Grade/Homeroom Class: 2-B Height: 5'3"
Weight: 124 lbs
Birthdate: March 2
Blood Type: B
Hobbies: reading, swimming, hiking, running, playing koto, cooking, helping out around the family's house and shrine
Favorite School Subject: history
Is your character a member of a team or club on campus?: Koto ensemble
Appearance: Nao has grown taller since last year, but she is on the shorter side for her age. Her brown hair is cropped short and chin-length, framing her face (which to her teenage dismay is rather round no matter what she does to try and correct this). Her eyes are wide and a warm brown with golden flecks, with thick long eyelashes. Her skin is pale but now suntanned anywhere a t-shirt and shorts don't cover from being outdoors. Nao has a gentle face, and a tiny, warm smile. Her hands and feet are still pretty small. She looks a bit like a pushover and probably nobody you would notice for beauty in a crowd.
She isn't thin. Not what you'd call chubby, as she is physically fit, but softer and curvier than most of her classmates. When not in her school uniform or her red-and-white miko's robes she tends to wear loose-fitting clothing-- bulky sweaters, long skirts-- and isn't very fashionable. Most of her things are hand-me-downs from her sister or charity donations. She isn't very daring with make-up or hair either. She never wears any makeup and her hair is wash & wear. She has bigger things on her mind than being stylish.
Personality: A shrine maiden at the Kasuga Shrine adjacent to the Kikuryou campus, Kasuga Nao was born and raised in town. She has a strong sense of duty both to her family, to the gods, and to the community at large.
She isn't the brightest student. It takes her a lot of work to understand new concepts in school, but she is a very hard worker who is determined to keep her test scores up. Her grade average is B or C. She's great at memorizing historical data, literature, and poetry but she is not good with English, math, and science.
Nao is a cheerful girl who doesn't demand attention from people. She prefers quiet activities and small groups to noise and chaos. She hates disorder and dirt. She is a clean and neat sort who is happy to help with domestic work or chores such as cleaning, cooking or organizing. This tends to get her teased by her female classmates, who think she's trying to play herself off as Little Miss Perfect. The fact is that Nao is just really helpful and doesn't mind doing tedious tasks.
Nao comes off as a little ditzy at times because she speaks slowly and takes a long time to think about what's going on around her before saying anything. She has a habit of going off on a tangent or letting her imagination run wild, then saying something about those thoughts, forgetting that the other person couldn't hear them. She often makes what she thinks are wise-sounding quotations that are kind of odd-sounding when they're out of her head. She often seems to be daydreaming or head in the clouds.
She's caring and nurturing but has a hard time inferring information or guessing what people are feeling unless told directly and clearly. She is more comfortable listening and offering unspoken gestures than speaking her feelings and thoughts out loud. Nao firmly believes that important or delicate things cannot be accurately put into words.
She speaks courteously to people around her (like she has been taught a good miko should). Her voice is a soft soprano and she has a hard time making herself heard in noisy surroundings. She is very embarrassed of having to speak loudly or in front of large groups. She is most bothered by disrespectful people, people who pick on the weak, and people who take advantage of others. She is prejudiced against wealthy kids and some of the more unsavory community leaders who have taken advantage of her grandfather's help in the past. Nao can be trusting to a fault. She acts impulsively in crisis and makes foolish decisions without considering what the smartest thing to do is.
Nao can be shy and timid but she isn't a loner. She comes from a busy and close-knit household of 5 and she feels a strong urge to be with other people to be with other people as opposed to being completely alone. Partly because of her role as a shrine maiden and partly because she is the youngest, her family can be a little dominant in her life choices, for instance what she is and is not allowed to do, wear, and go; as well as who she can be with. Growing up that way has affected her in that has a hard time making her own decisions-- even with trivial things such as ordering food at a restaurant or what flavor of ice cream to get.
Nao’s family tends to see her as their baby even at 16. It’s true that in the past she was Nao has a lot of fears she's determined to deal with: dogs, the dark, blood, being left alone, boys, making people angry, and especially ghosts are all things that she's always been terrified by. Now that she is in her second year of high school, Nao is determined to become a stronger person and make her family and the world at large acknowledge her as an adult who is ready to take on the job of the shrine's guardian.
Background: The Kasuga family's house is on the grounds of at Kasuga-jinja, the Shinto shrine which is directly behind and adjacent to Kikuryou Academy. The shrine is said to have been created to help bind and put to rest the spirits of the dead who have lost their lives on the ground over the centuries. A graveyard and numerous jizo and other sacred statuary are part of the grounds. The Kasuga shrine seals off and protects two things: the sealed evil catacomb beneath the school, and a sealed holy chambers with powerful relics and regalia beneath the shrine itself. Nao is unaware of what exactly is inside the sealed areas, she is only aware that they must not be breached or fall into the wrong hands, as something very bad could happen. However, the seal beneath the school is deteriorating rapidly, hence spiritual activity becoming worse and worse at school.
The shrine also serves as a roadblock between the school grounds and wild mountain forests to the west, where many monsters and minor gods reside. The Kasuga priest's job is to stop bad stuff from getting into the school where it will get stronger, and also to keep bad stuff out of the holy shrine, which houses some very important things inside that must be guarded at all costs.
During this past year she has taken on more of her ailing Grandpa's work as the guardian of the shrine.
As a miko her duties include elimination of youkai and evil creatures, maintenance of holy seals and the holy barriers, purification of spaces or items, writing protection charms (omamori) and tags (fuda) stamping pilgrimage blessing books (goshuin-cho), offering prayers and music, tending the small store window (where charms and other such lucky things are sold), tending to the altars of enshrined deities, and a lot of cleaning and sweeping.
Nao's family is headed by her aged grandparents. Her grandfather is the Head Priest of the shrine. The family doctor has very recently diagnosed him with Alzheimer's disease and his mind is slowly fading away. Nao, her grandmother and mother share the tasks of caring for Grandpa, cooking and cleaning, and the duties of keeping the shrine. Nao's father passed away when she was very small. She doesn't remember him. No one speaks of him around the house and Nao's elders have never given her a clear explanation of how he died.
Nao has one older sister, who is not a miko because she was found to have no capacity for spiritual powers. Yume is 20 and studying medicine on scholarship at a university in Kamakura.
Nao could see kami and other creatures at times during childhood. Because of her weird background, shabby clothes, etc, and because she was quiet and timid and cried easily, she was picked on a lot by the other kids. When she started developing breasts before the other girls, the teasing got worse. She's afraid of certain kinds of people because of this. She spends a lot of time communing with nature and doing what she calls “listening” to the kami (these are animistic gods and spirits of nature). She refers to deities with respect and treats any supernatural creature or deity she meets in a benevolent or neutral manner until it shows hostile intentions to nature or people. She uses the word “ayakashi” (a more neutral term for a mysterious supernatural being) as opposed to “youkai” or “youma” (an evil creature or demon) until she has a very good reason to. This belief is very important to her. It is one she clashes with her mother and grandmother on at times.
Nao depended on two faithful girl pals in junior high, but they don't go to Kikuryou for high school. The Kasuga girls are given full scholarships to Kikuryou Academy as a courtesy for the family's maintaining the shrine protecting the school. Nao wouldn't have chosen Kikuryou if she could have. Her new classmates are rich and snobby. She gets made fun of-- partly out of jealousy that she's favored by the Principal because of her family's relationship with the Academy. From time to time she hears rumors circulate behind her back about her miko duties, about the graveyard she "lives in," how she talks to nobody at times, how she hangs out in the forest all afternoon doing weird stuff, about her relationship with Principal Narimatsu and how she got into the school. She tries her best to grin and bear it for her family's sake.
Nao finds that her opinionated, busy family members tend to stereotype her based on her childhood behavior and don't recognize the fact that she is her own person and she's changing herself with her own effort. This is a struggle for her these days as she grows up.
Kasuga Shrine has been going into the red for the last three years. People no longer visit the way they used to half a century ago. The school donates the funds necessary to keeping the shrine and the Kasuga family alive out of necessity, but the lack of visitors to the shrine is making things tough. The worry this creates for her mother and grandmother bothers Nao. Nao is mulling over how she could help to rectify the situation.
Does your character have any kind of unusual powers? This is the place to elaborate on that.
Nao is a human girl who has inherited a trainable capacity for spiritual power from her father and grandfather. She is studying hard to increase her capacity for projecting spiritual energy. She has been trained to meditate and use her ki for effects such as calming oneself, breaking mind control, listening or feeling carefully for spiritual energy and kami in her surroundings, and choosing the right object out of a number of objects (such as a lottery, a card, or a number in a drawing). She can feel auras sometimes (with player permission) and can attempt to project her own to a very limited effect.
She can see kami, mystical beasts (ayakashi), and youkai (demons), because they do have a physical body even if they are not always visible to humans, but she cannot see ghosts like Yadoru and Chiaki unless the ghost wants to be seen. Miko handle monsters and deities, onmyouji are the ones who handle vengeful ghosts.
Nao is able to use fuda (holy paper slips with prayers written on them) to make an area sacred, exorcise, or bind evil powers. She also has a special type of fuda which sends out a strong wave or blast of holy energy and can be used offensively, but she is only able to use a certain amount of power per day without injuring herself. She is not completely able to use the very strong ones yet. Ask me for more info. Her grandfather makes the fuda for the shrine-- she is just learning how to do this.
Nao cannot hand-to-hand fight or use martial arts. She's fairly helpless physically in a battle situation except for her attack & defense fuda and her ability to run away. She is pretty good at first-aid.
Living Situation: At home with her family. Since her sister moved out last April, she has her own room for the first time ever.
Relation: Nao is ready to lend quiet support and a helping hand to those in need of it. She will try to protect friends from danger. If a character visits the Kasuga Shrine for a prayer, she'll be there.