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Update 112: On Captains & Pin-Ups

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On 8/29/2018 at 10:56 PM, TwoHeavens said:

I think you're absolutely right that I've completely over thought this, but a lot of the fun parts about the fluff surrounding Victory Belles so far is the world building. No ship girl media outside of VB has been willing to address what the world sees a Belle as for the most part, because that's more depth that those media properties need or desire to follow. It's simply of no real benefit to them. Work out the background and small details in game might feel just a bit more natural for people playing. I mean this whole discussion started because I looked at a couple words of Japanese and went "Huh, that feels linguistically and culturally wrong" after all. I'd expect you and Khorn to make similar arguments over finer points of German linguistics and culture as applied to the game if something stuck out like that to you. 

It's also worth noting that housing an incarnate kami or avatar of the kami to their desires... not to tradition, would be considered of rather grave import. So I'd expect Japanese belles would have quarters if they so desired. Pissing a god off is generally not something most people want to do. Especially when that god has a battery of 41cm guns. 

I wonder if Voykov has quarters. Or if she sleeps. Or eats. A lot of the Belles we've met have been quite "human" in their behavior, Voykov has more in common with the Terminator. Be interesting if she allowed herself such "frivolous" things. We also haven't met a truly "inhuman" Belle either which also has interesting potential. 

 

A few more thoughts then, to add to your thought process...

Shimenawa are put around any suitably impressive object capable of attracting a kami such as boulders and trees (yorishiro). Since the hulls of INJ Belles have demonstrated themselves to clearly be capable of housing a kami (go-shintai), in theory the whole perimeter of any IJN Belle's ship should be festooned with them.

That would likely be impractical to do (even with hemp in place of rice straw) out to sea, but to add to a ship's dressing when coming to port?  That would depend on how much extra room said ship had to house the stuff: bigger ships could afford the room for heftier, more elaborate/impressive shimenawa.

Given that shimenawa delineate the border between the mundane world and the sacred dwelling of (one or more) kami, a practical alternative application might simply be at a ship's access ramp and gangplank - to remind all those going aboard that they are entering a sacred place.

...But that's just me.

I do think you've over-thought of the captain's title.  I would counter that a Belle ship is not a Mikoshi since there is nothing temporary about her residence in her hull.  The Belle-kami dwells in an object (warship) that just happens to be able to travel, rather than being in a temporary transport to take her to a permanent home or on a festival-long jaunt though the neighborhood.

Possibly a better term for a ship with a Belle would be Mitamashiro (the object that houses an enshrined kami).

 

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Pissing a god off is generally not something most people want to do. Especially when that god has a battery of 41cm guns. 
 

I wonder how many of the IJN Belles actually view themselves as "gods", especially in the Western sense of the term, given that kami is much more broadly encompassing than that.  Certainly they are spirits and it would be only proper to show them great respect (even if they weren't the ones standing between the Empire and the Morganas).  

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18 hours ago, Panay's Ghost said:

 

I do think you've over-thought of the captain's title.  I would counter that a Belle ship is not a Mikoshi since there is nothing temporary about her residence in her hull.  The Belle-kami dwells in an object (warship) that just happens to be able to travel, rather than being in a temporary transport to take her to a permanent home or on a festival-long jaunt though the neighborhood.

Possibly a better term for a ship with a Belle would be Mitamashiro (the object that houses an enshrined kami).

 

I wonder how many of the IJN Belles actually view themselves as "gods", especially in the Western sense of the term, given that kami is much more broadly encompassing than that.  Certainly they are spirits and it would be only proper to show them great respect (even if they weren't the ones standing between the Empire and the Morganas).  

I'd argue that making a Belle a Shintai would be incorrect. Shintai or Mitamashiro are items that contain a part of the god, the ship's hull is acting as a container for the avatar of the kami, and likely a small shintai from the parent cult as well as mentioned below. Making a ship a shintai would require making the ship a shrine, and shrines really can't be mobile for a variety of reasons, location is very important after all. Plus there's the factor where you're pissing off the the parent kami if the ship sinks in combat. In short, the key factor is the mobility, not how temporary the ship is or is not, and it can be argued the ships are temporary, as we know that the spirit moves from ship to ship in her line.

The other critical factor, beyond the ships being a temporary vessel, is that the Belles aren't new Kami. Nor are they specific to their ships. Not as far as Shinto is concerned any way. Japanese warships are named primarily for features of the Japanese landscape with a few notable exceptions. These features would already have individual cults, long established. So if you have a woman turn up aboard the Ashigara, claiming to BE Ashigara, the cult of Mount Ashigara is probably going to want to be involved at some stage or another, because that's an avatar of *their* kami. Then making the ship a Mikoshi instead of a Shintai, best allows (from a Shinto perspective) a warship following a warship's business, with minimal risk of backlash from a ship being sunk and allows the Kami the dignity of being evacuated with the rest of the crew. The Belle can't leave, but a Shintai from the main shrine could be, and very likely would be placed aboard since the kami has chosen to manifest itself aboard the warship named in it's honor. 


I'll also say that I'm using the term "Gods" quite loosely here, and the IJN Belles likely don't see themselves in the entirely divine sense of the term at all. There might be one or two, but you'd have to have a hell of an ego to think like that, and we haven't seen a IJN Belle with that kind of loud personality yet. Note to self, do not let Scharnhorst hang out with any Japanese Belles who might translate the word kami for her under any circumstances. 

I'd also note there are no examples historically that I or my correspondents could find of entire ships being enshrined. We did find Mikoshi being installed on boats and ships however. 

Edited by TwoHeavens
Expanded and clarified some details.

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