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How would a Japanese Arisen adapt the story of Irem?

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  • How would a Japanese Arisen adapt the story of Irem?

    Just something I thought of when reading the writing guide. Where humanity goes, the cultural memes of the Nameless Empire follow, and the Arisen heralding and/or following closely after. Given how Tokyo is and was the Weird Capital 0f the World for a bit, I decided to make a thought experiment of a mummy who adapted their cult to Shintoism, and explains the history of Irem in the context of Japan's own myths to make it more palatable but also less destructive to the local culture.

    I am also assuming this Arisen knows the creation myth outlined in Dreams of Avarice, and as 2E seems to suggest, that the Shan'iatu feed on the Sekhem he retrieves in relics. Still fairly loyal to the Judges and the Priests of Duat, at the time they came up with their adaptations. So that is also a thing.

    I figure the Sun plays a much larger role in their take on Irem's myths, as opposed to the original portrayal of Re as being somewhat foolish and cowardly. Izanami is also an extremely important figure, as a goddess of creation who became a goddess of death; according to the cult's legends, Izanagi later apologized for his rashness in sealing her away in Yomi, but Ammut forces Izanami to make good on her promise of killing one thousand souls each day, for Ammut is the impurity that comes with death and wishes all to die so that she may reset creation, as is her nature. Arisen, who are reborn as the proper rites or the will of their own kami dictate, are unique in that their purification makes them living beings again, however relatively briefly. In menet, they dwell with Izanami and the Judges, the kami born from the act of the first execution (the beheading of Kagutsuchi by Izanagi for the death of his mother) and wait to be purified so they may spread their teachings once again.

    (Hopefully I didn't butcher the myths too badly.)



  • #2
    The big flaw in this is assuming that an Arisen's main venue of success for converting in modern day Japan is going to rely selling a version of Shinto rather than playing into just the national values. Religion isn't huge mover in Japan, but cultural unity is. A related subject is that the order of importance goes simple modern values, then Buddhism, and then Shinto, but really the Guild mentalities that dive more into the social order and away from the religion, such as the Maa-Kep and the Sesha-Hebsu (and the Tef-Aahbi, to a certain extent), are going to thrive more soundly. While going back in history makes that more fluid, as a broad, dumb look at history, that order continues.

    Second is that, while the Arisen don't shy away from selling along the lines of major recurring icons and themes rather than specific figures (Jesus is as good an Azar as any in most circumstances up to a certain point), they aren't going to deprioritize the major elements-if Re is a joke in Irem, then Re is a joke no matter how important Amaterasu is to the folks around them. The Arisen might keep their punchlines subtle as it goes, but they are going to play up Izanami as Ammut and Azar as Izanagi more than giving sudden credence to Amaterasu.

    It's too late for me to comment on more, but the rest is not a bad start, per se.


    Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
    The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
    Feminine pronouns, please.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
      The big flaw in this is assuming that an Arisen's main venue of success for converting in modern day Japan is going to rely selling a version of Shinto rather than playing into just the national values. Religion isn't huge mover in Japan, but cultural unity is.
      Do you mean a flaw in writing or a flaw in character? I mean, nothing says the Arisen have to be good at their jobs. There is something kinda interesting about an Arisen making their cult less viable by trying to blend in.

      Also, whilst religiosity may not be that important to most people in Japan, most people don't join cults. Japan does clearly have at least some audience for fringe religious groups.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Michael View Post

        Do you mean a flaw in writing or a flaw in character? I mean, nothing says the Arisen have to be good at their jobs. There is something kinda interesting about an Arisen making their cult less viable by trying to blend in.

        Also, whilst religiosity may not be that important to most people in Japan, most people don't join cults. Japan does clearly have at least some audience for fringe religious groups.
        That, and I was thinking this particular mummy came over at an earlier time, when faith was still fairly major. They haven't quite adapted their cult from "variant of the faith" to "self-help guide for social harmony", because a true faith can snatch up people who are desperate for meaning - and because yes, this Arisen is stubborn and doesn't like changing what worked before. They're a specialist in Tribal styles of belief.

        Still, Arcane brings up a good point. That was my initial plan, but I can see now that the cult should be ethical guidelines for its members first, community second, myth third. It was my intent that their take on Japanese myth has more emphasis on what the Arisen values in the cult (especially the notion that vows are eternal, and even a brief break from them is bad - also the patrons feel bad for Izanami and felt the need to write a fix fic), but here I can see them intentionally writing the cult's myths in a way to proscribe certain behaviors that lead to greater success in the home and workplace, and being fairly open about these stories having a moral that transmits these teachings.


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        • #5
          Which time period were you looking at?


          Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
          The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
          Feminine pronouns, please.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
            Which time period were you looking at?

            Hm. I'm thinking the modern iteration cult was formed around the time of the beginning of the Meiji restoration but its founder was incarnated into a Japanese body near the end of the Sengoku period and they started thinking of a cult meant to catch people who felt betrayed by the strict social classes of Edo period Japan shortly after eta and hinin became a thing (while I haven't quite decided what gender they are, I'm sure they're a Su-Menet; the Guilds find the idea that someone who works with burial practices and bodies is somehow ritually impure to be ridiculous bordering on offensive). The cult in its Edo incarnation effectively said that no, being close to the dead and "unclean" things does not make you less than a person, and in fact you have a vital role in making sure the natural world remains in balance. Keep the faith, do your job, and above all else, remain worthy of trust, and you are not a sinner just because you happen to be a butcher; in fact, your karma is less burdened by virtue of accepting you are a person who breaks taboos and performs inauspicious duties, for you understand your nature and purpose and are less caught up in the temporary material world than some samurai who bankrupts himself for some vague sense of social acclaim he cannot even name. In time, belief spread to the merchant classes as well, because they were also looked down on by neo-Confucian thought and more importantly, the founder needed the money flow.

            Post-Meiji, the cult has diversified a great deal; an official dissolution of class barriers meant there were a lot of people who were rendered very bitter to discover their social situation didn't change or got worse, and the cult is there to catch them, and hold them, and tell them they aren't bad people. The cult now teaches a variant of its old doctrine; there are still burakumin, but the name is disguised in polite terms like "outsider" and "doesn't fit in", but it's a big joke; society still hates them for being the people who make sure it is still running while not being presentable about it. The doctrine has many facets, but at its core, it comes from a kind of solidarity that comes from shared resentment of polite society. The cult happily snatches up people who feel spat upon by the social harmony and tells them that no, you have a place, and its closer to truth and the spirit than any hollow shell of a society that hates them for not being a happy little cog in an empty machine. They have a divinely mandated purpose, and if the "presentable" people don't like it, well they never knew themselves in the first place, did they? Naturally, this doctrine not only draws a lot of descendants of burakumin classes, but also social outcasts like single mothers, criminals not part of the organized yakuza (the yakuza have a place already), and would-be social reformers. The result is a cult that is definitely a lot more visceral than what the Su-Menet generally go for, but then again when your cult already draws from people who have a bone to pick with normal society to begin with...


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            • #7
              What do there Rituals Intale Exactly?

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              • #8
                I might have more late, but a quite note: The post-Sengoku period of time is definitely more concerned with Buddhism than Shinto, and the Meiji was...messy with it's relationship to religion period.

                It otherwise looks solid on an initial scan, but that's with work balancing my attention.


                Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                Feminine pronouns, please.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                  I might have more late, but a quite note: The post-Sengoku period of time is definitely more concerned with Buddhism than Shinto, and the Meiji was...messy with it's relationship to religion period.

                  It otherwise looks solid on an initial scan, but that's with work balancing my attention.

                  Thanks! And yeah, I actually planned for that; the founder isn't exactly a fan of Buddhism; she doesn't hate it as a concept, but she does think of it as woefully naive and presumptious, since her understanding implies human souls can reborn as a state higher than the Judges, since the Judges are concerned with sin and thus at least equal to or lower than Mara in precedence. This strikes her as a bit anthropocentric, to say the least. So she draws more on Shinto, which is closer to her own beliefs.

                  (Also, decided the founder is female, to go with the idea she's known to disguise herself as a lowly shrine maiden and to fit with the idea of her being a demigoddess of outcasts; she's the undisputed leader in cold defiance of male-dominated society.)
                  Last edited by Leliel; 01-20-2019, 11:40 PM.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Konradleijon View Post
                    What do there Rituals Intale Exactly?

                    Four big ones; Initiation is always a cause for great pomp and circumstance, as the new member symbolically is rejected by the surface world by having something that ties him to normal society spat on by an authority figure for illogical reasons, before being "banished" to the underworld and being welcomed by (someone playing) Izanami as kin, before they destroy that item together. The second one is a consolation taken after a cult member is forced to do something immoral for the sake of the cult and their patron's plans to improve society, where all the good things that came of that wicked act are pointed out and lauded, before the subject does an "anti-purification" of sorts where she reafffirms she has no need of purity in the face of what was needed by her kin. Third is public vows, which double as promotions; the cult takes promises very seriously, because trust is the only thing priceless among outcasts, so any vow that is witnessed (especially marriage vows or the responsibilities assumed by a promoted member) is considered binding. The fourth is the other half of that, the punishment undetaken against those who betray their promises and so endanger the harmony of the world; as a final insult to those who betray the cult, this is no different if the person they are punishing is a traitor or a subject of vigilantism; once you betray your fellows, you are no different from anyone else they despise.


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                    • #11
                      The Only Bad thing about that is Doing a Immoral thing. What do you mean?

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                      • #12
                        Silly question; What kind of cult is it?

                        Because it sounds like a Shishi (Conspiracy), with the trappings of religion rather than a religion.
                        But it might act like a Zaibatsu (Enterprise).

                        Regardless, how it acts in the day to day impacts the way philosophy is interpreted and passed on.


                        Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Konradleijon View Post
                          The Only Bad thing about that is Doing a Immoral thing. What do you mean?
                          Something that obviously scared and upset the person who did it, in game terms was a breaking point. In hindsight, "immoral" wasn't the right word, more like "traumatic"; the classic thing is killing someone for the cult, but also exploring a very active and hostile haunted location or grave robbing. In crunch, it's a way to resolve Integrity Conditions and to provide cultists a reason for buying up their Integrity; in universe, it's a way of reaffirming loyalty to the group and etching in the doctrine of being the person who does what is necessary rather than what is pure.
                          Last edited by Leliel; 01-21-2019, 11:26 AM.


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                          • #14
                            Severe Taboo breaking?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Konradleijon View Post
                              Severe Taboo breaking?

                              That's exactly what I was trying to get to, but I needed someone else to get the words for it. For some reason I forgot there's a term for that. Thank you!


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