|This article is about a piece of terminology in Umineko When They Cry.|
Miko (巫女, lit. shrine maiden) refers to an honorary title given by powerful witches to their protégés as a form of protection and acknowledgement. The title is first mentioned in Dawn of the Golden Witch, when Featherine Augustus Aurora declares Ange Ushiromiya as her miko and reader for that episode. The term "miko" is originally used in Shintoism, to refer to shrine maidens who act as priestesses to the deities they worship; and in historical times, were seen as shamen, who conveyed the "word of god" to common people and performed exorcisms, sacred cleansing and other spiritual services.
Miko seems to be a title of higher honor than "piece " or "furniture", as it is only offered under rare circumstances and seems to come with its own set of privileges and responsibilities. Any character may obtain the title, as long as a witch guardian may choose to bestow it upon them.
A miko enjoys special protection from their witch guardians, and it is mentioned in Twilight of the Golden Witch that any slight towards a miko is seen as an offense towards their guardian. Hence, the guardian witch may offer any furniture at their disposal to their mikos on the occasion of a duel or battle.
As seen in the series, one is made a miko purely based on the whims of the witch guardian, although it helps if they find the protégés interesting in some way. Mikos seem to solely serve the purpose of entertaining their masters, as seen in the case of Ange in Dawn of the Golden Witch and Bernkastel in Requiem of the Golden Witch. Lambdadelta made all the residents of the Golden Land her miko in Twilight of the Golden Witch, simply because she found the ending they wished to spin more entertaining than the one Featherine sought. It is implicit that a miko respect the wishes of their witch guardians and uphold their principles, similar to the duties performed by a Shinto miko.
Known Miko and Guardians
|Ange Ushiromiya||Featherine Augustus Aurora||Dawn of the Golden Witch|
|Bernkastel||Featherine Augustus Aurora||Before the start of the series (implied)|
Requiem of the Golden Witch
Twilight of the Golden Witch
All residents of the Golden Land
|Lambdadelta||Twilight of the Golden Witch|
- The usage of the miko title is also seen throughout Higurashi When They Cry.
- Rika Furude serves as a traditional Shinto shrine maiden to the local deity Oyashiro-sama. She is seen wearing traditional Japanese attire and is in charge of performing a ritual ceremony on the day of the Watanagashi Festival All those in the Furude family who are concerned with the shrine and the faith are also seen in traditional miko attire.
- Kamikashimashi explores the usage of the miko title as a way of earning literal power and strength.
- It is hinted in the Umineko side story Memoirs of the ΛΔ that the Higurashi character Miyoko Tanashi became Lambdadelta's miko when the latter granted the former's wish for certainty in becoming "god".