The Alternian Zion and the Sufferer

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“The Sufferer started the job...
… Gensokyo finishes it.
… If only he could see this place. He would cry in joy ...”
-- P.H.

Zion in many religions represents a utopian location of peace, unity, and freedom. Such struggles can be seen in many religions, seeking a special spiritual haven or Promised Land. In Abrahamic religions, Jerusalem symbolizes that vision of a Holy City of a spiritual haven. The Land of Gensokyo is now being seen as the Eastern Jerusalem, with many more religions considering the region as a Holy Region.

Comparisons to Jerusalem are often brought up in this context. This is not without significant parallels. In Abrahamic religions they claim Jerusalem their holy city. In Dharmic and Taoic religions, Gensokyo is the Eastern Jerusalem. Alternian followers of the Sufferer also call Gensokyo a holy city in their eyes; the co-existence of humans, trolls, and youkai is the Sufferer’s vision. It does not help that Gensokyo shares a name of a mountain with Jerusalem: Mount Moriya (Moriah).

Of The Sufferer and the Disciple

Gensokyo’s prominence in religious circles have been unprecedented in its history. In essence, it has become a holy site for a slew of religions that somehow co-exist in the little region. One of these unusual religions has been the Sufferer’s messages. Caves within the internals of Gensokyo have yielded a majority of the messages that the Disciple had recorded. The leggings of the Sufferer is also located in Gensokyo in a tower reliquary.

The fabled little region intended to house the remnants of faiths long past in Japan and throughout the world picked up the remnants of the Sufferer’s messages. Various Alternians that supported the ideals of the Sufferer had fled far to Earth to a “desolate, haunted region” of Japan. Centuries later, to ‘present day,’ thousands of adherents come to Gensokyo for religious and cultural freedom. To such refugees, they believe that Gensokyo is their Jerusalem.

Their vision of a casteless society became permanently etched in their society when the Spell Card Contract was created. Its purpose is to give mortals (specifically humans) an equal footing at winning against youkai. Symbolically, the Spell Card is an icon of equality to followers that it became integrated with the religion: the outline of a spell card surrounding the cancer symbol, the restraints of the Sufferer.

-- Aya Shameimaru