aging, a la Jones from Gunnerkrigg Court?

Because if so, I think something that had been bugging me about the Madoka Magica finale just fell into place. At least partly.
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Paiprince



Joined: 21 Dec 2013
Posts: 591
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:46 pm Reply with quote
One thing's for sure: they're easier on the eyes than nuns. They're also less likely to hit you with their sticks for misbehavior. Razz
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harminia



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 559
Location: australia
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:38 pm Reply with quote
I'd love more anime about oldschool Miko's, rather than the modern day fetish bait stuff. It'd be especially cool for a story to explore the mental conditions the Miko's had; hysteria, epilepsy, or hallucinations etc.
But I don't think modern anime wants to explore stuff like that; they just want cute girls in cute outfits doing cute stuff.
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Ashen Phoenix



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
Posts: 2246
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:19 pm Reply with quote
Agent355 wrote:
Himiko sounds awesome, and everything about her can be tailor made for an anime plot: was appointed queen as a teenager, had a younger brother who helped her rule, had 1,000 female attendants and only 1 male attendant (how's that for a harem scenario?) Wink, had magical powers, and the history's so vague you can make just about any plot for any demographic work. Why hadn't she already been in as many anime as Oda Nobunaga?

Well said!
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