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The Words ( () () (こと) () , Yomi no Koto no Ha) are brushes infused with Izanami's spirit[1] used to control ayakashi like puppets and name them as if they were shinki.[2]

They were made by Izanami for the purpose of having friends who would not leave her. She taught them to understand speech, which is why the Crafter – the person wielding the Word – is able to command ayakashi it creates to do their bidding. Izanami has produced at least four brushes, all of which she has kept with her inside Yomi[3] until two were stolen from her.[4]

Masked Ayakashi

The ayakashi created by the Words are identified using the mask, either in the form of a physical, three-dimensional mask or a simplified two-dimensional symbol. All versions are adorned with an eye. The oldest recorded mask appeared on the island of Tamatsuki.[5] The physical appearance of the masks changed throughout the years, becoming more and more simplified.[6]

The mask throughout the years. Current design at the far right.

If created using earlier versions of the Word, masked ayakashi may have various weaknesses, including the following:[7]

  • Being unable to survive in direct sunlight.
  • Dying after a single "use" (presumably, after fulfilling a command).
  • Requiring a physical mask made by the Crafter to be born.

Masked ayakashi are shown to be capable of not just understanding but also producing human speech. For example, the ayakashi that Tsuyu discovered in Tenjin's residence was able to speak a sentence in answer to her question regarding the name of its master.[8]

Over the course of many centuries, from time to time there have been observances of these masked ayakashi appearing on the Near Shore. The Heavens believed them to be "ayakashi that are controlled using spells," and assumed that there would have to be a parent or "Crafter" controlling them.[9] The real identity of the Crafter was later revealed to be Father.[10]

Naming Shinki

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"You wanna dig out my tush-crystal, Yukine?!"
The contents of this article and/or its subpages contain manga spoilers.

The Word can also be used to name shinki through the following incantation:[11]

Father naming Hagusa.

() (しもべ) とす/ ひとつ () のもと () せ / (したが) (ひと) (かた) となし () () かん / () は「 (ゆう) 」 / 名は「 (はぐさ)
(Original Japanese text)

Wa ga shimobe tosu / Hitotsu na no moto fuse / Shitagae hitokata to nashi tome okan / Ki wa [Yuu] / Na wa [Hagusa]
(Romaji transliteration)

I dub thee my servant. Bow down to the one name. I call thee to human form and bind thee to it. The vessel, [Yuu]. The name, [Hagusa].
(Official English translation)

In addition to their regular ability to become a vessel, these shinki are able to transform into an ayakashi-like state without stinging their master.[12] As such, naming a shinki using the Word has been shown to reverse the deleterious effects of sin-caused blight.[11] In concordance with this, Ebisu's attempts to name ayakashi without the use of the Word resulted in his repeated corruption and frequent reincarnations.[13][14]

Shinki named with the Word

  • (みずち) Mizuchi / () () Chiki - A monk's staff capable of cracking a shinki's name, exposing the God's Greatest Secret. As an ayakashi: an aquatic, serpentine creature with the face of a fetus.[12]
  • (はぐさ) Hagusa / (ゆう) () Yūki - A staff with a twisted blade end, which is capable of influencing or entrapping others through its Goodness Net. As an ayakashi: a wolf-like, humanoid form.[15]

Human Possession

The Crafter can command masked ayakashi to possess a human, thus leaving the human under the Crafter's control.[7][8] However, it is unspecified whether this ability is specific to the second Word in Father's possession, or if he was simply unaware of this ability while he was wielding the earlier version of the Word.

Known Users

References

  1. Chapter 98: Natural Law (Vol 25)
  2. Chapter 30: The Sound of Thread Snapping (Vol 8)
  3. Chapter 32: She Who Invites (Vol 9)
  4. Chapter 37: The Sound of You Calling My Name (Vol 10)
  5. Chapter 93: Objective (Vol 24)
  6. Chapter 89: Echoes of the Word (Vol 23)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Chapter 40: We Not-So-Humbly Pray (Vol 11)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Chapter 45: Transpired Transgressions (Vol 12)
  9. Chapter 24: Always (Vol 7)
  10. Chapter 37: The Sound of You Calling My Name (Vol 10)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Chapter 84: Stray (Vol 22)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Chapter 85: Missing You (Vol 22)
  13. Chapter 29: The Affairs of Three Realms (Vol 8)
  14. Chapter 73: If You Hear A Scream (Vol 19)
  15. Chapter 88: Reasons (Vol 23)
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