Rengoku is a fictional city in Japan that serves as the main setting for much of the Soul Embrace series, with a large chunk of its protagonists hailing from there. It is seen as a very dismal place in many circumstances, with many of its citizens having suffered some terrible loss and all having limitless potential if they could only leave the city’s borders. As such, Nobuyuki Honda calls Rengoku the “City of Angels Without Wings”.
Rengoku has a total area of 16 km² and a total population of 199,500. It is divided into two halves by the Seishin River. It is surrounded to the west by a series of forested mountains, chief among them being Mount Yurei. To the east are a series of grassy plains eventually leading to an open and unnamed bay.
Rengoku was officially founded as a city in the late 1800s, though settlements existed in the area as far back as the Warring States period. Many legends are peppered throughout its history, with most of them hovering around the existence of demons.
In the early Warring States period, there was said to be a gate to Yomi (the Shinto underworld) situated within the area. From there, demons poured out and wreaked havoc upon the land, terrorizing and slaughtering the helpless villagers without mercy. This went on until the villagers were visited by the army of the notorious warlord Oda Nobunaga. Nobunaga promised the people that he would permanently seal Yomi’s gate if the villagers pledged their support to him and his cause. The villagers agreed, and Nobunaga and his soldiers set to work driving the demons back, placing a shrine to Izanagi (the Shinto god of creation) before the gate once the way was clear.
Many years later, Christian missionaries arrived in the land to introduce their religion to the natives. Upon arriving in Rengoku, they deemed the shrine too beautiful and meaningful to the villagers to attempt to replace it. Instead, they constructed a cathedral around it and made it so those of both the Christian and Shinto faiths could come and pray together in peace. That cathedral would later be called the Church of Izanagi.
The Fires Rise
Alas, this peace was not to last. Many disasters from the twentieth century onward caused Rengoku’s people to lose faith in the divine as a whole. Chief among them was the arrival of Shinkokira, and with fear and doubt ruling the lives of its inhabitants, the city was set upon by demons yet again.
Continued history under construction…
Dai Tenshi High School
The city’s main institution for secondary education. Despite the city’s reputation for melancholy, Dai Tenshi is among the highest ranked high schools in Japan. This is in large part due to its relaxed approach to its students and enabling them to learn at their own pace, its and the tact and charm of its current principal Jiro Sasaki. Its motto is “Hope shall forge the path”.
The majority of the main cast of Soul Embrace are Dai Tenshi students.
Church of Izanagi
The legendary cathedral sits only a block or two from Dai Tenshi High School and sees a very large attendance when services commence. The shrine to Izanagi remains fully intact and is kept in pristine condition. It is noteworthy for both the sakura tree growing in its center, as well as the one-of-a-kind stained glass windows, three depicting the acts of Jesus Christ and three depicting the Shinto deities Susanoo (god of the sea), Tsukuyomi (god of the moon), and Amaterasu (goddess of the sun).
A large river splitting Rengoku into two halves. It runs several miles to an unnamed bay east of the city. Nobuyuki Honda fought the archdemon Baal on the bridge built over this river.
A public park on Rengoku’s eastern half, recognizable by the circle of trees around it and the large fountain toward its center. It is a popular location for concerts, and was also the location where Nobuyuki Honda and his friends met the archangel Uriel and fought the archdemon Astaros.
Additional locations under construction…
- Fitting Nobuyuki’s nickname for it, “rengoku” is a Japanese word meaning “purgatory”.
- Rengoku’s area and population are roughly the same as Tokyo’s Shibuya district.