Abe no Seimei

From Academic Kids

Abe no Seimei (安倍 晴明 921?-1005?) was a leading specialist of onmyodo during the middle of Heian Period. His legend has been portrayed in a number of stories and films.

Abe no Seimei worked as an Onmyoji, a practitioner of onmyodo, working for emperors and the Heian government. His job was to make a calendar and advise on the spiritually correct way to deal with issues. He prayed for the well being of emperors and the government as well as advising on various issues. He was also an astrologist and predicted astorogical events. He enjoyed an extremely long life, free from any major illness and this is one of the reasons that caused Abe no Seimei to have mystical powers.

In Fiction

His life is well recorded and there is a little question about his life. But almost immediately after his death, he gained legends and myths much like those of Merlin. Many legends of Seimei were originally written in the Konjaku Monogatarishu, and in the Edo period many fictions were written that focused on his heroic acts.

According to most prevailing myths, Abe no Seimei is not entirely human. He was born from a human father and a mother who was a Yokai, a fox spirit. At a very early age, no later than five, he was able to command weak Oni to do his bidding. His mother entrusted Abe no Seimei to a master of Onmyo-do, which is an art for commanding Oni, casting spells, and breaking spells in the myth, so that he would live a proper human life and not become evil himself.

The Heian period, especially the time when Seimei lived, was a time of peace, and many of his myths revolve around series of magical battles with an antagonist, Ashiya Doman. Ashiya Doman is a powerful onmyoji who tries to embarrass Abe no Seimei so that he can take his position. One episode involves Doman and the young Seimei in a divination duel to reveal the contents of a particular box. Doman had another person put fifteen mandarin oranges into the box and so Doman reveals that there are fifteen mandarin oranges in the box. Seimei however reveals that there are fifteen rats in the box, and when the box is opened, out come fifteen rats. In this story, Seimei was clever enough to see through Doman's trickery and also use his powers to transform the mandarin oranges into something else.

In 1994, Yumemakura Baku started a series named Onmyoji with Abe no Seimei cast as a beautiful young adult male who lived the world of Heian period infested with mysterious beings. This was turned into a manga by Okano Reiko and became popular within teenage girls.

His name appears in many works of fiction often as a helpful wise man and rarely as an enemy.

The movie "Onmyouji", starring Abe no Seimei was released in 2003/2004 in the U.S. by Geneon/Pioneer.

Abe no Seimei can also be seen in the anime "Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi" which was released in 2004 in the U.S. by ADV Films, and in Otogizoushi. He's also the hero of Otogi 2, a XBox video game.

The Seimei Shrine (晴明神社) is a popular shrine dedicated to Abe no Seimei. It is located in Kyoto, Japan.ja:安倍晴明


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