At the end of the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual, the mark created in the festival when the older sister strangled the other would turn into a crimson butterfly. The shrine maiden's body would be thrown into the Hellish Abyss, but her soul, which had turned into a crimson butterfly, would fly around the village and watch over it, beckoning the next twin shrine maidens towards the ritual. Its shape also represents handprints.
A ritual performed once per decade in Minakami Village to suppress the Darkness
spilling out of the Hellish Abyss. It was also called the "Hidden Ceremony", and
out of a pair of purified Twin Shrine Maidens (Altar Twins), the latter-born would
strangle the former. In current times, the twin born first is the elder and the
second the younger, but in Minakami Village it remained the completely
The villagers also believed that twins were originally a single person that had split into two, and that when they became one again it would produce a strong force that would seal the Hellish Abyss. It was also possible for the ritual to fail if the twins were unwilling.
A scholar who was a black sheep in the scientific community due to his research into the spirit world, but was friends with Seijiro Makabe. In order to research a world it was said that only people with spiritual ability could see, he modified cameras and radios, and invented devices that could capture "impossiblities". After handing over a prototype Camera Obscura and Spirit Stone Radio to Makabe, who was heading for Minakami Village, he went on a journey in search of a way to complete the Camera Obscura, but died mysteriously while researching. Judging by the fact that Misao Amakura is a descendant of his, maybe you can assume that he was from the area around Minakami Village.
Mio and Mayu's mother, who took the two girls along with her to visit her
hometown, which was due to be submerged by a dam. Having been born and raised in a
mountain village near Minakami Village, she had heard rumours of the "Lost
Village" since she was a child, and warned her two daughters that if they played
outside late at night they would become trapped in the village.
What made her decide to go back to this area, full of horrible legends, was her feelings towards her husband, Misao, who had gone missing in the Minakami Village area, whom she could not forget. It's likely she never thought that her daughters would be in any danger.
The protagonist of Zero ~Akai Chou~. She has a bright and lively personality,
but thinking that it was her fault that Mayu injured herself when they were young,
she suffers. She doesn't have as much of as sixth sense as Mayu, but by holding
onto Mayu's hand she can catch glimpses of what her sister sees.
Perhaps because her circumstances are similar to those of Yae Kurosawa, who was the cause of the Repentance, she is unlucky enough to be latched onto by many ghosts such as the villagers and Sae Kurosawa.
Mio and Mayu's father. Like his wife, he was raised in a mountain village near Minakami Village. Mio and Mayu had been told by their mother than their father had passed away, but in actuality he went missing in the area around Minakami Village. Incidentally, he took the Amakura family name on after marriage, and his birth name was Misao Asou. That's right... he is a blood relative of Kunihiko Asou, who invented the Camera Obscura. Perhaps it was fate, his ancestor having invented the camera, that he became trapped in Minakami Village...?
People who performed the ritual by the Hellish Abyss and, unlike Veiled
Priests, were able to get right up close to it. As it was said that anyone who
looked into the abyss would die of insanity, for generations the people of each
family who served the role of a Mourner would have their eyes sewn shut so they
couldn't see anything. People who broke taboo and tried to look into the abyss
would also have their eyes sewn shut and be turned into Mourners.
Even as ghosts they still can't see, and rely on sounds as they attack.
A gaping hole opens up in the ground at the location where the Crimson
Sacrifice Ritual was performed, known as the Hellish Abyss. It was believed to be
the entrance to the underworld, and had to be soothed by throwing in a Crimson
Sacrifice, or Darkness would pour forth from it and engulf the village. It was
also a forbidden place that was not allowed to be seen or spoken of, and was
written in text as "X".
Those who saw the Darkness inside the abyss were said to die of madness at the horrific scene. Because of this, people who performed the ritual at the abyss were known as Mourners, and their eyes were sewn shut so they couldn't see.
If the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual failed and the Hellish Abyss' rumblings
couldn't be stopped, Darkness would erupt from within it and seal the village in
eternal darkness... This is the Repentance. The Darkness covered the village for
several generations, and with every earthquake (rumble of the abyss) it would
spread and cover more and more of the area around Minakami Village. Those who were
swallowed up by the Darkness and saw hell died of madness and were unable to rest
in peace, remaining trapped in the darkness.
Furthermore, Sae, who had been thrown into the abyss on the day of the Repentance, and the Kusabi (Makabe) returned as vengeful spirits and one by one slaughtered those who weren't taken by the Darkness. No one in Minakami Village survived the Repentance.
During times when preparations were still being made for the Crimson Sacrifice
Ritual and the Hellish Abyss began to rumble, a human sacrifice known as a Kusabi
was used to temporarily quiet it, and the ritual in which the Kusabi was created
was known as the Hidden Ceremony. Visitors to the village (Outsiders) were used as
Kusabis, and after being welcomed warmly they underwent the Cutting Ritual.
The very first Kusabi was that year's ceremony master, and it was said that the greater the suffering the stronger the sacrifice, so he subjected himself to the utmost limits of suffering, cutting up his body and becoming a sokushinbutsu. Perhaps this legend became distorted as time passed and it was continued, or maybe someone changed it at their own convenience, but at some point Outsiders who visited the village began to be cut up and turned into Kusabis.
"Call the one that kills her twin the Remaining, and she shall be
In Minakami Village, the twin who was left behind after killing their other half was known as the "Remaining". The act of killing their sibling pushed their mental boundaries and they would lose their emotions or their hair would turn white overnight. It's also said that twins share each other's pain, and as proof of this a crimson bruise in the shape of a butterfly, just like the one on their other half, appears on their throat.
A twin who killed her younger sister, Azami, in a Crimson Sacrifice Ritual long before the Repentance and became a Remaining. The loss of her sister was hard on her, but she began to recover when her father made a doll that looked identical to Azami. However, at some point the doll became a conscious "corpse", and under its manipulation Akane killed her father, who was trying to destroy the doll. Even after death she is still controlled by the doll, and attacks Mio when she visits the house.
A twin who was killed by her older sister Akane in a past Crimson Sacrifice Ritual. She felt no resentment towards her sister, but rather was happy that they were able to become one. After death, she sensed that the doll her father made would bring disaster, and beame a ghost to warn him of this. She tells Mio, too, to destroy the doll when she visits the house.
The head of the Kiryu family, who offered up his twin daughters as sacrifices in the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual, long before the Repentance occurred. The ritual was a success, but afterwards Akane, who became a Remaining after killing her sister Azami, was downhearted, so he made a doll that looked just like Azami for her. However, night after night he witnessed the doll talking to Akane, and realised it had turned into a "corpse". Sensing that it would go on to possess Akane Yoshitatsu resolved to destroy the doll, but ended up being killed by Akane under its control. Afterwards, filled with regret at the disaster he had brought about and wanting the ritual to stop, he turned into a vengeful spirit and attacked those who visited the house.
When there was too long until a Crimson Sacrifice Ritual could take place,
these would be used as human sacrifices to suppress the Hellish Abyss temporarily.
People who visited the village would be captured and forced to have their bodies
cut up, becoming Kusabis. However, among these outsiders were those who were
unable to take the suffering and died before becoming Kusabis.
Makabe's anger at being put through such suffering in order to become a Kusabi was so strong that he is extra potent. Perhaps this is why taking photos of him with the Camera Obscura has no effect, and he can't be exorcised.
Long ago, a ceremony master who felt pity for the dead Remaining created a
small shrine to soothe their spirits, and filled it with dedications of countless
twin deity statues and crimson pinwheels. They were said to emit a mournful sound
as they turned in the wind that passed through the underground passageway.
However, this is not the true reason the shrine was constructed. There were once twins who tried to escape the village through the underground passageway, and the angered ceremony master had the shrine built to seal it. The pinwheel keys to unseal it were entrusted to the Veiled Priests and passed down through their families.
The younger of the pair of twins at the time of the Repentance. On the day of the festival, she ran away along with her sister Yae to try to escape their cursed fate, but she slipped on the mountain path and was captured by the villagers. She believed that Yae would return but was ultimately betrayed, killed by the villagers and thrown into the Hellish Abyss. However, one twin alone was not enough to stop the abyss, and it brought about the Repentance. Her desire to save the village, and her resentment of her sister... Sae turned into a vengeful spirit with these contradictory feelings, and already having lost herself she slaughtered all of the villagers, laughing madly in a sea of blood.
The older of the pair of twins at the time of the Repentance. Unable to let go
of her feelings towards her sister, at the suggestion of Itsuki Tachibana, the
Altar Twin from the previous year, she decided to leave the village. However, as
they were escaping she failed to notice Sae slip, and though she searched
desperately for her sister she was unable to find her. In her despair she returned
to the village, but it had already vanished.
At around this time Ryozo Munakata visited the village in order to keep his promise to Itsuki. Yae, taken from the village by Munakata, lost all of her memories due to shock and became sickly. She married Munakata, who had given everything for her, but due to her sixth sense she began to see spirits, and was unable to live her life in peace...
The ceremony master on the year of the Repentance, and the father of Yae and Sae, the Twin SHrine Maidens that year. He himself was a Remaining, having killed his brother in the ritual in the past, but oddly ended up inflicting the same pain upon his own daughter. Naturally you would think it would tear him apart as a father to lose one of his daughters, but his sense of duty, which led him to believe that the ritual must be performed, was stronger.
A camera invented by Dr. Asou that can photograph "impossible things". It can photograph residual feelings from the past and ghostly beings that are invisible to the naked eye, and also produces a similar effect to that of an exorcism. Makabe wanted to use it to photograph the "secret festival" and "Gate to Hell", but when he learned of its horrible power he resolved to seal it away.
Going after her lover, who went missing during a survey, she also became trapped in Minakami Village. She panicked when she found herself unable to get out of the village and sensed people's shadows wandering around it, but reunited with her lover, and they vowed to escape together. However, while investigating she injured her leg, and waited alone in the house for him to return. He eventually came back, but his corpse simply began to silently strangle Miyako...
The elder brother of the pair of twins that were used in the festival the year
before the Repentance occurred. They performed the ritual, but his feelings
towards his younger brother Mutsuki were so strong that it failed. Due to this the
Crimson Sacrifice Ritual, usually only performed every decade, had to take place
again the following year. Having predicted the ritual's failure from the start, he
made a promise with Itsuki not to let Yae and Sae suffer the same fate, and wrote
a letter to his childhood friend Ryozo Munakata, asking him to take care of Yae
and Sae after they escaped from the village.
After helping Yae and Sae get out, Itsuki took his own life so as to reunite with Mutsuki. However, after Itsuki's death, the captured Sae saw his corpse and wrongly assumed that he had done what he did because she and Yae ran. Itsuki learned after turning into a ghost that Sae had been caught and was unable to rest in peace, trying to save the twins even now.
The younger sister of Itsuki and Mutsuki Tachibana, who adored her two brothers
with all her heart. She was also friendly with her brothers' friends Yae and Sae,
but she blamed their escape for Itsuki's capture and began to despise them
intensely. Because of this, she attacks Mio, who resembles Yae, telling her to
give her brother back.
Her body is weak and she is shy, so when people she doesn't know come to visit she hides in the closet. On the day of the Repentance, too, she was afraid of the Darkness and hid in the closet, but inside it she was imprisoned by the Darkness and died.
The younger of the pair of twins that participated in the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual the year before the Repentance occurred. He had been burdened with the fate of being killed by his brother since birth. The ritual failed, but he held no resentment towards his brother or the ritual, so he didn't become a vengeful spirit.
Rumours like the following circulate about this village based on an incident
that occurred in the past:
"Long ago, a slaughter occurred on the day of a festival, and the village vanished. A twin deities statue in the forest beckons the lost towards the village's entrance. Once they have passed under the torii at the entrance, there is no going back. The night of that tragedy continues, dawn never to break again. The awful laugh of a woman echoes throughout the village during this night. None but a single woman survived the village."
A vast cave that stretches below Minakami Village, which was used for storage by the Osaka house, and as the "Earth Bridge" connecting the Kiryu and Tachibana houses. Another portion of the cave is said to lead out of the village. At the deepest part of the passageway is the "Hellish Abyss", which must not be seen, and only certain priests and Mourners were permitted to enter.
These statues are scattered around Minakami Village, created in order to worship the Twin Shrine Maidens. The village was engulfed by Darkness, but it is said that a single statue was left behind in the outside world. It is at the entrance to the village, in which night continues without end.
The twins who become the Crimson Sacrifice. The only condition is being a set
of twins born in the village. Girls are known as Twin Shrine Maidens, and boys are
called Altar Twins. There are legends such as the following about twins:
"The maiden of two bodies becomes one in the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual, consecreated unto the gods and soothing the X. The latter remains in the world of the living, keeping watch upon it, and the former passes through the X, soothing the earth."
As per Minakami Village's customs, the firstborn twin is the younger and the second the elder. According to this, with regards to Mio and Mayu, Mio is the elder and Mayu the younger.
A folklorist who was investigating customs peculiar to each region of Japan,
dedicating his efforts to explaining the deep-rooted legend of the "Hell Gate".
Having interest in the traditions of Minakami Village, where twins were raised as
shrine maidens and there was said to be a secret festival performed at a place
that must not be seen, he borrowed a Camera Obscura from his friend Dr. Asou and
visited the village.
At first, Makabe received a warm and cordial welcome, but suddenly found himself imprisoned in a confinement room. Upon being informed of the danger he was in by Yae and Sae he sent Munakata home ahead of him, but led by his scholarly desire that he might actually see the Hell Gate for himself he made no attempt to escape.
Turned into a Kusabi in the Cutting Ritual, Makabe returned from the Hellish Abyss as an evil spirit. In order to inflict the same suffering he had experienced on others, he cut up and massacred the villagers.
A surveyor who was dispatched in order to survey the land for the construction of a dam. During his investigation he became trapped in Minakami Village, and began searching for an exit. Meeting with Miyako Sudo, who had become trapped in the village after following him, they vowed to escape from the village, but he was killed during his search of the Kurosawa house when he encountered the Kusabi. After death Masumi, having turned into a vengeful ghost, returned to Miyako, who was waiting in the Osaka house. And then, as a result of his love, he dragged her into the same world as him.
A village known in rumours as the "Lost Village". Due to its peculiar worship
of twins as shrine maidens, and its tendency to turn outsiders into human
sacrifices, it was feared and hated by nearby villages. However, because their
failure to perform the ritual would bring disaster to the entire area, it was a
village that was said to actually be cursed.
Swallowed up by the Darkness that spilled from the Hellish Abyss on the day of the Repentance, it vanished. In the spot in the forest where the village had stood was only a thick fog, and it was rumoured that those who went missing in the forest had been "lured" to the village. This legend of Minakami Village originated in the notes of Ryozo Munakata, who returned to the village right after its disappearance, and later spread to the rest of the world.
A living doll that possessed a soul. The doll created by Yoshitatsu Kiryu to comfort his Remaining daughter Akane became this "corpse". Realising that Yoshitatsu had been told by the spirit of Azami to destroy the doll, it manipulated Akane into killing him. As it is a doll it can't die, or be exorcised. The only way to destroy it is to throw it into the Hellish Abyss.
The assistant to the folklorist Makabe, who travelled along with him to
Minakami Village. In actuality he was a childhood friend of Itsuki Tachibana, and
suggested to Makabe that they investigate Minakami Village in order to keep a
promise he had made to Itsuki. Munakata, staying at the Tachibana house, was told
that Itsuki and Mutsuki had died of an illness, but felt that something was wrong.
Receiving a letter from Yae and Sae written by Makabe that told him to go home by
himself, he sensed that he was in danger and decided to return to the village
later. He did, however, return to the village to meet Yae and Sae after their
escape on the day of the festival, as he had promised Itsuki. But all he found was
Yae, the village and all of its inhabitants having vanished.
He took Yae, who had lost her memory due to severe shock, home with him and took care of her, during which time they were married, but tempted by the same scientific curiosity as his mentor he began along the path to an unfortunate fate...
Another world that is said to lie in the Darkness inside the Hellish Abyss. It is a fearsome scene, and those who witness it apparently die of madness.
A modified crystal radio that uses crystal as part of its circuitry to pick up transmissions, it has the ability to receive voices from the spirit world. Like the Camera Obscura, it was invented by Dr. Asou. Its circuitry uses precious stones that have been kept close to ghosts during their lifetimes - in other words, these are spirit stones, which emit an invisible power, and inside which human thoughts and feelings dwell.