The Shobijin (小美人 are tiny twin priestesses of Shobijin, lit. Small beauties)Mothra who first appeared in the 1961 film, Mothra. They have been featured in nearly all of the character's film appearances since, as well as in several comics and video games. 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, after saving the life of interpreter Shinichi Chujo. They were subsequently captured by the greedy Rolisican businessman Clark Nelson, who brought them to Japan to exploit them for money. They called out to their goddess Mothra, who rampaged through Tokyo and New Kirk City in her efforts to rescue them. They were finally reunited with Mothra through the assistance of Chujo and his allies. 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 and claimed by greedy businessmen Kumayama and Jiro Torahata. When their efforts and those of their human allies Ichiro Sakai, Shunsuke Miura, and Junko Nakanishi were unsuccessful, they returned home to Infant Island, only for the three humans to arrive and ask for Mothra's aid against Godzilla. While the Shobijin politely declined, Mothra herself agreed to help and they accompanied her back to Japan. The Shobijin sang to help the twin larvae hatch from Mothra's egg after Mothra was killed in battle against Godzilla. Later that same year, after one of the larvae had passed away, the Shobijin returned on a goodwill trip to Japan, and were convinced to stay behind after hearing the ominous warnings of a Venusian prophetess. They summoned the surviving larva to Japan to try and convince Godzilla and Rodan to join forces against the marauding King Ghidorah, and translated the monsters' conversation for their human allies. While the initial talks failed and Mothra tried to fight the space monster alone, Godzilla and Rodan had a change of heart and helped her drive off King Ghidorah. The Shobijin then bid farewell to both monsters as they returned home.
In Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, the Shobijin were played by another singing duo, Pair Bambi. After the terrorist organization known as the Red Bamboo enslaved dozens of Infant Islanders, the Shobijin prayed to Mothra that she would awaken to save her people. They helped Yata and Ryota prepare for a voyage to the Red Bamboo's base on Letchi Island, asking them to free the 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 Heisei series introduction in Godzilla vs. Mothra, her fairies were renamed the Cosmos (コスモス and played by Keiko Imamura and Sayaka Osawa. The last remnants of an ancient civilization, the Cosmos lived with Kosumosu)Mothra on Infant Island for 12,000 years after the ancient world was destroyed in a battle between Mothra and her dark counterpart Battra. They were kidnapped by Kenji Ando 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. Afterwards, she matured into her imago form and joined forces with Battra to defeat Godzilla in Yokohama. The Cosmos 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 SpaceGodzilla's impending arrival.
In the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy, Mothra's priestesses were the Elias, Moll and Lora. Unlike earlier incarnations, they were not mind-linked twins but individual persons. They frequently found themselves in conflict with their human-hating sister, Belvera. In addition to accompanying Mothra and Mothra Leo, the Elias utilized the tiny Fairy Mothra as their steed.
Masami Nagasawa and Chihiro Otsuka played the Shobijin in two films from the Millennium series, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. and Godzilla: Final Wars, though they took place in different continuities. In Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., the Shobijin were individually named Hio (ヒオ and Mana Hio) (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. They ultimately assisted Mothra, her larvae, and Chujo's nephew and Kiryu mechanic Yoshito in the battle against Godzilla. 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 gave Miyuki Otonashi a sacred dagger that she later used to free Shinichi Ozaki from the mental domination of the Controller of Planet X.
Two characters inspired by the Shobijin, Miana and Maina, appeared in GODZILLA: City on the Edge of Battle and GODZILLA: The Planet Eater, the second and third entries 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.
Name[edit | edit source]
"Shobijin" is a direct romanization of the Japanese term 小美人 (Shōbijin), meaning "small beauties." This name is coined by the character Senichiro Fukuda in Mothra after he hears Shinichi Chujo's account of the Shobijin rescuing him from the Vampire Plant. In Mothra, the Shobijin in are alternatively referred to as the Fairies (妖精 in both Japanese and English. In the English-dubbed version of their debut film, they are only referred to generically in the dialogue as the "beauties" or "little girls." The English-dubbed version of Yōsei)Mothra vs. Godzilla also uses similar informal terms. In the English-dubbed version of Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, they are again referred to as the "Fairies" exclusively.
In the Heisei series, the Shobijin are renamed the Cosmos (コスモス, a term which also refers to the ancient civilization from which they hail in this continuity. In the Kosumosu)Rebirth of Mothra trilogy, Mothra's miniature priestesses are a pair of non-identical sisters called the Elias, individually named Moll and Lora. Moll is renamed Mona in Omni Productions' English dubs for the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy.
In Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. the Shobijin are given the individual names Hio (ヒオ and Mana Hio) (マナ). Likewise, in the GODZILLA anime trilogy, the twin Houtua women who act as Mothra's priestesses have the individual names Maina and Miana. In Godziban, the Shobijin are named Lune and Luna, while there is also a third Shobijin named Luluvera who is aligned with Battra.
History[edit | edit source]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Fujito, Masako Tezuka, and Kenji Ando 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 Ando, 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 Ando 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 Fujito 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 Ando 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 Fujito, 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.
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. MOGUERA, 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.
- Main article: Elias.
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.
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 sacrificed herself to kill Gigan.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
- Mothra (1961)
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
- Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992)
- Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)
- Rebirth of Mothra (1996)
- Rebirth of Mothra II (1997)
- Rebirth of Mothra III (1998)
- Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)
- Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
- Godziban (Web 2019-) [episodes 11, 26, 29, 35, 40, and 47; special episodes 3-4]
Video games[edit | edit source]
- Monster's Fair (1985) - Microsoft MSX
- Battle Baseball (1993) - Famicom
- Godzilla: Heart-Pounding Monster Island!! (1995) - Sega Pico, PC
- CR Godzilla 3S-T Battle (2006) - Pachinko
The Shobijin acting as cheerleaders in Battle Baseball
Comics[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters (Street Fighter Godzilla one-shot) (1993)
- Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #3 (2011)
- Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths #1-5 (2011)
- Godzilla: Ongoing #6, 8, 10 (2012)
- Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #9, 18-23, 25 (2014-2015)
- Godzilla: Rage Across Time #1, 3 (2016)
- Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors #2-5 (2021)
Songs[edit | edit source]
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:
- "Mothra's Song" (Yuji Koseki version) - Mothra, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Rebirth of Mothra, Rebirth of Mothra II, Rebirth of Mothra III, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
- "Mothra's Song" (Masaru Sato version) - Ebirah, Horror of the Deep
- "Daughters of Infant Island" - Mothra
- "Mahara Mothra" - Mothra vs. Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Mothra
- "Sacred Springs" - Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla
- "Call Happiness" - Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
- "The Song of Prayer" and "Mothra Leo" - Rebirth of Mothra
- "Haora Mothra" - Rebirth of Mothra III
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Merchandise[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The Shobijin are derived from the Ailenas, fairies who accompanied Mothra in the book which Mothra was adapted from, The Luminous Fairies and Mothra. The Ailenas had the same role in the plot, except there were more than two of them.
- The Ailenas name was used in Columbia Pictures' publicity to refer to the Shobijin in Mothra.
- As a reference to their roles as the Cosmos, Keiko Imamura and Sayaka Osawa appear in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II as Psychic Center teachers who speak in unison.
- Mothra has only been featured in three films without the Shobijin: Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In GMK, they are alluded to as two women clad in white (played by sisters Ai and Aki Maeda) watch as Mothra flies over Yokohama. In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, they are referenced through the twin sisters Ilene Chen and Ling.
References[edit | edit source]
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: 
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