Ian Andreas Miller. 10 August 2002.
Naoko Takeuchi, the creator of the Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn
manga, introduced Sailor Star Fighter, Sailor Star Maker, and Sailor Star Healer in the Stars series of that manga. Those three women, who call themselves the Sailor Starlights, came to Earth from their home world Kinmoku in order to find their princess, Kakyu. Fans may find it odd that the Sailor Starlights run around in fetish wear-like uniforms. While on Earth, the three women set themselves up as an idol band in Japan called the Three Lights. They chose to call themselves the Three Lights because they chose for themselves the Japanese personal name Ko, which means light
. Many of the fans of the Three Lights believe that the three women are really men. (Incidentally, in the Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn
anime, they do become men when they pose as normal Earth humans.) Fans have speculated on what exactly the Sailor Starlights represent. What does the “Fighter” in the name Sailor Star Fighter mean? Does the “Maker” in Sailor Star Maker have any significance? What makes Sailor Star Healer a healer? After years of thinking and researching, it seems that the fans have not been able to come up with what Ms. Takeuchi had in mind for those characters. Nevertheless, fans have come up with their hypotheses. This article introduces one of those hypotheses along with my criticisms.
Kotetsu has a section in her Web site Starlight Pops in which the mythology and symbolism pertaining to the Sailor Starlights are discussed. That section contains two large sections that attempt to associate the Hindu Trimurti with the Sailor Starlights: The Hindu Trimurti and Evidence to Support the Trimurti Association. The idea is said to be “just a theory,” and it seems that Kotetsu had the everyday definition of the term theory rather than the scientific definition. So the term is in this case is used to describe an educated guess. I have read the evidence several times and I still do not believe that the connections are strong. Although one could take the time to respond to all of the arguments in favor of the connections, it would be more appropriate to criticize the main ideas.
Fans like to associate Sailor Star Fighter with destruction and Shiva
, but they should realize that destruction is not necessarily the inevitable result of a fighter fighting. The fighter may destroy life, but he or she may also be protecting or preserving life. As a protector, Sailor Star Fighter would be better associated with Vishnu (the Protector and Preserver), not Shiva (the Destroyer and Re-creator).
Brahma is thought to be the First Cause, or the Creator of the universe. Fans often associate Sailor Star Maker with Brahma. The “Maker” in the name Sailor Star Maker does not necessarily refer to a Creator or “Maker” of the universe, nor does it have to imply the First Cause. There are many makers (or creators) of different kinds, but Brahma is supposed to be the Creator (or Maker).
Sailor Star Healer is sometimes associated with Vishnu, the Preserver. Preserving (what a preserver does) and healing (what a healer does) are different concepts, and something that is being preserved might not ever have been healed. When something is healed, it was experiencing some sort of pain or ailment at some point in the past. When one preserves something, he or she is keeping it from experiencing some sort of pain or ailment. Fans may dismiss the distinction as “semantics,” but the two concepts are not necessarily connected.
Coming up with explanations for the names of the Sailor Starlights would have been much easier to do if Ms. Takeuchi referred to those three Hindu deities by name if she intended the connections to be as strong as some fans suggest. The leather outfits that the Sailor Starlights wear do not have much to do with the Hindu deities. It could be argued that some of Ms. Takeuchi’s characters are not necessarily copies of their respective mythological counterparts. They would be right. They may say that the Maenads in the manga are not women who run around and kill people, but they should realize that Ms. Takeuchi referred to the Maenads by name and by epithet (they are called miko, or priestesses). If the Sailor Starlight names matched the common epithets of those three Hindu deities (they do not, as I pointed out above), then the hypothesis would be easier to accept. So what do the Sailor Starlights represent? It seems that we do not know for sure, but perhaps a more comprehensive hypothesis will be introduced sometime soon in the future.
Questions about the Hindu Trimurti Theory
- If red is Shiva’s theme color, yellow is Vishnu’s theme color, and blue is Brahma’s theme color, then why is Seiya’s theme color navy blue, Yaten’s theme color gray, and Taiki’s theme color light brown according to Ms. Takeuchi?
- If the roses are supposed to match up with the theme colors of two of the three Hindu deities, why is the “feminine/masculine duality of both Maker/Fighter and Brahma/Shiva” idea used instead only in Taiki's case?
- The members of the Three Lights wear red, yellow, and blue in the anime, but they wear red, brown, and blue in the manga. Why would the suits represent elements in the manga, but theme colors in the anime? Consistency is good.
- Would Stephen King write much “Crucifiction”?
- My printer uses the the non-black colors magenta (red), yellow, and cyan (dark blue). Does that mean that my printer has something to do with the Hindu Trimurti?
- If a fighter can represent violence, destruction, aggression, could he or she also represent protection, preservation, and heroism?
- If I need to bear with a long and convoluted explanation, could I instead call Mr. Ockham so that he can use his famous razor?
Questions about the Shinto Theory
- Yaten may represent the stars, but all three of the Sailor Starlights have “Star” in their sailor soldier names. Could not all three of them then represent the stars?
- Seiya's sign may be Leo, and Leo may represent the Sun, but why is not Taiki a Cancer when Cancer is the ruler of the Moon? How would Yaten and Aquarius fit into all this? (Yes, I know the constellation Aquarius is made up of stars, but then again, so are the constellations Leo and Gemini.)
- “Light of the big air” is a mistranslation of Taiki’s name. Taiki means atmosphere. How does the atmosphere relate to the moon more than to the Sun and stars?
- In what language does taiki mean genius? The common Japanese word for genius is tensai.
- If the lights of the night sky (Yaten K) are the stars, are not the lights of the star field (Seiya K) also stars?
- If Yaten represents the stars, and the Sun is a star, could not Yaten also represent the Sun?