Return to Curiosities of Lotus Asia or Fiction by ZUN

彼方より降り注ぐ煌きに幻想郷の住人は何を想う… What do the residents of Gensoukyou think of the brilliance raining down from far away…?
最新単行本『東方求聞史記 ~Perfect Mement in Strict Sence』(一迅社)の発売も控える今回は、香霖堂を舞台に魔理沙と霊夢が流星群を観察するお話。単行本が待ちきれないファンのみんなも今回の『香霖堂』を読んで、宇宙の謎に思いを馳せてみてはいかが? This time, awaiting the release of the new tankoubon “Touhou Guumonshiki ~Perfect Memento in a Strict Sense” (Isshinsha), this is a story where Marisa and Reimu view a meteor shower at Kourindou. To all the fans that can’t wait for the tankoubon as well, why don’t we all read this issue’s “Kourindou” and think about the puzzles of space?
妖怪の見た宇宙 The Universe the Youkai Saw
「あ、二つ連続で落ちたぜ!」 "Ah! Two just fell in a row!"
「うん。後もう一つで十ね」 "Yeah, just one more to make ten."
灯を消した店内に二人の興奮した声が響き渡った。そろそろ丑三つ時――もう泣く子は黙る時間であるが、霊夢と魔理沙の二人は黙らなかった。 The excited voices of the two rang out inside the shop where the lights had been extinguished. Soon it’ll be midnight – It’s already time for crying children quiet down, but neither Reimu nor Marisa was.
店内は二人に占拠され、全ての灯を消されていた。僕は本を読む事も日記を書く事も出来ずに、窓から差し込む僅かな月明かりを頼りに二人の元へ移動した。 The inside of the shop was occupied by those two and all of the lights were out. I, unable to read a book or write in my journal, moved over to where they were, relying on the little bit of moonlight coming in from the window.
「本当に二人は仕様が無いな、もう十分だろう。こういった『流星群』も珍しい物じゃないし……」 “Really, I don’t know what to do with you two – haven’t you had enough? These so called “meteor showers” aren’t exactly rare you know…”
「何を言うんだよ。香霖が言ったんだろう? 今夜の流星は凄いって、きっと百以上は落ちるって」 “What are you talking about? You said it yourself didn’t you? ‘Tonight the meteors will be amazing’, ‘I’m sure more than a hundred will fall.’"
「確かに百くらいは落ちると思うが……まさか全部見るつもりか?」 “I really do think about a hundred will fall… you don’t mean to watch all of them do you?”
「ああ勿論だ。願い事を百以上用意してきたからな」 “Well of course. I came prepared with over a hundred wishes.”
――昼間の香霖堂店内。 --At noon inside Kourindou.
霊夢と魔理沙の二人の流星鑑賞に付き合うきっかけになった日の事である。 The day when both Reimu and Marisa had the chance to appreciate the meteor shower.
僕は新しく入荷した不思議に品物を、机の上に置いて眺めていた。新しく入荷したと言ってもその品物自体は古く、全体的に薄汚れていた。金属で出来ている部分はあちこち錆びている所もある。 I was had placed a newly acquired mysterious item on top of my desk and was staring at it. I say it was a newly acquired item, but the item itself was old and a bit dirty. The parts made of metal had spots of rust here and there as well.
その品物は、大きめな西瓜程度の球と、それを支える四本の足で構成されていた。球は金属で出来ているのだが、かなり異様な形をしている。定規の様な細い金属を曲げて繋げた輪が幾つか組み合わさり、まるで竹で出来た毬を彷彿させるような、すかすかの球体だった。さらにそれらの金属の輪は、一つ一つ自由に回転出来る物と、足に固定されて動かない物がある。 That item was made up of a ball the size of a large watermelon and four foot supports. The ball was made of metal, but it had a very odd shape. There were a number of thin rings shaped from metal and connected together that looked like they were used for measurement; they formed a sphere that air could easily pass through, like a throwing ball made out of bamboo. Furthermore each of the metal rings could turn freely while the legs kept the whole thing in place.
残念ながら幾つかの金属の輪は錆びついている所もあり、滑らかに回転できなかった。このままでは商品にはならないので、何とか自分の手で再生しようと考えていた。 Unfortunately a few of the metal rings were rusted, and didn’t turn very smoothly. Like this it wouldn’t make for proper merchandise, so I had thought I’d somehow try to fix it myself.
「何だ? このスカスカの変な地球儀は」 “What’s with this weird hole-y globe?”
「これは地球儀ではないよ、魔理沙。で、何時の間に店に来てたんだい?」 “This isn’t a globe, Marisa. And – when did you come in?”
「地球に穴が空いたのかと思ったぜ」 “I thought maybe a hole had opened up in the planet.”
魔理沙は、地球儀でなけりゃ一体なんだい? と訊いてきた。 Marisa asked if it wasn’t a globe then just what was it?
地球儀とは、文字通り地球の模型である。幻想郷に居る人間は自分の住む星の事を殆ど知らない。何故なら幻想郷は、地球の中の極一部である日本の、さらに極一部の山奥に存在し、そこから出る事は出来ないのである。 A globe is, just as the characters suggest, a model of earth. The humans living in Gensoukyou don’t know much about the planet they live on. If you must ask why, Gensoukyou is in the mountains of a small part of Japan, itself a small part of the world – plus, it’s not a place you can easily leave.
だが、外の情報や道具が入ってこない訳ではない。地球儀も外の世界から流れ込んできた道具の一つで、これにより我々は自分の住む地球を知る事が出来る。知識としてかなり細かい所まで知っているが、幻想郷の人間にとって自分の住んでいる大地と、知識の地球がいまいち結び付いていない。たとえ地球に穴が空いたと言っても、容易に信じてしまうだろう。 That said, it’s not like information or tools never get in. A globe is one of the various tools that have washed in from the outside world, and so we’ve been able to learn about the earth we live on. Speaking strictly “knowledge” we know it down to the finest detail, but for the human residents of Gensoukyou the land they live in isn’t quite connected with the knowledgeable world. For example if you were to say that a hole opened up in the earth, they would easily believe you.
だが、地球儀に見えるこの道具は消して地球儀ではない。地球と同じく、幻想郷にも常に近くにあるのに、詳しく判っていない物を測る道具である。 Still, though this tool looks like a globe it is certainly not. It is a tool to measure objects like the earth, that though are always close to even Gensoukyou, we still don’t know much about.
「これは、『渾天儀』と言う道具だ。地球儀が地球を知る道具なら、渾天儀は宇宙を知る道具だよ」 “This is a tool called an ‘armillary sphere ’[1]. If a globe is a tool used to provide information about the earth, an armillary sphere is used to provide information about space.”
渾天儀とは、非常に複雑な道具でありながら、ただ星の位置を測定するだけの物である。 While an armillary sphere is an unusually complicated tool, all it is used for is to measure the position of the stars.
しかしその複雑さには訳がある。星はただ浮かんでいるだけに見えるが、その位置を正確に測定するのは難しい。定規を当てることも出来ないし、遠くに見える地面だって山があったり森があったりと高さがまちまちである。夜空に方眼紙の様に線が引かれていたり、動かなくて基準となる星が沢山あれば簡単なのだが、当然そんな訳も無い。手の届かない位置にあり、近くに基準となる物も存在しない☆母子の位置の観測は、昔から多くの天文学者を悩ましてきたのだ。それを解決させる為に、渾天儀は複雑な道具に成らざるを得なかったのだ。 However, there’s a reason for this complexity. Though it appears that the stars are just floating in the sky, correctly measuring their position is difficult. It’s not something you can measure absolutely, like how the ground you see from far away has mountains and forests giving varying degrees of height. In the night sky there are lines drawn like on graph paper, and there are many fundamental-like stars that don’t move and are simpler to calculate, but even those aren’t set in stone. Their positions are unreachable, and observing stars that exist apart from the fundamental model has long troubled many astronomers. In order to resolve that problem, the armillary sphere couldn’t have been made without being complicated.
「どうやって使うんだよ。これは」 “So how do you use this thing?”
「うーん……それは、これから調べるよ」 “Well… that’s what I’m investigating now.”
「あ、香霖も判らないのか。そりゃそうだろうな、いつもの事だし」 “Ah, so you don’t know either? Well of course, that’s the way it always is.”
微妙に馬鹿にされた気分だが、事実だから仕方がない。 I felt I was being made fun of, but well what she said is true, so there’s no helping it.
「いや、使い方は想像付くんだ。真ん中の筒で星を見つつ、この回転する球を星に合わせてここに書いてある目盛りか何かを読み取るんだろう……おや?」 “Well, this is how I imagine you’d use it. While looking at a star through this tube in the middle, you match up the turning ball with the star, and take a reading from the scale or something written here … Hmm?”
僕は、この道具に奇妙な文字が書かれている事に気付いた。目盛りか何かだと思ったのだが、単純な数値とかではない。この奇妙な文字は、この渾天儀の用途を大きく変化させる可能性がある物だ。 I just realized that there were strange letters written on this tool. What I thought was ‘a scale or something’ wasn’t a simple numbered system. There’s a possibility that these strange symbols broaden the usefulness of the armillary sphere.
「どうした? その輪っかに何か書いてあるのか?」 “What? Is there something on that ring or something?”
「ふむ、書いてあるな。僕はこの道具はてっきり外の世界の物だと思い込んでいたが……ここに書かれている文字はそれを覆す物かも知れない」 “Hmm, there certainly is. I thought for sure that this tool was something from the outside world but… the characters written here could overturn that idea.
「どれどれ、見せてみ? ふむふむ、読めないぜ」 “Where, where? Can I see? Hmm… I can’t read it.”
「早いね」 “Well, that was fast.”
渾天儀に書かれた奇妙な文字とは、星座の名前だったのだ。 The strange symbols written on the armillary sphere were the names of the constellations.
「ここに書かれているのは……雪入道座、火炎婆座、芭蕉精座……。どうやら星座の名前だと思う」 “Written here is… yuki-nyuudou constellation, kaenba constellation, bashou-no-sei[2] constellation… At any rate they’re names of constellations.”
「なんだいその星座は、えらくマニアックな星座ばかりだな」 “What’s with those constellations? They’re all awfully maniacal constellations aren’t they?”
「そんな単純な問題ではない。そんな星座は聞いた事も無いよ。まぁ、確かに極端にマニアックな名前の星座を書き連ねただけに過ぎないのかも知れない。それもおかしな話だし、たとえそうだとしてもこれらの星座の名前……」 “It’s not that simple of a problem. I haven’t heard of those constellations either. Well it’s probably just that a number of constellations with extremely maniacal names were written together. Well that would be funny, but even if that was the case, these constellation names…”
手の目座、釣瓶落とし座、大天狗座……。 “Te-no-me” constellation, “Tsurube-otoshi” constellation, “Great Tengu”[3] constellation …
「どれもこれも全て、日本の妖怪の名前じゃないか」 “Isn’t every single one of them the name of a Japanese youkai?”
我々――幻想郷の人間に限らず恐らく外の人間も同じだと思うが、知っている星座とは殆ど大陸から来た星座である。これは幻想郷が外の世界と隔絶する前から使っていた歴史の有る代物だ。 The constellations we know ― well I don’t think this is limited to the humans of Gensoukyou; it’s probably the same for the humans from the outside ― mostly came from the continent. They were historical things that were used before Gensoukyou separated from the outside world.
それ故に、日本古来の星座と言う物もある事はあるのだが、今でも残っている物は少ない。日本はどちらかというと、星の結びつきより星単体に名前を付け、それを崇めたからである……と、ずっと思っていたのだが、この渾天儀を見てからその考えも改めないといけないかも知れない。何故なら、日本の妖怪の名前の付いた星座が大陸からやってくる事は考え難い。日本で名付けられた星座がこんなに大量に存在するとすれば、日本独自の天文技術もかなり進化していてもおかしくない……のだが。 Furthermore, though there are still some constellations originally from ancient Japan, there are few remaining now. The Japanese ones were simply stars themselves rather than the interconnecting lines between them, and were given names and worshipped – well at least that’s what I’ve always thought. After looking at this armillary sphere I’ll probably have to rethink my assessment. It’s hard to think that constellations with the names of Japanese youkai would have come over from the continent. If this many constellations named in Japan exist, it wouldn’t be strange to think that Japanese astronomy has advanced a lot…
「しかし……妖怪の名前しかないな。日本独自の天文技術だとしたら、もっと神様の名前や、英雄の名前を付けても良い筈なのに。だとすると、日本独自と言うよりは……。この天球儀はひょっとして外の世界の道具ではなくて――」 “However… all of them are youkai names. If this was the work of Japanese astronomy they should have used more names of gods or heroes. If you think of it that way, rather than Japanese astronomy… Is it possible that this armillary sphere is not a tool of the outside world but –”
妖怪の渾天儀かもしれない。何千年も生き続けて来た妖怪達だ、自分達独自の天文知識を持っていても可笑しくない。妖怪達は人間が作った技術を馬鹿にする事が多い。天文学も人間の天文学を使わずに自分達で構築したのだろうか。もしくは、人間が使っている天文学は実は妖怪が考えた学問、という事すら考えられる。 This is probably a youkai armillary sphere. Youkai have continued living for thousands of years, so it wouldn’t be strange if they had their own astronomical knowledge. There are many youkai that make fun of practices made by humans. With astronomy as well they must have created their own instead of using the astronomy of the humans. It’s possible even to think that astronomy used by humans is in fact a field of study thought up by youkai.
と言うのも、妖怪は千年以上も昔に月に行った事もあると言い伝えられている。その頃の人間と言えば、まだ星の意味も月の意味も判らなかった筈だ。それだけ妖怪の天文技術は優れていたのである。 Additionally, it is said that over a thousand years in the past youkai travelled to the moon. At that time humans wouldn’t have yet known the meaning of the moon or stars. For that reason alone youkai astronomy must have been excellent.
満月の日には妖怪達の宴が行われたり、新月になると妖怪が大人しくなったり、妖怪にとって月は重要な天体の一つである。妖怪が月の研究を進めていた事は容易に想像できる。 Holding festivals on days when the moon is full and calming down when the new moon comes, for youkai, the moon is an important celestial body. It’s easy to imagine that youkai study of the moon has greatly advanced.
しかし、この渾天儀に書かれた妖怪の星座の名前は、妖怪の研究が月だけでは無く、数多の星々まで幅広い物であった事を示唆している。 However, the youkai names of constellations on this armillary sphere suggest that not only is their study of the moon, but also the stars very extensive.
例えば、天の川は鬼神の河であり、そこから鬼の酒が地上に流れ込むとされている。河の近くで力強く輝くオリオン座の三つ星は、妖怪の伊吹童子座と呼ばれ、伊吹童子の三つの力――即ち、調和と有限、そして無限を示しているらしい。 For example, the Milky Way is called the Oni’s River, and there the sake of oni flows above the ground. Close to the river the powerfully bright Orion’s belt is called by youkai the Ibuki-doujii[4] constellation and indicates the Ibuki-douji’s three powers of harmony, finite, and infinite.
惑星はその明るさと不定な動きから、天狗の星と呼ばれる。あっちこっちをふらふらと動き、妖怪の輪を乱す存在とも読み取れる。 Because of planets’ brightness and inconsistent movement they are called tengu stars. They move here and there and can be read as an existence that disrupts the youkai rings.
妖怪の星座には、なんと彗星の記述もある。しかも彗星の周期まで調べられているのだ。妖怪は永く生きられる為、人間より調査が容易いと言う事もあるだろう。彗星は、妖怪の星座では忌星と呼ばれ、妖怪の社会を脅かす縁起の悪い物らしい。 Within the youkai constellations, comets are also defined. Even the circuit phases of the comets have been researched. Since youkai can live for a long time, you can say it’s easier for them to investigate it than humans. Comets are called detested or condemned stars because they are apparently bad omens that threaten youkai society.
また、一際大きな文字で書かれているのは天龍座である。これは所謂北斗七星の事だ。天龍は常にある一点を見つめており、いつか飛び出そうとしていると言う。その一点にある星、それが北極星である。 The one written with the largest characters is the celestial dragon constellation. This is the so-called big dipper. The celestial dragon always stares at one point, and looks as if it might at anytime fly. The star at the point is Polaris, the north star.
妖怪の星座では北極星は不動の星、つまり不動尊の夜の顔であり、不動尊――大日如来の化身だそうだ。大日如来は、言う迄も無く妖怪の力を無力化する太陽の権現であるが、夜の世界でも妖怪の百鬼夜行を暴走しないように、北極星となって食い止めていると言うのだ。天龍はいつかその不動尊――北極星を食べて、昼の天も夜の天も支配してしまおうと企んでいるらしい。記述によると、数千年の後に天龍は動き出し、その時妖怪の社会も大きく変化する、と予言されている。数千年後の話とは言え、妖怪の先見性は人間のそれとは比べ物にならないから、気になる記述ではあるが……。 In youkai constellations Polaris is the “unmoving star”. Basically, it is the face of the unmoving lord of night, the unmoving lord, an embodiment of Mahavairocana . Though it goes without saying, Mahavairocana[5] is an avatar of the sun that renders youkai powers void. In the night world he is said to become Polaris and eat youkai power in order to prevent their festivals from getting out of hand. It is said that the celestial dragon is plotting to eat the unmoving lord to control the sky day and night. According to records, it is prophesized that after a few thousand years the celestial dragon will move, and then youkai society will also grow. Though it’s something to occur a thousand years later, youkai foresight is incomparable to humans’, so this may be troubling.
「ところで、そんなに詳しく説明して戴いて無駄な時間の事この上無いが、一つ聞きたい事がある。この道具で星の位置と妖怪の星座を知る事が出来るのは判ったが、アレはどうなんだ? 夜空の主役の……」 “Anyway, getting such a detailed explanation is a complete waste of time, but I have something I’d like to ask. I know that with this tool you can find the position of the stars and know the youkai constellations, but what about that? The ‘lead role of the night sky’…”
「夜空の主役? 月の事か? そりゃ月の位置も同様に測れるだろう」 “The lead role of the night sky? Isn’t that the moon? So then you should be able to calculate the position of the moon as well.”
月は妖怪にとっても重要な天体である。夜空の主役は月に間違いないだろう。 To youkai the moon is a very important celestial body, the leading role of the night sky would have to be the moon.
「違うぜ。月じゃなくて……」 “No, It’s not the moon…”
「月の他に主役を張れる天体があるのかい?」 “Is there some celestial body other than the moon worthy of the leading role?”
「アレだ、一瞬で流れて消える一番目立つ星だ」 Those, the stars that flow down disappearing in an instant, the stars that stand out the most.”
「一瞬で……もしかして流れ星の事かい?」 “In an instant… do you mean shooting stars?”
「ああ、そうだ。星の中では流れ星が一番好きだな。ついでに願い事も叶うし」 “Ah, that’s right. Out of all the stars shooting stars are the ones I like the best. They grant your wishes too.”
なるほど流れ星か……派手な物が好きな魔理沙らしい。だがアレは違う、アレは天体ではない。 Ah, I see, shooting stars… liking flashy things is very like Marisa. But that is different, those aren’t celestial bodies.
「流れ星は星ではないよ」 “Shooting stars aren’t stars, you know.”
「流れ星だろ? 星じゃないか」 “It’s a shooting star, right? Isn’t it a star?”
「流れ星とは……天を翔る龍、天龍の鱗がはがれ落ち、光り輝いた物だ。だからこの道具では位置を調べる事は出来ないよ」 “Shooting stars are… scales from the celestial dragon who flies through the heavens, that sparkle when they fall off. So this tool can’t find their position.”
「ふーん、まぁ動くからな。測れないと思ったが、残念だ」 “Hmm, well it’s because they move. I thought it wouldn’t be able to measure it, but still that’s too bad.”
「どうして残念なんだい?」 “Why is it ‘too bad’?”
「何時流れるか判れば願い事も叶い放題だからな。他の星の研究する暇があるのなら、流れ星の研究をした方が良い」 “If you could know what time they fell you could have as many wishes granted as you wanted. If you have enough free time to study other stars you should study shooting stars instead.”
「暇だから研究している訳じゃないと思うけど……。まぁ確かに、流れ星はいつ落ちるか判らない。だが確実に見る方法は知っているよ」 “It’s not like they were studying them because they had free time… Well certainly you can’t tell when shooting stars will fall. However, I know a way to certainly see some.”
「なんだって? それは本当か? なら教えてくれ」 “What did you say? Is that true? If so, tell me!”
「一年に何度か、流れ星が大量に降り注ぐ日があるんだ、その日に見れば一日で十……いや、百の流れ星を見る事が出来るだろう」 “A few times a year on certain days a large amount of shooting stars pour from the sky, if you look then, during a single day you can probably see ten… no, a hundred shooting stars.”
――そうして、僕は魔理沙に流星群が見られる日を教えると、早速その日に魔理沙は霊夢を連れてうちで流星群の鑑賞会を行う事になったのだ。 ––So, I told Marisa one of the days that you can see a meteor shower, and immediately on that day Marisa brought along Reimu and we had a sort of meteor shower viewing party.
どれぐらい経っただろうか。二人は十五個目の流れ星を数えていた。 I wonder how much time has passed. The two counted the fifteenth shooting star.
「凄いぜ! 本当に百個くらい降りそうだな」 “This is amazing! It really looks like about a hundred will fall!”
「そろそろ疲れてきたわね」 “I’m starting to feel a bit tired.”
そんな事は無い、と言って、魔理沙はさらに窓の外の天体ショーに食いついた。 After saying Reimu shouldn’t be, Marisa went further outside the window to take in the astronomical show.
「あ、十六個目。えーと、呪い呪い呪い」霊夢は呟いた。 “Ah, the sixteenth one. Um, curse-curse-curse,” Reimu whispered.
「なんだそれは」 “What’s with that?”
「流れ星が落ちてくる間に願い事を三回なんて、殆ど無理じゃない。だから願い事を出来るだけ圧縮してみたの」 “Saying a wish three times before a shooting star hits the ground is pretty impossible isn’t it? So I tried shortening my wish as much as possible.”
「圧縮し過ぎだぜ。つーか、どういう願い事なんだか……」 “You shortened it too much. By the way, what sort of wish was that?”
「呪術系の願い事よ。魔理沙はどういう事をお願いしているの?」 “A wish related to curses. What are you wishing for?”
「ああ、もっと力強い魔法が使いたいぜって」 “Ah, ‘I want to use stronger magic’.”
百の流れ星を見ると意気込んでいた二人だったが、流れ星が落ちない空きの時間がちょっとだけ長く続いた後、流れ星の数がよく分からなくなってしまい、その内疲れて二人は寝てしまった。そうして、第一回流星祈願会は幕を閉じたのである。 Both of them were excited about seeing a hundred shooting stars, but as the time between them continued to get a little longer, they ended up losing count, got tired and fell asleep. The curtain had closed on the first shooting star wishing party.
――それから四、五年後の現代。 ––Present day, four or five years later.
僕は思い出の渾天儀を眺めていた。あれから流星祈願会も毎年恒例となり、もう数回行われている。 I stared at the memorable armillary sphere. From then on the shooting star wishing party became a yearly tradition, and we’ve already had quite a few of them.
思えば、第一回の流星祈願会から、魔理沙は星に因んだ魔法を使うようになった気がする。今では魔法の流星と言えば、魔理沙の一番のお得意技だ。さらに、毎年のように流星群の日付を訊きに来ては、一人でも流星を見ているらしい。 When I think about it, I get the feeling that ever since the first shooting star wishing party Marisa started to use star-like magic. Now when it comes to magic shooting stars, it’s Marisa’s number one specialty. Plus, every year she comes asking for the dates of the meteor showers and I hear she’ll watch them by herself.
魔理沙は天龍に魅入られたのだろうか。それとも、願い事が叶ったのだろうか。 I wonder if Marisa was enchanted by the celestial dragon, and I wonder if her wishes were granted.
同じ動きをする星々に逆らい、大きく強く光ってはすぐに消える。時には隕石となって地上まで届き、甚大な被害をもたらす力強さも持つ。そんな流星に何を見ているのだろうか。 The polar opposite of the static movements of the stars, big, strong, bright, and immediately disappearing. Every now and then they’ll become “meteorites” that reach the earth, and hold a power capable of dealing incredible damage. I wonder what people see in that kind of shooting stars.
「おー、妖怪の渾天儀か。懐かしいな、まだ持っていたのか」 “Oh, the youkai armillary sphere? That sure brings back memories. So you still had it all this time?”
「ああ、久々に取り出して眺めていた……って、何時の間に店に来てたんだい?」 “Yeah, I took it out for the first time in a while and was looking at it. … When did you come in?”
「香霖が夢中になっていて、私が入ってきたのに気付かなかっただけだぜ」 “You were just daydreaming and didn’t notice me.”
「ちょっと昔を思い出してね……ん!?」 “I was just reminiscing a bit about the past…. Huh!?”
「どうした?」 “What is it?”
僕は渾天儀に書かれた妖怪の星座を読み取っていた。ここには様々な妖怪が書かれていたが、気になる妖怪の名前を見つけた。それは星座の名前ではなかったが、一際目立って見えた。 I just read the name of a youkai constellation written on the armillary sphere. There are various youkai written down, but I found one that particularly caught my attention. Well it wasn’t the name of a constellation, but it stood out the most.
「……いや何でもない」 “……Never mind, it’s nothing.”
「何でもありそうだな」 “It looked like it was.”
そうだった。千年以上も昔に月に行ったと言う言い伝えは、実は言い伝えでも何でもなく、妖怪本人の口から聞いた物だ。つまり、その妖怪はまだ幻想郷にいる。幻想郷にいて、未だに幻想郷を裏から牛耳っているのである。 And it was. The “saying” about youkai going to the moon over a thousand years ago isn’t really a saying, I heard it from the mouth of one of the youkai herself. In other words that youkai is still living in Gensoukyou. Still in Gensoukyou and still controlling things from behind the scenes.
この渾天儀に、その妖怪の名前が書いてあったのだ。しかも、製作者の名前として書かれていたのだ。 On this armillary sphere, that youkai’s name was written. Furthermore, it was written as the creator’s name.
「どれどれ? おおそこの文字なら何となく読めるぜ。『著作 八雲……紫』? げげ、渾天儀って、もしかしてあいつが作った道具だったのか?」 “Let me see, let me see. Oh if it’s those characters I should be able to read it. ‘Author, Yakumo……Yukari’? Really? Was this armillary sphere a tool that she made?
魔理沙は露骨に嫌な顔をしていたが、僕は妙に納得していた。何故なら、この文字が書かれていた所は星座の名前が書かれていた所である。それに、『制作』ではなく『著作』である。 Marisa was clearly annoyed, and strangely I knew why. The reason is that the place where those characters were written was in a place where a constellation name should be. Furthermore it wasn’t “maker” but “author”.
「なぁんだ。この道具ってあの厄介な妖怪が作った物じゃん。何だが面白くないな」 “So that’s it. So this is something made by that troublesome youkai. That’s pretty boring.”
「それだけ彼女は頭が良く、知識も豊富なんだよ。魔理沙も真摯な気持ちで、彼女から学んでみても良いかもね」 “At any rate she’s smart and has a lot of knowledge. If you were honest about it you probably would do well to learn from her.”
「やなこったい。それにこの道具を作った程度なら、対して頭が良いとは言えないじゃん」 “I don’t feel like it. Anyway if you’re talking about her that way because she made this, you can’t say that she’s really that smart.”
「君は謙虚さと推察力が足りないな」 “Your humility and guesswork isn’t enough is it?”
八雲紫はこの渾天儀を作った妖怪、と言う意味ではない。恐らく渾天儀に書かれた妖怪の星座の著者、つまり、星座を作った物と言う意味だと思う。 This doesn’t mean that Yakumo Yukari is the youkai that made this armillary sphere. Most likely the she’s the author of the constellations written on the armillary sphere. In other words, I think she’s the one that made the constellations.
そんな人物が未だに活動している幻想郷。今まではるかに長い寿命を持つ妖怪の力を軽んじてみていたが、そう考えると薄ら寒い気持ちになった。 Gensoukyou, a place where these sorts of characters still bustle around. Until now I’ve looked down on the power youkai have to live very long lives, but now when I think of it that way, I feel a chill.

  1. Armillary sphere, also called a spherical astrolabe, a celestial globe.
  2. The names of the constellations are all based on names of youkai. “yuki-nyuudou” is a youkai from Okayama prefecture with one eye and a large foot. “kaenba” literally means flaming old woman, and "bashou-no-sei" the spirit of the bashou plant, which is of the banana family.
  3. Again all of these are youkai, Te-no-me means "hands with eyes", Tsurube-otoshi means "dropped from a well bucket", and a tengu is a bird like youkai often with a red face and long nose.
  4. Ibuki-douji is literally Ibuki child and is based on songs from Ooeyama, and refers to an oni-child. Ibuki Suika is based on the Ibuki-douji, and wears a belt.
  5. or "Dainichi-Nyorai", a figure in Japanese Buddhism

Curiosities of lotus asia 21 01

Curiosities of lotus asia 21 02

Curiosities of lotus asia 21 03

Curiosities of lotus asia 21 04

Original translation by kafkafuura.

Return to Curiosities of Lotus Asia or Fiction by ZUN

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