Kuji-in "Nine Syllable Seals" originated as a specialized form of Taoist mediation from the Chinese text Baopuzi. It has spread to Shinto, Onmyōdō, Mahayana Buddhism, Ninjutsu and folk magic through out East Asia.
In popular culture, kuji-in has become a way of performing magic. Details vary widely, from empowering a physical blow, to powering up an ofuda, to weaponized ki.
Kuji-in consists of nine mudras and their related mantras. The order is specific: "Rin Pyo To Sha Kai Jin Retsu Zai Zen" (臨 兵 闘 者 皆 陣 列 在 前). This was extracted from the Taoist text, Baopuzi, with the original text being: 臨 兵 鬥 者 皆 陣 列 前 行, roughly meaning, 'soldiers ready for combat form vanguard and march forward'. Although this mantra could have been inspired by another Buddhist text: 靈 鏢 統 洽 解 心 裂 齊 禪, and while both sets of characters are different, the Japanese onyomi pronunciations for both instances are the same.
There is also the long version of these mantra chants, in Sanskrit garbled by Japanese spelling and pronunciation (as in "On nōmaku sanmanda basaradan kan"). In visual media such as anime, manga or a video game, the associated kanji may be overlaid as each seal is performed. At minimum, only the mantras are spoken.
Kuji-kiri ("Cutting the nine syllables") is a variant where instead of doing the gestures the user does a straight slash with a hand or finger for each syllable, alternating between horizontal and vertical cuts.
- Sailor Mars from Sailor Moon is able to immobilize monsters using this, namely reciting the (short version of) chant then hitting the monster in the face with an Ofuda while shouting "Akuryō Taisan" (Literally Evil Spirits begone)
- The Dic dub tried to cut this out and replaced the chant and subsequent Evil sprits begone with with "I summon the power of Mars, Mars Fireball Charge" despite having nothing to do with her powers as Sailor Mars, (or fire for that matter) instead coming from her Miko training, leaving fans confused as to why she could perform it untransformed. They later tried to fix it by replacing it again with simply "Evil Spirit Begone!" The Viz dub (being more faithful to the original) has her stating the actual chant and shouting out "Evil Spirit, Be Exorcised!"
- She later combined the move, albeit with a different chant, with her Fire Soul creating Fire Soul Bird.
- In the manga, Akuryō Taisan is a fire attack but only when Sailor Mars was transformed.
- Also in the manga, Minako used it once, copied straight from Rei. Rei was not amused.
- In a filler arc of Inuyasha, Tsukiyomi, a magic- and sword-wielding female samurai, used this to seal Hoshiyomi.
- The Buddhist monk from Ghost Hunt usually uses the longer version of this chant.
- Ayako the Shinto priestess uses the short version of the chant a few times.
- Mai learns the longer version of the chant from the monk and later the shorter version from Ayako so she can defend herself from hostile ghosts.
- X/1999 sees many mages cast their spells this way, specially Subaru Sumeragi.
- In the manga/anime version of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de, the local onmyoji, Abe no Yasuaki, uses this on a regular basis, both the mantras and the mudras (though the Haruka franchise in fact doesn't limit the chant selection used by Yasuaki and Yasutsugu to just this one).
- The Kuji Kanesada is a sword with the nine words of the Kuji on it; "to cut away the souls of man." Sword of Shiki Ryogi from The Garden of Sinners.
- Himiko Se from Vampire Princess Miyu uses similar chants at least twice in the OAV.
- Kantarou from Tactics uses this when fighting youkai.
- Rurouni Kenshin: A pair of filler villains armed with Razor Floss are often heard chanting this to make their abilities seem supernatural.
- The Shinryuuji Nagas of Eyeshield 21 do the long version of this chant while meditating under a waterfall.
- A variation is used in The Twelve Kingdoms to bind Youma into a Kirin's service.
- The databooks and other fanbooks of Naruto use the nine syllabes as titles :
- Hiden: Rin no sho (1st databook)
- Hiden: Hyō no sho (1st fanbook)
- Hiden: Tō no sho (2nd databook)
- Hiden: Sha no sho (3rd databook)
- Hiden: Kai no sho (2nd fanbook)
- Ryo-shihan, Zhou and Chiko from Jungle King Tar-Chan focuses their ki into attacks or healing energy with chants. Zhou at one point explains that the chants themselves are meaningless and they only serve to help the user concentrate and focus their ki into applicable energy.
- Atsuko from Keijo!!!!!!!! uses a variation of this in her "Butt of Vajra" technique. The last syllable of the chant is replaced with "butt."
- The anime Onmyou Taisenki has the Mon users of the show utilize kuji-kiri in conjunction with their control devices, with different combinations of each to summon and control their respective 'Mons.
- Enter The Ninja: Recited by Franco Nero's character near the beginning.
- East Asian folk magic uses this as part of a ritual.
- This is used in a Hong Kong live-action TV show called My Date With a Vampire about an exorcist and her vampire boyfriend as the standard exorcising chant.
- Zhuzen in Shadow Hearts uses this chant when using his magic.
- Tekken: One of Raven's winning poses had him chant this for the sake of coolness. Also, in Yoshimitsu's story mode, Raven teaches him to do it the correct way.
- Super Robot Wars Gaiden: Hwang Yanglong uses the gestures in a number of attacks with his Granveil, usually in conjunction with a flame on the end of its fingers. His Finishing Move, "Kafuu Seiunken", starts with him chanting "Rin Pyo To Sha Kai Jin Retsu Zen GYOOOO!" to summon an ornate flaming jian; in most games the letters flash on screen as he chants, with Alpha Gaiden notably making them Instant Runes that fuse together to form the sword. Its upgraded version "Hougu Kafuu Seiunken" turns the chant into Punctuated Pounding, then knocks the opponent back with a Hand Blast which transforms into a flaming dao.
- In Psychic Force, Genma Rokudou's ultimate involves him throwing a talisman, chant this word, and the talisman generates massive explosion.
- In Super Street Fighter IV the urban ninja Guy chants this as one of his personal actions, complete with the Hand Seals.
- Neo Geo's Double Dragon fighting game character Amon (a ninja), also chants this as part of his ultimate move.
- In Samurai Warriors, both Hanzo Hattori and his rival Kotaro use this chant.
- The kanji are used in Tenchu 3: The Wrath of Heaven/ Return from Darkness (same game, different consoles). Each stealth kill you get lights up from one half to one and a half kanjis, depending on the kill method and the target (dogs are only worth half, frontal stealth kills get you one and a half). If all are lit up, you learn a new move but you need to beat the level in question to be able to keep it.
- They're also used in the XBOX version of Ninja Gaiden — Each 'Life of the Gods' jewel you get lights up a meter by one. Find or make a complete set of nine and your health bar increases. Also, when dialogue is set to Japanese, Ryu will shout the chant to cut a stone platform out of the ground so he can fight the penultimate boss.
- In Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword, tracing the Sanskrit letter on the touchscreen will activate the ninjutsu associated with it.
- In Day 5 of Ninja Gaiden 3, Momiji recites one prior to the Obaba boss fight to create a Force Field.
- Kuji-In Rin, Sha, and Retsu appear in City of Villains as player-character abilities for the Stalker (read: Backstabber) class. Respectively, they provide protection from certain status effects, act as a self-healing ability, and provide temporary near-invulnerability (of the "95% of attacks miss" sort). Ninja Masterminds have Kuji-In Zen, which is the final upgrade to the abilities of their henchmen.
- Used liberally in Touhou Project, with several human characters using paper talismans, and Sanae using a spell card specifically named 'Nine Syllable Seals'.
- Bang Shishigami from BlazBlue attempts to chant one for a fire jutsu. Unfortunately, before the last syllable, he sneezes, causing the jutsu to run amok.
- In Onmyōji's Summoning feature, these can be heard chanted by Seimei and occasionally by Yaobikuni.
- Emon Five from Otomedius recites this chant while charging his D-Burst attack. He runs out of time during the charge period, so he ends it by shouting "Pierce them!" instead of the final phrase.
- Konoha from Arcana Heart chants this in the Vs. screen and while doing her Critical Heart during Extend Force. Nazuna also does this during her Critical Heart with kuji-kiri motions which notably requires the player to input the correct motions for her to do the ritual correctly, otherwise it will backfire on her.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Before performing certain techniques, Yiga footsoldiers summon a red magic circle inscribed with the Hylian characters for "RPTSKJRZZ". Maz Koshia has a near-identical circle using characters from the ancient Sheikah language.
- One of the summoners from Vantage Master Japan is a Buddhist priest who uses this chant to summon things.
- Rarely, one can hear this chant from Genji in Overwatch, during the beginning of a match, as a voice line.