Shobijin

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The Shobijin in Godzilla: Final Wars
Shobijin
Height 30 centimetersMOT-EHotD,[1]
18 centimetersGvM-GvSG[1]
Occupation Priestesses of Mothra
First Appearance Latest Appearance
Mothra Godzilla: Final Wars
Played by Emi and Yumi ItoMOT-GtTHM,
Yuko and Yoko OkadaEHotD,
Keiko Imamura and Sayaka OsawaGvM-GvSG,
Masami Nagasawa and Chihiro OtsukaSOS-GFW

The Shobijin (小美人,   Shobijin, lit. Small beauties) are two tiny priestesses of Mothra created by Toho who first appeared in the 1961 film, Mothra.

Twin fairies who speak for Mothra, the goddess of Infant Island, the Shobijin have been featured in nearly all of the character's media appearances. While their names and portrayals have varied over the years, Mothra's Shobijin act as her link to humanity, interceding on her behalf with the rest of the world. The Shobijin can telepathically communicate with Mothra and translate her messages, and often sing in order to summon her or pray for her aid.


For Mothra's first three film appearances, her twin fairies were played by the singing duo The Peanuts, composed of twin sisters Emi and Yumi Ito. In Mothra, the Shobijin were discovered by a joint Rolisican-Japanese expedition to the irradiated Infant Island. The Shobijin saved the life of Shinichi Chujo, one of the expedition members, but were later captured by the greedy Rolisican businessman Clark Nelson, who brought them to Japan to exploit them for money. The Shobijin befriended Chujo and his accomplices Senichiro Fukuda and Michi Hanamura, learning to speak Japanese and communicate with humans. While Chujo and his allies attempted to free the Shobijin from Nelson, the Shobijin called out to their goddess Mothra, who traveled to Tokyo to rescue them. With the monster drawing near, Nelson fled to the Rolisican capital New Kirk City, only for Mothra to metamorphose into her imago form and pursue him there. Chujo and his friends were able to reunite Mothra with the Shobijin, ending her rampage as she returned to her island home. In Mothra vs. Godzilla, the Shobijin returned to Japan to request the return of Mothra's egg, which had been washed ashore in a typhoon. Ichiro Sakai, Junko Nakanishi, and Shunsuke Miura tried to help the Shobijin secure the egg, but the greedy businessmen Kumayama and Jiro Torahata had converted it into the centerpiece of their new planned amusement park. Their efforts unsuccessful, the Shobijin returned to Infant Island with the aging Mothra, only for their three human friends to travel there and ask for Mothra's aid against Godzilla. While the Shobijin politely refused, Mothra herself agreed to help them and flew to Japan to fight Godzilla and protect her unborn offspring. While Mothra died in the ensuing battle, the Shobijin sang for the egg, which hatched into two twin larvae who carried on the battle and defeated Godzilla. The Shobijin then returned to Infant Island with the twin larvae. Later that same year, one of the larvae had passed away, but the other continued living with the Shobijin on the island. The Shobijin made a visit to Japan, but were convinced to stay behind after overhearing the warning of a mysterious prophetess. The prophetess, who claimed to hail from Venus, correctly warned about the emergence of Godzilla, Rodan, and King Ghidorah, and the Shobijin were forced to call Mothra to Japan to try and stop the monsters. The Shobijin translated a conversation between Mothra, Godzilla, and Rodan for the human spectators, where Mothra tried to convince her fellow Earth monsters to join forces against King Ghidorah. While the initial talks failed, the two monsters had a change of heart and helped the larva drive off King Ghidorah. The Shobijin then returned to their island with Mothra, bidding farewell to Godzilla and Rodan.

The Shobijin's next appearance came in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, where they were now played by Pair Bambi. When Infant Island was being terrorized by the terrorist organization known as the Red Bamboo, the Shobijin prayed to Mothra along with her worshipers that she would awaken to save her people. The Shobijin helped Yata and Ryota Kane prepare for a voyage to the Red Bamboo's base on Letchi Island, asking them to free the Infant Islander slaves and to prepare a giant net. Once Mothra awakened, she traveled to the island with the Shobijin and rescued Yata, Ryota, their allies, and the Red Bamboo's prisoners using the giant net just before the island exploded.

For Mothra's introduction in the Heisei series in Godzilla vs. Mothra, her fairies were renamed the Cosmos (コスモス,   Kosumosu) and played by Keiko Imamura and Sayaka Osawa. The last remnants of an ancient civilization, the Cosmos lived with Mothra on Infant Island for 12,000 years after the ancient world was destroyed in a battle between Mothra and her dark counterpart Battra. The Cosmos traveled to Japan with a team of humans sent to investigate the island, believing Mothra's egg may be safer there. En route, the egg was attacked by Godzilla and hatched, while Battra arrived as well. The larva returned to Infant Island, while the Cosmos were kidnapped by Kenji Andoh and brought to his boss Takeshi Tomokane, head of the Marutomo Company. Tomokane planned to exploit the Cosmos for publicity, but they summoned Mothra to Japan to rescue them. The Cosmos were eventually freed and reunited with Mothra, who matured into her imago form and joined forces with Battra to defeat Godzilla in Yokohama. They then traveled with Mothra into outer space to intercept a meteor bound for the Earth. In Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, the Cosmos sent a telepathic projection of themselves to Miki Saegusa on Earth to warn of the approaching space monster known as SpaceGodzilla.

In the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy, Mothra's priestesses were the Elias; the Elias differed from earlier incarnations in that they were not mind-linked twins but individual persons, were smaller than other incarnations, and were individually named Lora and Moll. The also possessed a sister named Belvera. In addition to accompanying Mothra and Mothra Leo, the Elias were transported by a miniature Mothra named Fairy Mothra.

The Shobijin were featured in two entries of the Millennium series, played both times by Masami Nagasawa and Chihiro Otsuka. In Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., the Shobijin were individually named Hio (ヒオ,   Hio) and Mana (マナ). They appeared to Shinichi Chujo along with Mothra in 2004 to warn that the first Godzilla's bones, used as the basis for the anti-Godzilla weapon Kiryu, must be returned to the sea, as life must be lived in the time nature allows. They claimed that Mothra would defend humanity from Godzilla in Kiryu's place, but said Mothra would be forced to declare war on mankind if the bones were not returned. When Godzilla attacked Tokyo, Mothra was called to fight him by Chujo's grandson, who recreated her sacred symbol using desks. Mothra fought alongside her twin larvae and Kiryu, with the Shobijin helping Chujo's nephew locate Kiryu during the battle so he could repair it. When Kiryu defeated Godzilla and sank itself in the ocean, the Shobijin returned to Infant Island with the Mothra larvae. In Godzilla: Final Wars, the Shobijin appeared to a group of Earth Defense Force personnel who discovered the mummified body of Gigan, an evil space monster Mothra had fought against long ago. They warned of the danger, and also gave Miyuki Otonashi a sacred dagger that she later used to free Shinichi Ozaki from the control of the Controller of Planet X.

Two characters inspired by the Shobijin, Miana and Maina, appear in GODZILLA: City on the Edge of Battle, the second entry of the GODZILLA anime trilogy. Rather than tiny twin fairies, Miana and Maina are twin members of the Houtua, a tribal race inhabiting Earth 20,000 years in the future, where it is dominated by Godzilla. Like the Shobijin, Miana and Maina act as priestesses for Mothra's egg, and use their telepathy to translate its messages.

History

Showa Series

Mothra

The Shobijin in Mothra
Despite the advances that science has provided humanity throughout the many millennia, there are still things that it cannot explain. Among one of those was a discovery made in the Polynesian Islands in the early 1960's.

When a Japanese cargo ship suddenly ran aground on a deserted and ravaged isle called Infant Island, they discovered that despite the immense radiation from nuclear tests still present, humans were capable of living on the land mass. After being rescued by search parties from Japan, the survivors relay word to the authorities who promptly dispatch a research party to learn more about the discovery. What they find is a civilization able to live on the island despite the radiation due to a native juice.

To find out more, Japan along with at least one other nation sends an expedition to Infant Island. There they find land capable of supporting vegetation and a human civilization present.

Among the inhabitants are two tiny girls who are priestess to the civilization, the Shobijin. They are powerful telepaths and that power along with their ability to sing allows them to communicate with the civilization's god, a giant being named Mothra.

After the Japanese contingent of the expedition thwarted his efforts, the leader of the combined research team, an entrepreneur by the name of Clark Nelson, kidnaps the Shobijin. Seemingly ignorant of what he has done, Nelson tries to exploit the Shobijin despite protests from Japan and his own government. When Mothra arrives in Tokyo in response to the Shobijin's pleas for assistance, Nelson manages to escape and eventually heads back to his own country. However, the Japanese know about his activities and soon a manhunt is on with Nelson being hunted by his fellow comrades as Mothra tracks him and the Shobijin. After Nelson is disposed of by his own people, the girls are set free and return aboard Mothra to their home island.

Mothra vs. Godzilla

The Shobijin in Mothra vs. Godzilla
In Mothra vs. Godzilla, an immense typhoon struck the island and eventually washed Mothra's egg out to sea. That egg eventually ended up on the shores of Japan with the two Shobijin following right behind it as Mothra flew them there to persuade the Japanese to return the egg. Unfortunately, they were met with little success as the present owners of the egg would not give it back and there human supporters had little power to help them. At first, they took the failure with good grace but it haunted them as well as their fellow inhabitants on Infant Island. It was not therefore surprising that when the humans of the modern world asked them for assistance against the monster known as Godzilla, the Shobijin at first rejected the plea, citing the problems with Mothra's egg as the reason.

However, after hearing their human allies out, the Shobijin communicated the request to Mothra although they feared rightly that it was a suicide mission for their beloved god. They journeyed aboard Mothra to Japan and watched as Godzilla killed their deity in battle. Fortunately, the Shobijin voiced a plan to use Mothra’s offspring in the egg to help stop Godzilla. The plan worked and the Shobijin journeyed back to Infant Island aboard the two giant caterpillars with the eternal gratitude of the population of Japan.

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

Sometime later, one of the two Mothra offspring passed on, leaving the remainder as the guardian of Infant Island and its people.

Eventually, the Shobijin returned to Japan willingly and served as the roles of ambassadors, which included appearing on television shows. They were just about to return home after promising to the people that Mothra would return to defend them against Godzilla and other monsters when they encountered a woman who claimed to be a priestess from Venus. After hearing her warning, they delayed their departure and provided what assistance they could to the priestess, which included helping to thwart an assassination attempt on her while in Yokohama. They are present when the “Venus priestess” states that the threat comes in the form of a horrific space monster known as King Ghidorah.

Later, they are at the Diet Building where they first promised to send Mothra for assistance and then they voice the incredible idea of asking Godzilla and Rodan for help. At first incredulous at the proposal, the humans agree after witnessing first hand King Ghidorah's destructive power over Tokyo. They then head up to Mt. Fuji where Godzilla and Rodan are fighting each other while King Ghidorah is attacking nearby.

When Mothra arrives, they serve as translators as Mothra tries to persuade Godzilla and Rodan to join her in stopping King Ghidorah. This effort is a success and after peace has returned to the land, the Shobijin return to Infant Island aboard Mothra.

Ebirah, Horror of the Deep

In Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, a group called the Red Bamboo invaded Infant Island and kidnapped some of its inhabitants as slaves. In response, the Shobijin lead the prayers and pleas to Mothra to help rescue the inhabitants. After assisting two Japanese men who were dealing with the same problem, they ventured out once more on Mothra to the island to evacuate their allies as it was about to be destroyed in a nuclear explosion triggered by the Red Bamboo.


Heisei Series

Godzilla vs. Mothra

The Cosmos in Godzilla vs. Mothra
Twelve millennia ago, a guardian named Mothra roamed the Earth as an advanced civilization crafted a machine that could control the weather. Offended, the Earth created a dark Mothra—Battra—which destroyed everything that endangered the planet. After a fierce battle, Mothra vanquished Battra, and was put to rest in the Northern Sea. In the process, the climate controller was destroyed, and most of the land on Earth remained underwater due to intense flooding. Mothra survived and retreated into the mountains with the Cosmos.

In the year 1993, on Infant Island in the Indonesian Archipelago, the Cosmos appeared to Takuya Fujita, Masako Tezuka, and Kenji Andoh and revealed their tragic past. They also revealed that Mothra was now in a new life cycle, and that the egg of Mothra was on their island. Both Mothra and Battra were revived in response to the reckless destruction of nature at the hands of humankind, largely by the actions of such big businesses as the Marutoma Corporation. Kenji Andoh, an employee of said corporation, suggested that the egg could be better preserved in Japan, and the Cosmos agreed.

As they sailed to Japan, Godzilla emerged from the ocean and attacked the enormous egg. The monster became sidetracked, however, as the recently rejuvenated Battra became locked in combat with Godzilla. As their terrible battle continued, they fell into a fissure in the Earth's crust beneath the ocean, and as they sank in the magma flows, they were presumed dead.

Mothra returned to Infant Island as the Cosmos arrived in Japan. Kenji Andoh absconded with the fairies and handed them over to his CEO, Takeshi Tomokane. Now in captivity, the Cosmos were left with only one option: to call for much-needed assistance. They sang into the distance and plead with Mothra for rescue. Leaving her island home, Mothra rushed to Tokyo, where she began to destroy everything in her predetermined path to rescue her beloved fairies.

In the meantime, Takuya Fujita cunningly kidnapped the Cosmos and attempted to extract one million dollars in ransom from an American company; however, his ex-wife and daughter began to convince him of how wrong this course of actions truly was. As the argument continued, Mothra finally arrived, and the hotel in which the humans stood began to tremble. Takuya finally relented, and the Cosmos were freed. Upon convincing Mothra that they were fine, she began to retreat. Unfortunately, the military was unaware of this change in events, and when their forces were finally in position, an all-out assault commenced.

When the Self-Defense Force was ordered to cease fire, Mothra began to act very lethargic. She slowly made her way to the Diet Building, where she enshrouded herself in silk and began to form a chrysalis. The CEO of the Marutoma Corporation ordered Kenji Andoh to use this opportunity to reacquire the Cosmos, but he resisted and was ultimately terminated. Left alone, the CEO could was left to wallow in his own shame. As the night progressed, the Cosmos sang again, as an adult Mothra emerged from her pupa. The two fairies revealed that Mothra was going to locate and destroy Battra. Godzilla and Battra were both still alive.

Having survived the magma flows, Godzilla emerged at Mt. Fuji as Battra emerged from the ocean floor, metamorphosing instantly into its imago form. Takuya Fujita, Masako Tezuka, their daughter, and the Cosmos drove to Yokohama, where they witnessed an intense war of the monsters. Battra pummeled Mothra into submission, and it appeared as though she would lose this fight; however, Godzilla suddenly appeared, and this new contender distracted Battra's attention. Unfortunately, Godzilla proved to be a much greater challenge, and Battra was thrown to the ground below.

In response to this new, nearly invulnerable hindrance, Mothra rose from the streets and repelled Godzilla as she made her way to Battra. The Cosmos sang once more as Mothra bestowed energy into her old enemy. Reentering battle, Mothra fired her full arsenal at Godzilla, to no avail. Luckily, Battra saved Mothra just in time, and the Cosmos revealed that the two nemeses were now allies. Joining forces, Mothra and Battra subdued Godzilla and lifted him over the sea. Alas, Godzilla killed Battra in the process, and Mothra was forced to drop both monsters into the cold ocean below, upon which she sealed with her energy.

When Mothra returned to her fairies in Japan, it was revealed that Battra was to stop an asteroid from plummeting to Earth in 1999. Now that he was dead, it would be up to Mothra to save the planet from the incoming meteor. The Cosmos lifted into the air and rushed to join Mothra. The majestic moth and her fairies soared into space, ready to meet their destiny.

Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla

Two years passed as Mothra flew through the vast emptiness of space, determined to halt the incoming meteor. A new and deadly power was discovered as Mothra pierced through the dark void, and a Fairy Mothra was dispatched to planet Earth, which the Cosmos used to submit two solemn warnings to psychic Miki Saegusa. It would be necessary, they instructed, for her to assist in the defeat of this new monster, and it was imperative that the whole world join together in the destruction of the space creature.

SpaceGodzilla, as it came to be known, appeared on Earth and entrapped Godzilla's offspring in a crystal prison. M.O.G.U.E.R.A., G-Force's replacement for Mechagodzilla, and Godzilla both aided in the defeat of this beast. With SpaceGodzilla defeated, the Cosmos thanked Miki and Fairy Mothra returned to space where they could finish their mission to save planet Earth.

Rebirth of Mothra, Rebirth of Mothra II and Rebirth of Mothra III

Main article: Elias.

Millennium Series

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

The Shobijin in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
The Shobijin from Tokyo S.O.S., stated by Dr. Shinichi Chujo to be related to the Shobijin from 1961, arrive to Japan and warn Dr. Shinichi Chujo and the Japanese government that Godzilla continues returning to Japan because they used the original Godzilla's bones in Kiryu's design. If they return the bones to the bottom of the sea, Mothra would gladly take Kiryu's place in defending Japan, but if they do not, Mothra will declare war on humanity. Godzilla began his attack on Tokyo and the Shobijin summon Mothra from Infant Island. When Mothra needed assistance her egg hatched and the Shobijin were surprised then glad to see twin Mothra Larvae rush to their mother's aide.


Godzilla: Final Wars

The Shobijin in Godzilla: Final Wars
The Shobijin would make one last appearance in the Millennium era in Godzilla: Final Wars.

After the mummified corpse of Gigan was uncovered in Japan, the fairies submitted a grave warning to three humans overlooking the remarkable discovery. The Shobijin teleported the humans to a remote cave, and sternly warned that Gigan must be returned to his burial chamber. Apparently, Mothra had defeated Gigan 10,000 years ago, and that they desired that the two monsters would never fight again. The Shobijin returned their guests to the mummified Gigan, but the fairies' warning was not taken seriously. Gigan was not returned, and when the Xiliens arrived, they soon reawakened Gigan, who subsequently laid waste to the city of Tokyo.

Following a long series of battles between Godzilla and an army of monsters released by the Xiliens, an asteroid named Gorath began to plummet toward the Earth. In response, the Shobijin summoned  Mothra to aid Godzilla. Mothra managed to kill Gigan and returned home.

Filmography

Video Games

Comics

Songs

The Shobijin sing songs to Mothra in nearly all of their film appearances. This is most likely due to the fact that the actresses who first portrayed the Shobijin, Emi and Yumi Ito, were a popular singing duo in Japan known as the Peanuts. Ever since, the Shobijin have continued to sing in various films featuring Mothra. There are various songs that the Shobijin have sung, including:

Gallery

Mothra

Mothra vs. Godzilla

Godzilla vs. Mothra

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

Godzilla: Final Wars

Merchandise

Trivia

References

This is a list of references for Shobijin. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Toho Special Effects All Monster Encyclopedia. Shogakukan. pp. 27, 34, 37, 45, 83, 94. 23 July 2014. ISBN: 4-096-82090-3.
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Era Icon - Heisei.png
Era Icon - Millennium.png
Era Icon - Mothra.png



Comments

Showing 16 comments. Remember to follow the civility guidelines when commenting.

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G&G-Fan

2 months ago
Score 0
If the Cosmos can fly, why didn't they just escape from the Marutomo company themselves?
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Astounding Beyond Belief

2 months ago
Score 0
For the drama of it all.
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KingOfTheZillas98

3 months ago
Score 0
How come if doesn't say anything about comics?
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Astounding Beyond Belief

3 months ago
Score 0
It's been flagged for cleanup for a reason.
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Monsterland Buddies

8 months ago
Score 0
All of their songs suck! If they will appear in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Legendary, for the love of god do not make them sing!
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Emperor Ghidorah

8 months ago
Score 0
Really?
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Monsterland Buddies

8 months ago
Score 0
Yeah! Really! Their songs are some of the most horrible things Toho has ever given us! Some of these songs come from Godzilla films with serious and dark tones! So, when these songs come up, it ruins the serious tone of these films! Until Godzilla does something, of course. However, I don’t hate Mothra. She is one of my favourite kaiju, but I hate these songs with a burning (Godzilla) passion!!
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Green Blob Thing

8 months ago
Score 0
I don't see how a song somehow ruins a film with serious / dark tones (especially given how most Godzilla films have neither of those tones).
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Monsterland Buddies

8 months ago
Score 0
I know. But the Legendary films return to the serious tone the 1954 film had. But why would they sing in Godzilla: King of the Monsters?
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Les

8 months ago
Score 0
Tradition.
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Monsterland Buddies

8 months ago
Score 0
What tradition?
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Les

8 months ago
Score 0
The Mothra Song gets sung in nearly every if not every film the Shobijin appear in. It is tradition at this point. You ask why they would sing but the real question is, why wouldn't they?
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The King of the Monsters

8 months ago
Score 0

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is not going to be a grim allegory like Godzilla (1954) no matter what the filmmakers may say. It's going to be a Hollywood action movie adaptation of the franchise that will at the very least take itself somewhat seriously.

The Shobijin singing doesn't undermine the serious tone of a given movie either. Their songs are used to great effect in Mothra vs. Godzilla, a relatively "serious" Godzilla film, first in the scene where they sing "Sacred Springs" when the humans find them in the last green oasis on Infant Island. The song is meant to be beautiful and melancholy, and in my opinion succeeds. "Mothra's Song" also works perfectly when it is sung by the Shobijin to the dying Mothra without any instrumental backing just before she agrees to leave the island and fight Godzilla. And lastly "Mahara Mothra" is used to dramatic effect when the Shobijin and the Infant Islanders are praying for Mothra's egg to hatch as Godzilla continues rampaging across Japan.

In short, I don't think the Shobijin's songs undermine the "seriousness" of any given film. If their songs are used effectively in a film that manages to be serious, then they work just fine.
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Monsterland Buddies

8 months ago
Score 0

Oh, that tradition.

As for the comment from The King of the Monsters, I understand. Though I just wish the Legendary films took themselves more seriously like Godzilla (1954), Godzilla Raids Again, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Terror of Mechagodzilla and Shin Godzilla. And other Godzilla films.
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Pedro

14 months ago
Score 1
COMIC APPEARANCES PLEASE!
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SkullIsland

16 months ago
Score 1
Should their comic appearances be mentioned here?