InuYasha
Advertisement
InuYasha

The Jewel of Four Souls in its pure form.

The Shikon no Tama (こんたま, "Jewel of Four Souls"), also known as the Sacred Jewel, or Shikon Jewel, was a powerful marble-sized sphere which grants immense power to whoever possesses it. It is considered by Kaede as an unholy jewel which boosts a yōkai's spiritual power. Only a few individuals, such as Kagome and Kikyō, can sense the presence (or 'kehai') of the jewel and its shards.

Description

Kaede: "I presume the Shikon Jewel fear Kagome's spiritual power and decided to take action."
Inuyasha: "The Shikon Jewel?"
Kaede: "As ye well know, the Shikon Jewel contains both the good spirit we call Naohi, and an evil spirit Magatsuhi."
―Kaede talks about the jewel have two spirits.[src]

A pure (left) and tainted/corrupted (right) Jewel of Four Souls.

A pure (right) and tainted/corrupted (left) Shikon Jewel and Kagome in the center

The Shikon Jewel was produced from the souls of Priestess Midoriko and many demons. Their spiritual power and demon power were condensed into it, thus it can provide power to both people and demons who possess it. Midoriko and the demons have battled inside the jewel since its creation. Depending on its user's soul, the Shikon Jewel's characteristics may be good or bad:[1] When the jewel is pure being held by ones with pure heart, it turns a soft pink color with "Naohi" (the goodness within, represented by Midoriko), meaning she is winning. While the jewel is held tainted by the soul of an evil/greedy human or yōkai, it turns a lurid black-violet (the evil within, represented by Magatsuhi or the Demon), meaning he is winning.

The bottle where Kagome used to keep the fragments she managed to collect.

Physically, it is a sphere that appears to be made of some sort of crystalline material prior to the accident that shattered it. It is somewhere between a marble and a ping-pong ball in size when complete, but the shards of the Jewel of Four Souls are irregular in size and shape. When purified, the jewel is a soft pink color, but the more tainted the soul and wishes of the person possessing it, the more the color turns to a lurid black-violet.

The Four Souls

The four souls described are referenced as the four Mitamas from the Shintō philosophy of Naohi (直霊): Aramitama (荒魂, "Courage, lit. Wild Soul"), Nigimitama (和魂, "Friendship, lit. Harmonious Soul"), Kushimitama (奇魂, "Wisdom, lit. Wondrous Soul") and Sakimitama (幸魂, "Love, lit. Fortunate Soul"). All these together form one essence in the flesh and live inside the heart. When a person contains these four spirits at their maximum, such as Midoriko, they unite to form a really powerful balance within the soul that can be used for either good or evil.

Effects

The Shikon Jewel helps to increase power dramatically. The degree it increases is relative to the number of shards the user possess. However, to make it impure, it usually makes the host demonic and or not themselves. While shards of the Shikon no Tama empowers the user's whole body, it seems to be most concentrated to body parts where it was embedded. Examples being Kōga's legs, which enabled him to run at high speeds for long periods of time and Bankotsu, being a lot stronger physically from embedding jewel shards into his arms.

By embedding the Shikon Jewels' shards inside their bodies, even small demons like Mistress Centipede or Carrion Crow can obtain demonic power that is far greater than what they naturally possess. The Jewel is said to be able to alter the very fundamental aspects of bodies, such as changing a half-demon into a full demon or a human.[1] ​​​​​​The Shikon Jewel's power affects humans as well. Even humans can gain a dramatic increase in their physical strength and fight against demons if they put shards inside their delicate bodies. For example, Tōkajin put a shard in his stomach and it made his skin as hard as a rock, whereas Bankotsu was revived from bones and gained great strength from the shards he held.

The complete destruction of the Shikon Jewel is seemingly impossible. It could be shattered into shards, but not decomposed by Bakusaiga. The only way for the Shikon Jewel to cease to exist is that one wishes for it to do so.

History

Heian Period

The battle that created the Jewel.

The jewel had come into existence during the Heian period of Japan by the battle of the great priestess Midoriko and a powerful dragon yōkai.[2] She was able to seize the souls of yōkai and purify them, this power coming from having a positive balance of the four souls within her heart. Her spiritual power alone paled that of any other person alive, and it was said she could purify and destroy ten thousands yōkai at once. Her final adversary and the one that claimed her life was created by many yōkai joined and anchored within the evil heart of a human who secretly lusted for her, similar to how Onigumo lusted for Kikyō and created Naraku.

After seven days and seven nights of fighting, Midoriko realized that she would be unable to fight off the yōkai. Being drawn into the creature's massive jaws, she seized the spirit of the yōkai and bound it within her own with the last of her power, killing both of them and creating the Shikon Jewel, which burst from her chest. Within the jewel, her soul and the souls of the yōkai she bound within it still battle on. The state of this battle is influenced by the person who possesses the jewel.

Warring States Era

The Jewel, tainted by Mistress Centipede's demonic power.

The jewel was controlled by various humans and yōkai for several centuries and at some point, was in the hands of Kirinmaru and Zero, prophesying that he would be slain by an existence neither human nor demon, and impossible entity that surpasses time. Following the demise of the Great Dog Demon, Zero wished for the jewel to rid of her demonic power, heart and grief so she would never shed tears again. As a result, the Rainbow Pearls were created.[3] One hundred and 50 years later after the hands of Kirinmaru and Zero prior the events of the original series, the jewel ended up being rediscovered by the leader of the Yōkai taijiya Shako in the body of a demon. The Demon Slayers entrusted Kikyō with the guardianship of the jewel due to her purifying powers, but it leads to her untimely demise since the Small Spider Demon sensed Inuyasha while he's into a deep sleep who falls in love with Kikyō. Naraku deceived Kikyō and Inuyasha, who had fallen in love with her, into hating each other by making them believe they had betrayed one another. The purpose of his plan was to steal the jewel and corrupt it with their hatred and bitterness.

Kikyō taking the Jewel with her to the afterlife.

Inuyasha was sealed to a tree for fifty years, and Kikyō was killed by Naraku, although she believed Inuyasha to be responsible for her death. As per Kikyō's last wish, Kaede and the villagers burnt the Jewel along with her body as it was her intention to take it with her into the afterlife. This fate may have been brought about by a curse from Tsubaki, who proclaimed that should Kikyō ever fall in love, she would lose her powers as a priestess and have an unnatural and untimely death. It is revealed near the end of the series, that the Shikon Jewel, or rather the Demon of the Shikon no Tama, has been the true enemy of the entire story, manipulating Naraku who was nothing more than an instrument it created to assure its continued existence.

Throughout the series

Mistress Centipede tearing the jewel out of Kagome.

The jewel was burned with Kikyō, but returned fifty years later (550 years chronologically) through a reincarnation of Kikyō's soul in Kagome, coming back from the future because of the jewel's power and the interference of the Mistress Centipade (Mukade Jōrō). With the Shikon's power, the evil demoness hauled Kagome through the Bone-Eater's Well back in time to the Feudal Era, and eventually tore the Jewel out of Kagome's body, effectively returning the jewel back to the world once more.

The Jewel breaking into dozens of fragments

Kagome eventually unsealed Inuyasha, however, the jewel was lost to a carrion crow, Shibugarasu. While attempting to retrieve it by shooting the crow with an arrow, Kagome accidentally shatters the jewel into hundreds if not thousands of shards (Shikon no Kakera) which scatter themselves across Japan. Inuyasha's group (which includes Miroku, Kagome, Shippō, Kirara and Sango) are attempting to collect the shards and stop Naraku from getting the Jewel's full powers for himself.

Final battle

When the Jewel was completed and Naraku had been slain, Kagome was absorbed into the jewel to start a new battle between good and evil. Inuyasha followed her in and finds out that the jewel is trying to make Kagome make a wish so it can start the battle all over again. Unlike most beliefs, Midoriko is still alive and fighting the demons within the jewel, but the demon inside the jewel wants Kagome to take her place and replace the demons with Naraku instead. Kagome finds out that the jewel doesn't really grant one's true wish, realizing that Kikyō wished to be with Inuyasha and Naraku's wish probably wasn't an evil one as he had intended it to be. She remembers her grandfather telling her that the Shikon Jewel can only be purified by one soul that wishes to save everything, finally realizing the wish and makes it after Inuyasha joins her side.

In the manga, although it is not directly explained, the demon's wish made by Naraku dissolved forever Midoriko's spirit to prepare the new place for Kagome. Indeed, immediately after her disappearance, the demons tell very clearly to Inuyasha that her battle with them has lasted for the hundreds of years since the Shikon no Tama was born and Kagome will continue it from here. Furthermore, as soon as the light dies, the huge spider web with Naraku's dead soul instantly appears. Then, with her final death, Inuyasha became Midoriko's true successor in the ancient fight against the demon. Furthermore, although it is not directly explained, the demon and Naraku were destroyed forever by Inuyasha when he cut the point of light in the darkness inside the Shikon Jewel with Meidō Zangetsuha, which is clearly the key to kill Naraku and destroy the jewelry evil, annihilating forever the evil corrupting presence within it until the Jewel's shimmering and voice completely stopped.[4] The rest of the Jewel breaks and finally disappears when Kagome makes the right wish for it to be taken out of existence.

Instead, in the anime version, Kagome wishes for the Shikon Jewel to be gone forever, thus freeing Midoriko's spirit so that she can pass on to the afterlife and the demons purified. Naraku is shown to have awakened and finally is content by the warmness that the Shikon Jewel shined as it is destroyed.

Hanyō no Yashahime

Three years and six months later, Inuyasha and Kagome tells Ne no Kubi that Kikyō has been killed by Naraku and the Shikon Jewel is no longer exists, as well as Zero already know happened for the prophecy of the Shikon Jewel that which leads to her and her brother Kirinmaru's defeat.

Specific power granted by the shards

Although the Shikon Jewel can empower those who posses it, it seems to grant other powers in accordance to one's will. The powers granted include:

Wishes made on the Jewel

As an otherworldly item, the jewel is capable of granting its bearer wish, though only when all the shards are assembled. It is notable that since the jewel was created, no good wishes have ever come from whoever possessed it. Since many people desire the jewel only for selfish gain, it only causes despair and danger to anyone who possesses it. Furthermore, the Demon inside the Jewel seems to only grant wishes that are beneficial to itself due to its desire for eternal existence, being capable of twisting those wishes for such purpose.

  • Wishes made by Zero:
    • To rid herself of her demon power, grief and heart following the demise of Tōga (Fulfilled, due to the creation of the Rainbow Pearls)
  • Wishes made by Kikyō:
    • To make Inuyasha into a full human and live together as ordinary people. (Never wished, due to Naraku's interference which resulted in her untimely demise)
    • To take the jewel with her to the afterlife (The Shikon no Tama accompanied her to the afterlife then followed her soul to her reincarnation)
    • To see Inuyasha again. (Fulfilled by having her reincarnation from five centuries later brought back to Inuyasha)
    • To no longer fight and become a normal woman. (Magatsuhi sealed her reincarnation's powers)[5]
  • Wishes made by Naraku/Onigumo:
    • To have Kikyō's love. (Unfulfilled, due to Kikyō no longer exists in this world and/or had already reincarnated as Kagome. Possibly, not granted.)
    • To have himself and Kagome replace the demon and Midoriko as the battling spirits within the Jewel. (Partially fulfilled, before the Jewel was destroyed. Possibly a twisted wish of "to go to where Kikyō is")
    • To dissolve Midoriko's soul forever to prepare the new place for Kagome (Fulfilled, but it's only in the manga, not in the anime version)
  • Wish made by Bankotsu:
    • To grant his Banryū immense demonic power
  • Wishes the Jewel tried to have Kagome make:
    • To return where she truly belongs (Never wished. The jewel plans to transport Kagome to where the demons and Midoriko fought (aka where it believes she truly belongs).
    • To go to where Inuyasha is (Never wished. Similar to above, as "where Inuyasha currently is" is where the demons and Midoriko fought)
  • Wishes made by Inuyasha:
    • To become a full demon. (Unfulfilled, since he never had the chance to use it)
  • Wishes made by Kagome:
    • The jewel's cessation of existence. (Fulfilled)

Trivia

  • According to Rumiko Takahashi in the InuYasha Profiles, the Sacred Jewel resurfaces or revives every five hundred years or so.
  • "The one true correct wish" to destroy the jewel seems to have been left deliberately vague in legend.
  • In total, Inuyasha's group collected 13 jewel shards before they were stolen by Naraku. (Miroku collected three on his own before giving them to Kagome).
  • Naraku collected all but thirteen of the shards on his own; the first ten collected by Inuyasha's group were given to him by Kikyō while he stole the remaining ones to complete the jewel.
    • This would also explain why he didn't make a move until episode 18; he could be busily collecting the other hundreds of shards.
  • It was voiced by Tōru Furuya in Japanese, and Michael Adamthwaite in English.

Notes and References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Zusetsutaizan Ōgikaiden, page 180
  2. Zusetsutaizan Ōgikaiden, page 179
  3. Hanyō no Yashahime; Episode 21
  4. Chapter 557, pages 13-16. When Inuyasha jumps into the Meidō, we can see very clearly a light in the darkness which is beginning to make Naraku's web disappear. Furthermore, there are some lights also in the darkness outside.
  5. InuYasha The Final Act anime; Episode 18

See also

Naraku
Incarnations KannaKaguraGoshinkiJūrōmaruKagerōmaruMusōInfantHakudōshiByakuyaAkagane
Rejected parts Unnamed incarnationHair monsterEye monsterOnigumo (reabsorbed)KodokuKugutsu
Allies SaimyōshōSesshōmaru (formerly)TsubakiHakushinShichinintai (Bankotsu) • AbiTekkeiMōryōmaruMirror demonGoraiMagatsuhi (Demon of the Shikon no Tama)
Enemies KikyōInuyashaKagome HigurashiMiyatsuMiroku's fatherMirokuSangoKiraraKohakuKōgaSesshōmaru (currently)KaguyaMōryōmaruHitomikoHōsenki IKansukeKaedeMidorikoRinJakenA-UnJanis
Locations Onigumo's caveNaraku's castleMount HakureiNaraku's cave
Miscellaneous Shikon no TamaKazaanaShōki
Yōkai taijiya
Taijiya KiraraKohakuSangoSango and Kohaku's fatherShakoHisuiSetsunaRokutaNanasukeTowa Higurashi
Places Yōkai taijiya villageMidoriko's cave
Unique Items HiraikotsuShikon no Tama
Advertisement