|This article is about an organization in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.|
The Three Families of Hinamizawa (雛見沢御三家 Hinamizawa Gosanke), or just the Three Families (御三家 Gosanke), are a group of families that effectively serve as the main governing body of Hinamizawa. They hold frequent meetings to decide village matters however it is usually the Sonozaki family, headed by Oryou Sonozaki, that has the final say in things.
The Three Families were the three oldest families in Hinamizawa (Kimiyoshi, Furude, and Sonozaki) and have run the village ever since it was called Onigafuchi. It was rumored that Onigafuchi's inhabitants were descended from demons, and these three families were as powerful as they were because their demon blood was the strongest. The Kimiyoshi family was originally the strongest of the Three Families and acted as the head of the group. The Furude family was second in influence due to their role as priests and shrine maidens; they guarded the Furude Shrine and acted as messengers of the village's god Oyashiro-sama. The Sonozaki family completed the trifecta, responsible for keeping the villagers loyal to Oyashiro-sama however they were still the weakest. The Three Families despised giving birth to twins, believing that family quarrels would undermine their organizational structure.
- Main article: Watanagashi Festival
The Three Families oversaw and performed human sacrifices in Watanagashi rituals every year as a deterrent against Oyashiro-sama's wrath. As times changed, this became more difficult to pull off and so the traditional Watanagashi ritual fell out of practice.
During the dam war, the Three Families formed the Onigafuchi Defense Alliance and protested the government through it. While the Kimiyoshis acted as the public face of the anti-dam movement, the Sonozakis were acting behind the scenes and took measures to ensure the dam project was stopped at all costs. The project was finally halted when the dam construction foreman was murdered, and the Sonozaki family has since become the true face of the Three Families.
Oryou is effectively the true head of the Three Families and of Hinamizawa itself. There was a large amount of Sonozaki members compared to the other families, and many of them held government positions and other comparable roles. The Sonozaki's influence is such that just about every order Oryou makes is carried out no matter what; if she shows even the slightest bit of concern for something at a meeting, the attendees will silently accept it and work to resolve the issue.
Akane was next in line to be the head, but when she intended to marry a yakuza instead of the other fiance the family planned for her, Oryou disowned her. Oryou's issues with the succession were further exacerbated when Akane gave birth to twins, Mion and Shion. Oryou supposedly triedt o strangle one of the twins as per tradition, but for unknown reasons chose not to. Mion was thus trained to be the next head of the Sonozaki family and often speaks in Oryou's place when she's unavailable. Shion meanwhile was sent to live in St. Lucia Academy.
Watanagashi-hen reveals that the Sonozaki family built a torture chamber near the main Sonozaki residence to continue the Watanagashi rituals in secret.
Tsumihoroboshi reveals that the Sonozaki family's influence actually comes from bluffing. When a major event happens in the village, Oryou pretends as though the Sonozakis were behind it. As such, it was widely believed that the Sonozaki family was behind Oyashiro-sama's curse when in reality they took advantage of the phenomenon to make themselves feared.
The Sonozaki family follows many traditions. Not only did they believe that twins were bad, they also stipulated that family members must tear off their fingernails when they commit a grievance against the family; Oryou and Akane performed this when the latter was disowned, and Mion and Shion performed this when the latter revealed herself publicly as Mion's twin after escaping from St. Lucia. The manga and console-exclusive arc Yoigoshi-hen shows that the Sonozaki family also has a tradition where the new head of the family must ring a ceremonial bell to prove their succession. The bell is locked inside of a special compartment inside of the main Sonozaki residence and must be opened with a special sword.
Kimiyoshi family members have long served as the leaders of the Three Families and are always elected as mayors of the village, however the latter has become a formality in recent times and is thought to be a remnant of the old Onigafuchi system.
While the Kimiyoshi family has a sizable amount of members, they are rarely involved with village matters.
- Rika Furude
- Rika's parents
The Furude family was long revered as the messengers of Oyashro-sama, and females were especially treated with respect. After World War II the family branched out until only one was left in the village, and so they became weaker in influence. The villagers began to grow disdainful towards Rika's father, the head priest when he showed indifference to the Houjou family's support of the dam project. Rika's parents wound up dying in the third year of Oyashiro-sama's curse, leaving Rika the only remaining member of the family. Rika is especially treated kindly by the older villagers, but due to her age and inexperience she doesn't have much say at village meetings.
- Watanagashi TIP 23: From the Scrapbook XI.
- 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."
- Watanagashi TIP 15: From the Scrapbook VII.