Saitou Hajime played by, Patrick Hayes.
Harada Sanosuke by, Nat Susavee
A time travel to Bakumatsu Japan…
Within seconds, Emmi began coughing. She flailed her arms and legs, swatting a blanket from her face.
Her brain took its own sweet time processing the Japanese words someone called out. “Calm down. You’re safe now. You’re safe.”
Coughing, she sat up and scrambled to her knees as much as the cumbersome layers of clothing and the blanket covering her would allow. She bent forward taking in large gasping breaths, hacking to expel the smoky air from her lungs.
“Daijoubu desu ka? Daijoubu desu ka, oni?”
Was she a demon? What the hell kind of question was that?
Still kneeling, Emmi straightened and swiped her tousled hair from her eyes. She then turned to look over her shoulder. Had her mother sent some distant relative to watch over her and taunt her with the demon epithet in her stead?
“Are you a demon?” the man kneeling before her asked again.
Emmi blinked and wiped her eyes; they still stung from the smoke. She glared at her supposed rescuer. “Yes, I’m alright and I’m not a demon, you idiot.”
She looked around. This did not look like the sound stage. Where was the storm? Why were there no firefighters or paramedics?
Where on Earth was she?
Emmi looked back at the confused man. He was around her age and seemed rather familiar somehow.
“What?” she asked in answer to the very same question from him.
“Nani? Nan desu ka, oni?” he repeated.
“Look, I know I should be grateful to you and all, but…”
She broke off as his look of bewilderment grew. She closed her eyes a moment. She hadn’t carried on any long conversations in Japanese since she’d last seen her grandparents at the funeral. In fact, that hadn’t been quite normal since a lot of the time they chose to use the old, classical Japanese……which was exactly what this guy was speaking.
She spoke to him slowly in Japanese, hoping he’d get it straight that she was not a demon and that she was indeed all right.
“What is i-di-ot?”
Emmi coughed and wondered if coughing more might distract him from wanting to know what idiot meant. However, when he repeated the question, she knew that wasn’t much of an option. She looked at him and translated ‘idiot’ as best she could.
She gave a start when the look of bewilderment, which she thought might be his natural expression, turned to one of fury.
When he jumped to his feet and grabbed the katana lying on the floor a few feet away, Emmi knew without a doubt that he was not holding any movie prop.
It didn’t look like any unsharpened practice or prop swords she’d ever seen, but it did look exactly like the antique sword her father had owned. She knew without a doubt that this katana was very much the same, very real and very deadly.
She looked around the room again. Why wasn’t she in the same room? Why wasn’t it a shambles? Where were the security people or the paramedics, the police, and the firefighters? Where the hell was she?
Before she could figure it out, the man ordered her to stand. She knew that to refuse would not be wise–even if he insisted on calling her a demon.
He pointed the katana at her. “Go back to where you came from, demon. Now!” he ordered in Japanese, pointing the blade to the mirror lying face down on the floor near a small lacquered cabinet.
Emmi ran forward, fell to her knees and picked it up, making sure it was unharmed.
It was her mirror, but it was different. It looked newer, shinier, and while it had a dent on the right side, the other nicks and dents were missing from the base. Where did the cloth tacked onto the back come from?
“Go back inside, demon! You will not have my soul! Not now or ever!”
“Wha–?” Emmi’s voice died the instant she turned. The man had the tip of his katana a fraction away from the base of her throat.
“Go back inside to where you came from.”
What was happening?
Was she dead and in some kind of hell for causing the accident that killed her father?
Was she unconscious and having some freakish dream?
“Go back now, demon!”
Shaking in fear, Emmi blinked back the tears that formed in her eyes and prayed she wasn’t screwing up any old Japanese pronunciations. The last thing she wanted was to say something wrong, something that would push this guy over the edge.
“I’m not a demon. I swear I’m not. I don’t know how I got here. I was caught in a storm at a place I was working. The wall fell on me. There was a fire. That’s all I remember. I’m not a demon. I swear I’m not. My name is Emiko. Maeda Emiko.”
“Maeda?” he asked.
“Yes. My family comes from Kanaz–the Kaga han,” she added.
His eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Then how did you come to be in the mirror? If you are human, and truly a Maeda, what did you do to disgrace yourself? Why would your family send you here to Shimabara to be a whore?”
He pointed the tip of the sword to her throat.
“Prove to me that you are human.”
Emmi licked her dry lips and tried not to flinch. “How do I prove I’m human? Maybe by dying if you stab me?”
“Perhaps,” he said flatly.
|Secretarytocapt3: manga cover|
|Anne Cain: Saitou Hajime|
|Aishiterukouji: New uniform design|
|Bait: New uniform design|
|Claudia: Okita Soujiro|
|Claudia: Rurouni Kenshin Characters|
|Secretarytocapt3: Fujita Goro in Seinan War|
|Secretarytocapt3: Hijikata Toshizo|
|Tohlee: If Itou Kashitaro had a daughter…|
|Secretarytocapt3: spoof Mr & Mrs Smith|
|Secretarytocapt3: spoof Myspace|
|Secretarytocapt3: Peacemaker Saitou|
|Bait: spoof Red Bull|
|S-girl: Kondou Isami & Hijikata Toshizou|
|Saitohworship: New uniform design|
|Secretarytocapt3: Saitou in 47 Ronin Costume|
|Secretarytocapt3: Spoof Gatorade|
|Secretarytocapt3: Spoof Shinsenschool|
|Secretarytocapt3: Saitou w/ Tattoos|
|Secretarytocapt3: Saitou Hajime|
|Secretarytocapt3: Nakano Takeko|
|Tohlee: Peacemaker Kurogane Tetsu & Saizou|
|Secretarytocapt3: spoof The Bachelor|
|Secretarytocapt3: Takagi Tokio and Yamamoto Yae|
|Artist name lost: If Todou Heisuke had a daughter…|
|Tohlee: NHK Shinsengumi! Chibi Saitou|
|Tohlee: NHK Shinsengumi!|
|Tohlee: NHK Shinsengumi! Takeda Kanryuusai|
|Artist name lost: Yamazaki Susumu’s Challenge|
All photographs are the property of Sarah
Interview With Sarah
I had asked Sarah if she read Professors Wright’s outstanding article Wright, Diana E. “Female Combatants and Japan’s Meiji Restoration: the case of Aizu” War in History 2001 v. 8 (4) pages 396-417 which was the basis for the Women’s Brigade website. Before finding this wonderful article many members of this website and mailing list had only heard of Takagi Tokio as the assistant or secretary to Aizu’s Teruhime. On page 413 of the article Tokio is mentioned as forming a bodyguard unit for Teruhime and Matsudaira Katamori’s two other wives. So we were all surprised that Sarah had chosen a more “warrior” theme for Tokio even prior to reading this article which added a new never before known dimension to Tokio.
Sarah “Anyway! Yeah, when I found out that the women of Aizu also fought I thought, “How cool would it be if Tokio had been one of those women?!” Hehe, good guess, eh?”
#1, How did you encounter the Shinsengumi?
Like many people, I’m sure, I first learned about the Shinsengumi through the anime Rurouni Kenshin. I started watching the series in 2000, I believe, and I quickly became obsessed with Saitou. After a little research I learned about the super-cool Shinsengumi. I guess a lot of new information has come up since then, and it’s amazing to me that I knew as little as I did about them when I got my first tattoo, my Shinsengumi flag. It was a spur of the moment decision, to be honest, but I’ve never regretted it.
#2, How long did it take for you to have the artist complete the tattoo? And was it painful?
The first one (the flag) took about 45 minutes, and oddly enough, I don’t remember it being that bad. I’ve had it touched up twice, and both times it hurt a lot more than I remember it hurting the first time.
Tokio took two sessions, one for the outline and the shading, and one for the color. Again, I don’t remember the first session hurting that much, but when I had her colored in it was pretty painful. The odd thing is that after a while, despite the pain, I started to get drowsy (my artist had me lie on my stomach) and I had a hard time getting up when he was done!
#3. How did you explain your intent to your artist or what did you use him/her to use as a guide?
The flag was taken directly out of the Rurouni Kenshin manga. I found Tokio when I did a google image search for “naginata.” Sometimes I have random tattoo inspiration, and the second I saw the ukiyo-e of a young woman with a naginata, I knew she was my next tattoo. I took it to an artist friend of mine to draw an outline, and my tattoo artist went from there. The color scheme was my own decision, since in the original her kimono was black and I like very colorful tattoos.
#4. How did you decide on the design—are there personal motivations and what will this tattoo mean to you?
The first one, as I said, was a spur of the moment thing. My sister was getting a tattoo, and I refused to let her go without me. So I grabbed my manga and we went.
Tokio was slightly redesigned for me by my friend, but I basically went with the original. When inspiration hits, I go with it. Being a feminist, Tokio sort of represents feminine strength. No matter what kind of girl you are, I think it’s important to be able to kick some ass when the need arises!
#5. Many people harbor negative stereotypes against people who have
tattoos. If you meet these people, how do you explain the subject of your tattoo to them?
I don’t usually. =p
I like them, so I don’t really feel the need to justify them to anyone. But if I had to, I suppose I’d say that they represent strength to me, and most importantly the importance of sticking to your beliefs and what you think is right, no matter what the consequences. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, as long as you do what’s right.
All photographs are the property of Laura
All photographs are the property of Natohi
All photographs are the property of Wolverinesg7.
Interview With Wolverinesg7
Ques #1 “How did you encounter the Shinsengumi?”
I had a friend in Japan who would help me get information about the 47 ronin. She told me about the Shinsengumi.Then I asked my Sensei and he told me that those men wheir legends, true Samurais. When I got home I did a google search and came across the SHQ web site and never looked back. So in terms its all your fault..
Ques #2 “How long did it take for you to have the artist complete the
tattoo? And was it painful?”
I had got my shoulder blade done first that took 7hrs. Then when it healed I went to another artist and this on took three sessions.
Ques #3 “How did you explain your intent to your artist or what did you
show to him/her to use as a guide?”
Well first I told my artist about my love for Japan, Samurai, and Shinsengumi so he can get a feeling of where I’m coming from. I printed photos from the site as a guide.
Ques #4 “How did you decide on the design—are there personal
motivations and what will this tattoo mean to you?”
This is my deication to all Shinsengumi members who fought like true Samurais and showing the world the true meaning of honor, duty, and loyalty. Thats what I look up to and thats what motivates me.
Ques #5 “Many people harbor negative stereotypes against people who
have tattoos. If you meet these people, how do you explain the subject of
your tattoo to them?”
That every tattoo has a symbolic meaning. May it be one letter or one line, I bet they still have a story behind them.