The Vermilion Bird is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. According to Wu Xing, the Taoist five-elemental system, it represents the fire-element, the direction south, and the season summer correspondingly. Thus it is sometimes called the Vermilion Bird of the South (南方朱雀, Nán Fāng Zhū Què). It is known as Zhū Què in Chinese, Suzaku in Japanese, and Jujak in Korean. It is described as a red bird that resembles a pheasant with a five-colored plumage and is perpetually covered in flames. It is often mistaken for the Fenghuang due to similarities in appearance, but the two are different creatures. The Fenghuang (similar to the phoenix in western mythologies) is a legendary ruler of birds who is associated with the Chinese Empress in the same way the dragon is associated with the Emperor, while the Vermilion Bird is a mythological spirit creature of the Chinese constellations.
Seven Mansions of the Vermilion Bird
As with the other three Symbols, there are seven astrological "Mansions" (positions of the Moon) within the Vermilion Bird. The names and determinative stars are:
|Mansion no.||Name (pinyin)||Translation||Determinative star|
|22||井 (Jǐng)||Well||μ Gem|
|23||鬼 (Guǐ)||Ghost||θ Cnc|
|24||柳 (Liǔ)||Willow||δ Hya|
|25||星 (Xīng)||Star||α Hya|
|26||張 (Zhāng)||Extended Net||υ¹ Hya|
|27||翼 (Yì)||Wings||α Crt|
|28||軫 (Zhěn)||Chariot||γ Crv|
Nature of the symbol
The Vermilion Bird is elegant and noble in both appearance and behavior, with feathers in many different hues of vermilion. It is very selective about what it eats and where it perches.
In popular culture
- In the mobile game Puzzle & Dragons, the Vermilion Bird is depicted as a beautiful, phoenix-like, winged woman who wields the power of flames, known as the "Incarnation of Suzaku, Leilan".
- In the Beyblade series, the Vermilion Bird is called Dranzer.
- In B-Daman Fireblast, the main protagonist Kamon Godai's B-daman is named Drive Garuburn, whose B-Animal is the Vermilion Bird of the South.
- In the Digimon series, Zhuqiaomon is designed after it.
- In the Fushigi Yugi series, Miaka Yūki's journey in the Universe of the Four Gods involves her becoming the Priestess of Suzaku. The god is shown as a bird for most of the series, with only the final few episodes showing him in a humanoid, winged form.
- In the video game Final Fantasy Type-0 the Vermilion Bird is the name of one of the four Crystals of Orience, representing the Dominion of Rubrum.
- In the video game Final Fantasy XIV Suzaku is one of the auspices introduced in the second expansion of the game, Stormblood.
- In the film Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris, the monster Iris is at one point suggested to be the Vermilion Bird.
- In the Yu Yu Hakusho series, Suzaku is portrayed in a humanoid form as leader of the Underworld group The Four Beasts.
- In the Sunrise anime series Code Geass, a character is named Suzaku Kururugi.
- In the video game Nioh, there is a spirit guardian phoenix named a Suzaku that will resurrect players upon death by activating their living weapon. Once the living weapon runs out, the player is brought back with one hit point.
- In Tokyo Majin, the Vermilion Bird has a vessel who is a character known as Marie Claire.
- In Kemono Friends, the Vermilion Bird is anthropomorphised along with the other Chinese Four Symbols.
- In Yami no Matsuei, the Vermilion Bird, known only as Suzaku, appears as a shikigami that is summoned by Asato Tsuzuki
- In Overwatch's 2018 Chinese New Year (Year of the Dog) event, Mercy, one of the game's support heroes, has a cosmetic skin based on the Vermilion Bird.
- In World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, the Vermilion Bird has been used as the major inspiration to create Chi-Ji, the Red Crane.
- In Sekiro, the upgrade to the Loaded Umbrella prosthetic tool, Suzaku’s Lotus Umbrella is a red shield that protects the player from fire damage.