Sekiro lore

Mar 28th, 2019
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  1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Lore Q&A
  2. For /ssdtg/ and /dsg/ on 4chan
  4. Q: What is the Sengoku Era that the game takes place in?
  6. A: The Sengoku period was an era of constant civil war that was characterized by numerous small fiefdoms fighting amongst each other for power and control of the country.
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sengoku_period
  10. Also referred to as the Warring States Period, Sengoku lasted for roughly 150 years, starting in the 1460s and ending in the early 1610s. As noted above, during this time Japan was composed of numerous territorial powers who warred with each other for control and influence. These regional warlords were eventually pacified and the country unified due to the efforts of the "three unifiers," the first and most famous of who was Oda Nobunaga.
  12. When Isshin staged his coup and took control of Ashina, it was probably against one of these regional warlords, though this is never specified. The "Interior Ministry" that is attempting to infiltrate and invade Ashina refers to the Shogunate, the military dictatorship that is officially sanctioned by the Emperor of Japan. The Shogunate would eventually stamp out all resistance and unify the country, leading to an era of peace that would last for 250 years, the Edo Period.
  14. Based on internal entity names within the game files, we know that the Shogun during the events of Sekiro is Tokugawa Ieyasu, the third of the three unifiers. This narrows down the events of the game as taking place between the following dates:
  16. 1600 - Tokugawa seizes power after the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the second of the three unifiers.
  17. 1603 - The Tokugawa Shogunate is officially established by the Emperor.
  18. 1615 - Toyotomi's son is defeated at the Siege of Osaka, ending the Sengoku Era.
  20. It should also be noted that "across southern seas" in this game refers to European traders and explorers. In order to reach Japan, European ships would have to sail south and around the entire continent of Africa, past India and then through Malaysia and north past the Philippines before finally reaching Japan; either that, or make the land trek across Asia and China and then take a ship north to Japan. Europeans weren't "Westerners" in that early world sense, as the country that was to Japan's direct west was Korea, which they invaded twice during the Sengoku Era.
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  27. Q: What is "Shura?"
  29. A: Shura is a Japanese Buddhist diety.
  31. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asura_(Buddhism)
  33. In the context of the game, it's used to describe a warrior who goes mad. It's the folklore reflection to real-life samurai cracking after facing the horrors of war. Someone who's lost all purpose in life due to the excess of bloodshed they've found themselves surrounded by, and who now lives only to perpetuate that violence for no greater purpose. A broken, tortured, violent human being.
  35. "Shura" itself is the Japanese name for Asura, the Buddhist avatar of war (some might know this name from the game Asura's Wrath). Someone becoming a "Shura" is a Buddhist way of saying they've become an avatar of war itself on Earth, and a host to all of the related Buddhist concepts, like Karma.
  37. Sculptor was saved from becoming a Shura 20 years ago when Isshin defeated him (cutting off his left arm in the process). Knocking him out of commission gave him enough space from the violence to find something else to live for.
  39. The old hag near Ashina Castle gate tells you that there's a demon lurking in Ashina that's made of all the negative Karma left over by battle: Isshin's coup 20 years ago, and the invasion 3 years ago. It all manifested as fires of hatred and circles Ashina searching for a host. Sculptor will inevitably become that host, because his time as a Shura 20 years ago put in him such a dire Karmic debt. Emma has him carving Buddha statues by the hundreds in a vain attempt to pay off his Karma before another battle breaks out. The Dilapidated Temple is covered with talismans to ward evil in order to keep the demon away from him, but once the Interior Ministry invades again and war breaks out, the demon becomes too powerful to be held back and finally takes him.
  41. Various NPCs imply throughout the game that if you go mad you could become its host, so presumably this is also Wolf's eventual fate in the Shura End.
  44. Q: Why is Isshin called a "Sword Saint" when he wields a spear and gun?
  46. A: "Sword Saint" is a Japanese honorary title bestowed to legendary warriors.
  48. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kensei_(honorary_title)
  50. The title is used to refer to mortals whose prowess in battle is so great that they can be compared to deities, the most prominent example of who was Miyamoto Musashi; in other words, they are LITERALLY being called Godlike. Ashina Isshin, who staged a coup and conquered the land of Ashina single-handedly within a generation, is considered one of the strongest warriors alive in the story, and even twenty years past his prime the Interior Ministry still feared him to the point of hesitating to invade. When fought as the final boss in the non-Shura ending, he is not the withered ill old man that puts on a Tengu mask to kill the occasional ministry rat, but rather has been resurrected in his prime, as the living legend who forged Ashina with his bare hands.
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