H E I A N

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  Abe Seimei

Click here for history of Japanese music and dance that involves Minamoto Hiromasa, Abe Seimei, and the actor Nomura Mansai. | Click here for Nomura Mansai's dance. | Click here for Nomura Mansai as flutist.

 

Actor Nomura Mansai is the most believable Abe Seimei on silverscreen. His background as a stage actor for Japanese traditional comedy still shows, but somehow it also strengthens the character-playing at the same time -- it emanates a distinctly Heianist atmosphere.

Click Mansai Nomura's picture above to see the REAL Abe no Seimei & Minamoto no Hiromasa.

     

 

 

 

The real-life Ichijo Modori bridge, separator between Abe Seimei's estate and the Imperial city. It got a role for itself in the movie Onmyoji. People in 2005 still believe that this bridge is no ordinary bridge; it serves as a path linking this world and the unseen.   A priest doing a ritual at the Abe Seimei's shrine in 2005 -- while he probably never watched the movie.
     

 

 

 

The shrine of Abe Seimei in Kyoto, built in his times and got renovated in 20th century.

 

Also related to this page:
The OTHER Real-Life in Heian Era: The Way of the Warriors
(this one isn't shown in the movie Onmyoji)

Tradition said it wasn't all onmyojis' emblem and talisman against evil, the pentacles that are so prominent in the movie. It was Abe Seimei's own invention in mid 900's. This one is cast in golden hue, at the shrine dedicated to him in Kyoto.
     

 

 

In Osaka there is another shrine built for Abe Seimei. The domestic scene of court life during Abe Seimei's times is magnified by the novelist Lady Murasaki Shikibu (see the first page of this section). They happened to live at the same period.
   

 

 

The Heian era was a sucker for impractical intricacies, in all spheres. This is how the Mikado's Empress looked like in real life during Abe Seimei's tenure at the Imperial Court. Because of the wow-inciting hairdo and 6 layers of robes, the Heian era has been a constantly interesting visual subject even after more than a thousand years have elapsed since. What's missing from Onmyoji is the heavy rice-powder on the face (both men and women wore it), blackened teeth, and 'thumb-prints' instead of natural eyebrows for women. In 21st century surely resurrection of those Heianist characteristics would repulse clueless moviegoers, so I guess historical accuracy was brushed aside to prevent marketing suicide. Especially since the movie was intended to get released in the U.S.
   

 

 

The Heian temple of Kyoto in 2005 is still as tranquil as in Abe Seimei's days. Time stands still there, like Japan itself during its insulation after the reign of Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu (click here for story and pictures).

 

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