Tsuyu (梅雨) is the spirit of a plum tree who lived with Tenjin for 1,000 years. She's not a shinki, but rather stayed with Tenjin out of a lasting love. Because she is a tree spirit, she is able to communicate with other trees. She was sacrificed during a covenant of Heaven to save Yato and Yukine, among other things, but was later revived by Amaterasu when the covenant found Heaven to be in the wrong.
Being a spirit, Tsuyu has what seems to be an eternally youthful appearance. She has long straight black hair and bangs that hanged over her forehead. Her bangs revealed a red forehead decoration, or huadian that she wears in the shape of a plum blossom. Tsuyu's eyes are colored purple and her lips were colored red.
Despite her unique circumstances and relation to Tenjin, Tsuyu is dressed in a red hakama over a white kimono - the same miko garbs Tenjin's shinki wear.
Because she didn't have human emotions, Tsuyu was always calm and level-headed. She is loyal and protective of Tenjin, remaining by his side even during his violent early years. Her manner of speech is very old-fashioned and poetic-like.
In Japanese Lore
Tsuyu was based on the legend of Tobiume ("The Flying Plum"). It is said that after Sugawara no Michizane was exiled from Kyoto, he yearned so much for his plum tree that it uprooted itself and flew to his shrine at Dazaifu Tenmangu, where it has remained for 1,000 years. It sits at the right hand of the main shrine and is always the first to bloom.
Tenjin: Not only did she love him, but she served as a protector to his shrine through the centuries they spent together. In the manga, she defended the shrine from an Ayakashi that had sneaked its way in by using a human child as its vessel. Tenjin also showed distraught as he had to wager her life to save Yato. He has shown great sadness over her death. After the covenant found Heaven to be in the wrong, he was overjoyed to see that she revived.
Sakura: She was one of Tenjin's Shinki before he revoked her name during a fit of madness. Despite the severed ties, Tsuyu was sympathetic and acted a sisterly figure to her. It's shown that both cared for each other, to the point that when Sakura ran away from Yaboku, Tsuyu is the one that gave her advice on guiding a God.
- The word Tsuyu (梅雨) as a compound word in Japanese refers to the country's rainy season, taking place from early June till mid-July.
- The kanji characters the word is comprised of are 梅 - "plum", and 雨 - "rain". This refers to how plum trees would ripen with fruit during the rainy season.
- Mei, Hua (2011). Chinese clothing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-521-18689-6. "For example, the Huadian or forehead decoration was said to have originated in the South Dynasty, when the Shouyang Princess was taking a walk in the palace in early spring and a light breeze brought a plum blossom onto her forehead. The plum blossom for some reason could not be washed off or removed in any way. Fortunately, it looked beautiful on her, and all of a sudden became all the rage among the girls of the commoners. It is therefore called the "Shouyang makeup" or the "plum blossom makeup." This makeup was popular among the women for a long time in the Tang and Song Dynasties."