the four gods

Suzaku
Suzaku, god of the south
Suzaku takes the form of a scarlet phoenix. He protects the country of Konan. In human form he has bright red hair and red eyes. He is the fourth god to be summoned. click here for a picture of Suzaku in human form





Seiryuu

Seiryuu, god of the east
Seiryuu takes the form of a dragon. He protects the country of Kutou In human form, he has long blue hair and his ears are that of a dragon. He is the third god to be summoned. click here for a picture of Seiryuu in human form





Genbu
Genbu, god of the north
Genbu takes the form of a turtle and snake combined. He protects the country of Hokkan. Genbu is the first god summoned, over 200 years ago.





Byakko
Byakko, god of the west
Byakko takes the form a of a white tiger. He protects the country of Saito. Byakko is the second god summoned about 90 years ago.





Behind the scenes--Astronomy

Although Suzaku, Seiryuu, Genbu, and Byakko are characters in a story, they were taken from ancient astronomy of China, and later Korea and Japan.

The sky is divided into four quadrants: one for each of the four cardinal directions and four seasons. They are: The Black Tortoise of Winter (North), The Azure Dragon of Spring (East), The Red Bird of Summer (South) and The White Tiger of Fall (West). There is also a fifth direction, 'center',being the earth. Each quadrant, or 'celestial palace' has seven sei shuku or 'moon stations', otherwise known as constellations. The sei shuku were determined roughly from the relative position of the moon against the stars.

Genbu, name of the god of the north in FY, is taken from the name of the celestial palace of the North. 'Black Tortoise' is a rough translation of 'Genbu' None of the names of the other gods of FY are taken from the names of their respective celestial palace in astronomy.

The assigning of the talismanic animals to the four seasons/directions is somewhat ambiguous. They were adapted over time and were also associated with the astrology of the different cultures. One interesting fact that is worth noting is that while the Red Bird of Summer and the Black Tortoise of Winter are aligned with the path of the sun during their season, the Azure Dragon of Spring and the White Tiger of Fall are opposite to the sun's path in their season. Analogous to this is the position of the Big Dipper. In the summer, the handle of the Big Dipper is pointing South which is the direction of the Red Bird of Summer. In the winter, the handle of the Big Dipper is pointing North, which is the direction of the Black Tortoise of Winter. However, in the Spring, the handle of the Big Dipper points to the East which is the direction of the White Tiger of Fall, and in the Fall, the handle points to the West, which is the direction of the Azure Dragon of Spring.

***information on the astronomy of China/Korea/Japan was found at Star Charts and Moon Stations This site also has lots of other great articles on astronomy. If you like astronomy, this is the place to go visit!