Beads of Subjugation
Kotodama no Nenju
Language Power Rosary
Beads of Subjugation
Spirit Power Intermediary
Kotodama no Nenju (言魂の念珠, ことだまのねんじゅ, "Language Power Rosary"), called the Beads of Subjugation in the English dub, is the title of the prayer beads/necklace that Inuyasha wears around his neck. When activated by the use of a particular word, the beads glow and bring the wearer under control (in a manner of speaking). In Inuyasha's case, it's usually referred to as the "sit" command.
Purpose & HistoryEdit
Originally, it was Kikyō who was going to put the beads on Inuyasha in order to make sure he behaved. She told Kaede that she was going to trick him into wearing them by telling him they were a gift. She admitted it was a bit underhanded, but by this point, she had already decided she wasn't going to kill him, but knew he might still cause some mischief. She ultimately decided against it and made an excuse after he gifted her with one of his late mother's treasures: a shell of rouge. Kikyō had intended the keyword to be "beloved."
Fifty years later, a desperate Kagome released Inuyasha from his seal so he could kill Mistress Centipede. Not three seconds after dispatching the demon, he turned on Kagome, intent on taking the Shikon no Tama for himself. She fled and he gave chase, prepared to do whatever he had to get it, even kill. During the pursuit, Kaede uttered a chant and the beads found their way around Inuyasha's neck. She then told Kagome to "say the word."
Thinking of his dog ears, Kagome said the first thing that came to mind: "osuwari" (お座り), meaning "sit (to a dog)". The beads glowed and brought Inuyasha slamming to the ground. (He was actually standing on a bridge at that moment, so he slammed straight down through the wood and into the water below.) From this point, it became a running gag throughout the entire series. While the beads were specifically made to prevent Inuyasha from attacking Kagome or other people, Kagome, in most cases and thanks to her own impulsiveness, somewhat abuses this power for trivial matters i.e. whenever Inuyasha acted like his rude, prideful self or when he somehow irritated Kagome too much.
The beads play a small, but vital role in the development of Inuyasha's character, keeping him from harming Kagome long enough to start to care for her and others in time.
In InuYasha the Movie: Swords of an Honorable Ruler, a super charged "osuwari" caused the Kotodama no Nenju to more or less explode. Inuyasha went the rest of the film without wearing them, and a worried Kagome found herself wondering if she still had a connection to him even though he was without them. A scene following the credits showed Kagome tricking Inuyasha into wearing the beads again in very much the same manner Kikyō had planned to do. He continued to wear them for the rest of the series.
- Once they are placed on the yōkai or hanyō target, the Kotodama no Nenju can only be removed by the "word sayer". Try as they might, the wearer cannot remove, break or cut the beads from around their neck.
- Only one person can activate the beads. Others have tried and failed, and Kaede, the one who put the beads on Inuyasha in the first place, has been shown asking Kagome to make him sit on her behalf.
- Activating the beads causes the wearer to fall at high speeds and land agroof.
- Even if the wearer is already down, the repeating of the trigger word pulls them further still into the ground and continues to cause pain.
- As a spiritual artifact, the Kotodama no Nenju can have an effect on demonic energies within the immediate vicinity.
- When Tessaiga was broken and Inuyasha kept reverting to his demon form, Kagome used the beads to not only knock him unconscious, but also to temporarily force his demon blood back into remission.
- In Swords of an Honorable Ruler, the spiritual power from the activated beads is enough to drive off the demon sword Sō'unga, breaking its hold over Inuyasha and sending it rocketing away at high velocity.
- Also in Swords of an Honorable Ruler, Rin threw a couple of the beads at a demon that was holding Kagome. The spiritual essence of two beads that hit its face was enough to melt its entire head into a sizzling nothing.
Manga vs. AnimeEdit
- When Inuyasha was first commanded to "sit" in the manga, he was standing on land and was slammed to the ground. In the anime, Inuyasha was standing on a bridge. After repeated commands, Inuyasha's body broke through the bridge and fell into the river below.
- The Beads of Subjugation are composed of small round beads, and larger magatama (勾玉), jewels shaped like a comma (巴, tomoe). Magatama date back to the earliest days of Japanese history, although magatama from continental Asia (i.e. China and Korea) most likely had associations with Taoism, as a magatama resembles one half of the taijitu, the symbol of yin and yang. Such an association would explain the magatama's association with Shintō, as Shintō was a synthesis of native Japanese folk beliefs and Taoist rituals adopted from China. The magatama appears throughout Shintō mythology, and a legendary magatama is one of the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan. The magatama differentiate Shintō beads from Buddhist prayer beads, such as those used by Miroku and other monks. The beads and magatama worn by Inuyasha (the Beads of Subjugation) were used exclusively by three Shintō priestesses in the series: Kikyō, Kaede, and Kagome. A similar necklace was also worn by Kaguya. Magatama are commonly made of agate (瑪瑙, menō), lapis lazuli (琉璃, ruri), and glass crystal (玻璃, hari), which are each the origins for the names of Menōmaru, Ruri, and Hari, respectively.
- The trigger word Kikyō planned to use was "itoshii" (愛しい), meaning "beloved".
- The word "osuwari" is a sit command used specifically for dogs, which is why the beads don't activate whenever Kagome tells him to sit down.
- It's never clarified as to what happens when Inuyasha is in human form. Kagome is never shown to trigger the beads while he's human, nor is he shown to try and remove them. However, Miroku once planned to have Kagome have Inuyasha sit while in human form and then knock him out if he insisted on accompanying Miroku and Sango on their way to face Kagura to keep Inuyasha losing his powers on the new moon a secret for his own safety.
- In Inuyasha's case, the Kotodama no Nenju are pretty much the equivalent of a collar or a choke-chain, maybe even a shock-collar, considering he's a dog demon.
- During the last scene of the 3rd movie, when Inuyasha attempts to remove them, they don't flash as they did in Episode 2. Kagome admits that she trusts Inuyasha, but refuses to remove them because she doesn't want him running off again (which is her only means of holding any authority over him).