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This article is about a character in Higurashi When They Cry.
Overview

Oryou Sonozaki (園崎 お魎 Sonozaki Oryō) is the head of the Sonozaki Family and the Three Families. She is the mother of Akane Sonozaki and grandmother of Mion Sonozaki and Shion Sonozaki. She first appears in Himatsubushi.

Profile

She is the head of the Sonozaki family, one of the Three Families, and the grandmother of Mion and Shion.

She is greatly feared as the heir to the demon.

Because of the anti-dam movement, there is a rift between her and the Houjou family.

(Translated from Entergram's Higurashi Hou website.)

Appearance

Oryou does not have sprites in the original visual novel. Console ports and adaptations show her as an elderly lady who wears a black kimono.

Personality

Oryou pampering a young Rika during a village meeting

Oryou rarely goes out in public due to her age and may seem nice, but when it comes to the Houjou family she becomes very angry and vulgar with her hatred of them. Oryou's threatening aura is such that any opinion she shows or suggestion she makes is carried out by her subordinates no matter what.

Matsuribayashi shows that Oryou is actually very considerate of others, making ohagi every year and sending it to the grave of the dam construction foreman.[1] In Minagoroshi she really did care about Satoko's well-being, but was unable to show direct support for her because she must keep up appearances and her reputation as the leader of the Three Families. Meakashi also shows that Oryou does care for her daughter Akane despite her disowning and has tea with her sometimes.[2]

Background

Oryou is the current head of the Sonozaki family, which alongside the Kimiyoshi and Furude families have ruled Hinamizawa as the Three Families. Oryou's name (お魎) contains the character for demon (鬼) as befitting heads of the Sonozaki family.[3] According to Mion, after World War II, Oryou and her husband Souhei revived Hinamizawa using a massive fortune Souhei obtained from selling food supplies on the black market. The reconstruction helped give the Sonozakis much power and influence among the villagers, however when it was revealed that the food supplies contained human flesh, Hinamizawans started to become ostracized due to the belief they were cannibals like in the old times. Oryou brought peace to Hinamizawa by promoting a sense of unity and encouraging villagers to band together if anyone opposed them.[4] Meakashi reveals that the canned flesh parts were made up by Shion, with her retelling of Hinamizawa's past being half-true.[5]

Oryou's daughter Akane was slated to become the new head of the family, but when she chose to marry a yakuza member despite Oryou's wishes, Oryou disowned her and forced her to remove some fingernails as punishment, allowing Akane's marriage to pass afterwards. Meakashi shows that Oryou also removed her own nails and now maintains a good relationship with her daughter.[2]

When Mion and Shion were born as twins to Akane, Oryou supposedly tried to strangle one of them so that there wouldn't be disputes over the succession, but this never happened.[6] Mion was taught to be Oryou's successor while Shion was sent to St. Lucia Academy.

The Sonozakis were once seen as the weakest link of the Three Families, but during the dam war, the Sonozakis overcame the Kimiyoshis and Furudes in power by discreetly committing sabotage operations against construction workers. The Sonozakis also claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the Minister of Construction's grandson in 1978 to stop the dam project. With this, Oryou became known as a fearsome old woman, effectively making her the true leader of the Three Families and of Hinamizawa itself.

When Shion returned to Hinamizawa in 1982 and made herself publicly known to defend Satoshi Houjou, Oryou ordered that she tear off three of her fingernails as punishment and allowed her to remain in the village afterwards.

Tsumihoroboshi reveals that the Sonozaki family's involvement in Oyashiro-sama's curse and the 1978 kidnapping is a lie. Oryou implies that the Sonozakis are behind everything to make them seem more powerful and influential than they already are.

Relationships

Role in the Story

Watanagashi

At the end of the arc, Oryou's corpse is discovered inside the Sonozaki torture chamber along with several others that Mion kidnapped and killed.

Tatarigoroshi

The credits show that Oryou died in the Great Hinamizawa Disaster.

Himatsubushi

Akasaka obtains a transcript of a meeting between the Three Families when he goes undercover in 1978. At the meeting, Oryou learned that the Minister of Construction's grandson was kidnapped and announces that the grandson shouldn't be harmed, if he were in the village. She also shows knowledge of there being an undercover agent in the village and suggests he be allowed to roam free unless he gets too nosy. Akasaka is shocked to learn that Oryou knows a lot of things she shouldn't.

Meakashi

In 1982, on the night of the Watanagashi Festival, Oryou is informed that there is a fourth victim of Oyashiro-sama's curse. She laughs it off, saying it must be someone who didn't believe in Oyashiro-sama.

Shion returns to Hinamizawa later that year and reveals herself as Mion's twin sister, drawing ire from Oryou and the rest of the Sonozakis. They force her to remove some of her fingernails as punishment.

In 1983, on the night of the festival, Shion overhears Oryou and Mion talking about the curse victims that year, Takano and Tomitake. Shion believes the Sonozakis are responsible for their deaths and for Satoshi's disappearance and knocks out the two of them with her stun gun. Shion brings them to the underground torture chamber to interrogate them, but realizes she accidentally killed Oryou when she tased her. Shion ensures the old lady is dead and angrily abuses Oryou's corpse as revenge for the way she treated Satoshi for all those years. She displays the result in front of an imprisoned and horrified Mion before throwing it into the well. The police recover Oryou's corpse when they raid the place.

Tsumihoroboshi

Mion reveals to Keiichi the Sonozaki family's bluff, being that they take credit for a lot of things, including the 1978 kidnapping, to make them seem more influential and intimidating.

Minagoroshi

Keiichi meets Oryou in person

When Satoko's abusive uncle takes her back to live with him, Keiichi and the rest of the club protest the child consultation center to help her. They decide to get the Three Families' support and convince Kiichirou, however Oryou is still a problem. They visit the Sonozaki main house and appeal to her, however Oryou believes Satoko will be just fine. Keiichi tries to convince Oryou that he'll get Satoko to apologize on behalf of the Houjous if she gives her support, but Oryou still won't budge. Keiichi then threatens to kill Oryou and make Mion the next head, and Oryou gets incredibly angry and sends the club out.

Kiichirou and Akane talk with Oryou in private, and they report to the club that Oryou will lend her support. In truth, Oryou really did worry about Satoko but couldn't just forgive her publicly since it would damage the Sonozaki's reputation, and she hoped that her death would fix that. Oryou agreed to support Keiichi, but only if they make up a story that Keiichi tried to choke her and she capitulated out of respect. Oryou goes to speak with the town mayor the next day, and Satoko is ultimately saved.

Oryou is killed during the Great Hinamizawa Disaster.

Matsuribayashi

The Connecting Fragments section details the start of the bad relationship between Oryou and the Houjous, and her eventual desire for a new wind to come in and change Hinamizawa. Oryou expresses how Mion coming to her the day Satoshi disappeared is what made her realize that the Houjou situation won't resolve itself over time.

When Oryou and some other villagers hear that Rika is sick, she asks Irie to take good care of her and Satoko. She also says that the dam war is over and that they shouldn't worry about the curse anymore; this suggestion is what allows the villagers to start forgiving Satoko and wishing her well.

Other Appearances

Higurashi Gou/Sotsu

Satokowashi

After the events of Matsuribayashi, during the 1984 Watanagashi Festival, Kiichirou, Oryou, and Rika announce that the dam war is officially over and Oyashiro-sama's curse is no more.

Satoko uses Eua's power to force Rika to repeat the June 1983 scenario.

Watadamashi/Wataakashi

On the night of the festival, a deranged Mion takes Shion's stun gun and knocks out a sleeping Oryou with it, intending to ask her about the truth regarding the Sonozaki family's involvement in the curse. Mion carries Oryou to the torture chamber, straps her to a cross, and tries to interrogate her, but she realizes she accidentally killed her with the taser. Mion throws Oryou's corpse into the well, which the police later discover after raiding the Sonozaki estate.

Tataridamashi

Keiichi's group tries to convince Oryou to give her support in protesting the child consultation center to save Satoko. Oryou is reluctant and angrily sends the group out when Keiichi threatens to kill her. Later, Kiichirou and Akane report that Oryou will help. The next day, Oryou and Akane visit the mayor with their concerns.

Kagurashi

After Rika and Satoko's final battle, they end up in a world similar to that of Matsuribayashi's. Oryou and Akane are seen visitng a grave, with Ooishi and Kumagai passing them by during their own visit.

Higurashi Gou (manga) and Meguri

Satokowashi

After the events of Matsuribayashi, in August of 1983, Kiichirou, Oryou, and Rika plan to announce the end of the dam war and open Hinamizawa to outsiders.

Satoko uses Eua's power to force Rika to repeat the June 1983 scenario.

Watadamashi

Oryou, Kiichirou, and Shion's corpsees are found inside the Sonozaki torture chamber's well by the police.

Tataridamashi

Keiichi and the club rally the village to help save Satoko from her abusive uncle. They also get Oryou's help, who at first is unwilling to do eventually agrees.

Nekodamashi

During one of Rika's many death loops, she gets killed by Oryou.


Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Oni

Main article: Ryou Sonozaki

In May 1984, when Mion and Shion discover an old notebook in the underground torture chamber and show it to Oryou, she begins telling them a story about her younger days.

References

  1. Matsuribayashi Chapter 17
  2. 2.0 2.1 Meakashi TIP 23: Disowned
  3. Watanagashi TIP 21: From the Scrapbook X
  4. Watanagashi Day 12-2.
  5. Meakashi Day 24
  6. Meakashi Chapter 1. "According to our long-held family traditions, one of the twins was to be strangled to death right after birth. (...) I heard the hag actually put her hands around my neck right after I was born. ...I don't know what exchange took place in that moment."
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