|Romaji name||Kuze no miya|
|Other names||Manor of Sleep (in dreams)|
|Function||Was a working shrine in its heyday, is now an abandoned residence and supposedly haunted house|
|Status||Abandoned/Destroyed by the Rift|
|Game||Fatal Frame III: The Tormented|
The Kuze Shrine is a setting in Fatal Frame III: The Tormented. It is the real world version of the Manor of Sleep and is only seen in the beginning of the game. It appears to be abandoned and in complete disrepair. Rei goes to the shrine for an assignment when she sees an image of her fiancé Yuu and begins to fall under the tattoo curse.
Before it's destruction sometime between 1860-1888, the Kuze shrine had a reputation as a place where the living could meet their dead loved ones and find peace and closure. It was also a place where the living could go to have their suffering, or the suffering of their dead loved ones, taken away.
The Kuze shrine was originally built by the Moriya family of specialized Shrine Carpenters over a cenote-esque entrance into the land of the dead. The entire shrine was designed to contain and control the possible spread of the Rift (the dream-like between world straddling the worlds of the living and the dead). As such, the original shrine was built with progressive layers of protection to act as fail safes in order to prevent accidental spread. The Outer sections were more for more general purposes and use, while Inner layers were used for more secret or sacred purposes, the closer one got to the central cavern.
During the final stages of construction the shrine carpenters were sacrificed and placed in the shrine's foundations to become "Hitobashira", or "living pillars" standing between the Inner and Outer portions of the shrine. Their role is to strengthen the shrine, acting as a barrier between the worlds, and containing the Rift from spreading. Whenever new construction or repairs on the shrine are conducted, the building team is again sacrificed as hitobashira, adding additional layers of protection.
The shrine was only open to outsiders for part of the year. In winter, visitors and pilgrims were permitted to travel to the shrine, bringing the bodies of the dead. There, pilgrims, with the aid of the priestesses, would be able to communicate with the dead using dreams to reach into the Rift. Pilgrims who suffered great loss and pain that could not be assuaged through a last meeting with a deceased loved one could have that suffering removed with the Piercing of the Soul.
The Kuze shrine was headed by the Kuze family, which is matrilineal. Men were not permitted at the shrine except under certain circumstances. Male visitors were permitted to enter during winter, and female priestesses were encouraged to seek out sexual partners from among them in order to perpetuate the Kuze line. The chosen men were required to leave once spring came. Male children born to the Kuze family women must be "disposed" of by age 4, either by adopting them out to nearby villages, or by killing them.
Descendants of the direct female line of the Kuze family became the next head of the shrine often serving as Pacifiers when young. Additional positions were filled by outsiders; women or girls adopted from the nearby villages. All priestesses were adopted into the Kuze family if they were not already of the direct line.
Those who lived in the Kuze shrine were extremely isolated from the outside world, and rarely left once they entered. Those who have "felt the pain of the holly" were forbidden from going outside, and kept in seclusion even within the shrine. As stated, visitors to the shrine also wore masks, to prevent the priestesses from forming attachments to them.
It is known that the active "clergy" in attendance at the shrine consisted of:
- 1 Head Priestess, who doubled as the matriarchal head of the Kuze family
- 4 Pacifiers, or Handmaidens. These were young girls, aged 5-9 years old. Representing the 4 cardinal directions and elements, they undertook the majority of the day-to-day tasks and rituals, while also serving as literal handmaiden assistants for the other priestesses.
- 2 Engravers
- 1 Tattooed Priestess
It is unknown if there were additional people or priestesses living in the shrine or what there roles were. The majority of the people disappeared or left before the Kuze shrine was sealed. It appears only those who were used in the sealing, or were left in the building at the time, followed the building into the Rift.
It is also unknown what roles Kuze direct descendants take on between becoming too old to serve as Pacifiers, but before they take on the role of Kuze family head, Kyouka Kuze, the adult daughter and heir of the last Kuze family head, appears to have had no spiritual or ceremonial tasks assigned her. This may have been typical, or due to her mental instability.
It is unknown what sorts of rituals and practices were undertaken at the shrine during the Spring, Summer, or Winter.
In the Meiji period (1860-1888) a disaster known as the Unleashing occurred. As the Sleeping Priestess wandered every night, she spread the Rift, drawing the portions of the shrine and the people in it into the land of the dead. When efforts to stop and trap her failed, in order to contain and control the spread, it was deemed necessary to seal off a large portion of the Kuze shrine, and attempt to seal it into the realm of the dead using the Shrine of Sleep method. While small portions of the shrine had been sealed into the dream world in the past, Reiko Kuze proved to strong to contain, and it was necessary to seal the entire shrine.
A final group Shrine Carpenters sealed the inner portions of the shrine off after the Unleashing occurred, and with the final sacrifice of the Kuze head and the remaining shrine maidens, the majority of the Kuze shrine was trapped in the dream world between the living and the dead.
The Kuze shrine became split. The portions sealed into the dream world became the Manor of Sleep. The only remaining physical structure was the outermost house. With the shrine's most sacred areas now non-existent on the physical plane, and the perishing of the remaining Kuze priestesses, there was no purpose in rebuilding, and the remains of the shrine quickly fell into disrepair.
Eventually, the empty building became a recurring place of many ghost stories and legends, often those revolving around interacting with deceased loved ones.
- Reika Kuze
- Yashuu Kuze
- Kyouka Kuze
- Hisame Kuze
- Minamo Kuze
- Shigure Kuze
- Amane Kuze
- Piercing of the Soul
- Rite of Commandment
- Rite of the Purple Ink
- Rite of Impalement
- Impalement Ritual