Any person who has played any of the Chuhou Joutai games or any of the Touhou Project NES Demakes that she appears in should know who Kagami Ochiai is – a girl with rainbow-colored hair. She is a member of the Ochiai Clan, one of the most powerful political dynasties in Kozan. Every one of its members is a youkai-born, a spiritual ethnic group in Kozan and is one of the two dominant ethnic groups in Kozan, accounting for one-third of the country’s population.
In Kozan, it’s not uncommon for youkai-borns to be of two or more different species at once – something that Kagami Ochiai and her younger sister Yumi have. Every single one appears to be a phantom of some sort, which they inherited from their father’s side. Their mother’s side also tells them they’re a ningyo – the Japanese word for a mermaid (or merman for its masculine counterpart and merpeople).
The Phantom Side (Kagami’s Father)
Phantoms (known as yuurei in Japanese) are ghostly beings in Japanese folklore. For youkai-born phantoms, they would sometimes wear white kimonos and wear a hitaikakushi (pronounced hee-tai-kak-shi) on their heads on some occasions. The first stage midboss in Chuhou Joutai 2: Paraided! happens to be this. Unfortunately, no official artwork for Kagami wearing such outfit has been produced by Drillimation.
Like any other humanoid being, they still need to eat to survive and thrive, despite phantoms having the spirits of the deceased.
The Ningyo Side (Kagami’s Mother)
Ningyo tend to be more monstrous in Japanese folklore. Unlike traditional merpeople, the body consists of a monkey rather than a humanoid body. Some of them just have a humanoid face on a fish body. In fact, beached merpeople would cannibalize each other to prolong their life or in some cases gain immunity.
In the Chuhou Joutai folklore, Kisumi Torisawa is a ningyo. On some occasions, Torisawa would shapeshift into a ningyo such as when she needs to swim across a river or lake. While Hideo Ochiai and Kisumi Torisawa were on vacation in Japan in 1984, Torisawa took on her ningyo appearance during beach visits, or in some cases visiting an onsen. Unfortunately, onsen tubs are genderlocked, meaning couples can’t spend some time together as visiting one requires you to be stripped completely of clothes, and you can’t wear swimsuits there, whereas in Kozanese onsen you can. Otherwise, they would embarrass themselves seeing each other nude.
One day during their time at a beach, some Kozanese Royal Defense Force officers who were stationed in Japan drafted Hideo Ochiai into the army to fight in the Soviet-Kozan conflict at the height of the Kozanese Revolution. Not wanting to leave his mermaid girlfriend behind, Kisumi Torisawa drafts herself in, while still flying a hawkoon (a rideable dragon that is a hybrid of a gecko and scorpion).
If you want to see Kisumi, alongside her two daughters as ningyo, click here.