|First mentioned: ||May 7, 2007 |
yamagatofellowship.org is the real-life website for Yamagato Fellowship, the gallery owned by Yamagato Industries. The gallery was headed by Kaito Nakamura until he was succeeded by his daughter Kimiko Nakamura.
The site contains an English translation (transcript) of a speech given by Kaito Nakamura (the original speech in Japanese is also available in video form), stating how history has always told the stories of heroes. It also has links to a repository and a videos and events page (which is currently unavailable).
The repository page of the website features images and stories of a select few mythological and real-life heroes including:
Takezo Kensei is a revered hero from Japanese history. You can learn more about him by watching the original Yamagato Fellowship production, Takezo Kensei: Sword Saint. Kensei, a swordsman, fought dozens of battles in the name of defending the people of Japan from those who sought to take their freedom.
- A wild savage turned master swordsman whose heroics helped unify Japan.
- Takezo found a sword frozen in the snow that helped him focus all his strength and courage. Some say this sword, and Takezo's power, were a Godsend.
- With war threatening to fracture Japan, he went to the Dragon of Kiso Mountain and asked him to teach him the secrets of the sword. The Dragon agreed to help in exchange for all of his love. Takezo loved a princess with all his heart but knew Japan would fall if he did not triumph, so he agreed. The Dragon taught him and he became Kensei (a sword saint).
- With his newfound knowledge, Kensei fought and won a great battle – thus saving his people. After the battle, the Dragon came to Kensei's palace to collect on their deal. The Dragon demanded the life of the princess. Kensei refused and cut out his own heart, handed it to the dragon and said, "My love is in here. Take it." And then he died. When the Dragon saw what Kensei was willing to sacrifice for his people (and his love) he was so moved that he replaced Kensei's heart and breathed fire-life back into the swordsman.
- The Takezo dynasty went on to rule Japan with valor and love for a hundred years.
Why He Is a Hero
Takezo Kensei stood up to Japan's worst villains in the name of defending his country and its people. With great inner strength and a sense of true and righteous purpose, Kensei set out to correct hundreds of wrongs, and he succeeded in doing so.
His heroics were especially important coming as they did at a pivotal time in Japan's history. With trade opening to the West and guns entering the country for the first time, the very fabric of Japanese society was beginning to pull apart, making the country an easy target for warlords hungry to seize control.
Beowulf was a young Swedish warrior who defeated the vicious monster Grendel, as well as the monster's mother, and eventually became the leader of his people. Among a number of mythological accomplishments, Beowulf was documented performing frequent superhuman physical feats, including swimming across several miles of ocean in full armor and defeating several opponents with his bare hands.
- In some prominent accounts, Beowulf's most unusual abilities are linked to sleep. On at least one occasion, he was observed fighting a battle in a different, more powerful form while in fact asleep; upon awaking, he resumed his normal form.
- Beowulf served the Danish court of King Hroogar. Hroogar had built a great hall for his people as a reward for their loyalty.
- When Grendel attacked Hroogar and his men in the hall, Beowulf fought the beast and tore it's arm off at the shoulder. Grendel then fled home to die.
- Enraged at her son's death and thirsty for revenge, Grendel's mother battled Beowulf. When his sword (Hrunting) did not harm her, Beowulf took an enchanted sword from Grendel's mother's armory and beheaded her.
- He returned home a hero; King Hroogar anointed Beowulf king.
- Beowulf ruled the Geats for 50 years, until his realm was terrorized by a dragon whose treasure had been stolen. He attacked the dragon with his thegns, but they did not succeed. Beowulf decided to follow the dragon into its lair, at Earnanæs, but only his young Swedish relative Wiglaf dared join him. Beowulf finally slew the dragon but was mortally wounded and was carried out by Wiglaf.
- The dragon's treasure was buried with him so that no further curses would fall upon his people.
Why He Is a Hero
Beuwolf displayed a selflessness of spirit that all true heroes must possess. Always putting his people first, Beuwolf fought terrifying monsters so his country could thrive; in the end, he even laid down his own life to save his people from a terrible dragon.
Besides his skills as a warrior, Beuwolf was also a gifted and fair leader. Like so many other heroes, Beuwolf's focus was never narrow--he understood that true heroes are heroes in everything they do, whether fighting a dragon or managing a growing country with a fair and even hand.
Never despotic, ruthless, or mean, Beuwolf was loved by his people for his selflessness and for his skills off and on the battlefield, making him a role model for all current leaders and those who await their time in the spotlight.
Amongst the Norse gods, Thor was the strongest in all of Asgard. His unmatched strength, doubled by his magic belt, made him the only individual strong enough to wield his mighty hammer, named Mjöllnir, from which lightning and thunder issued. With this power, Thor protected the ordinary people--the farmers and peasants--against ruthless Viking chieftains who sought to gain power and land.
- Thor's benevolent use of power angered those who envisioned more nefarious uses for Mjöllnir, and one day while Thor slept, a giant stole his hammer.
- Unable to wield the hammer himself, the giant offered to return Mjöllnir to Thor in exchange for a goddess's hand in marriage.
- With no other choice, Thor sent the goddess on a bridal chariot to the giant's land. Upon spotting the chariot, the giant called a sumptuous bridal feast. The bride displayed an amazing appetite and devoured an entire ox. This confused the giant. The goddess explained she was famished from her travels. When the giant lifted the bridal veil to sneak a kiss, he noticed her eyes blazing in fury. This also confused the giant. His bride explained that her eyes hurt from lack of sleep. Finally, when the marriage was consecrated by placing Thor's hammer in the bride's lap (as is the Norse tradition), the bride dropped her veil revealing her true identity--Thor! The giant barely had time to realize the deception before Thor struck him with Mjöllnir, killing him.
- Victorious, Thor returned to Asgard with hammer, ready to protect ordinary people with its mighty strength.
Why He Is a Hero
Heroes always stand up despots and protect "the little people" who know no other hope. With his mighty hammer, Thor protected ordinary people through strength and cunning, never backing down from a challenge.
For generations, the people of ancient Germany looked to Thor for protection from those that sought them harm. Like most heroes, it wasn't just Thor's physical prowess that made him a legend. He often used his natural intelligence and playful sense of cunning to achieve victory, proving that mind can be just as powerful as matter, an important lesson that is just as vital today as it was during the time of the Germanic gods.
Gawain, sometimes referred to as "Gralchmei," was King Arthur's nephew and, according to many, the greatest Knight of the Round Table. His loyalty to Arthur, skills at both fighting and healing, and his innate sense of justice has established him among the pantheon of the world's greatest heroes.
- His knowledge of herbs made him a great healer.
- He served King Arthur faithfully and without question.
- When his brothers Agravain and Mordred wished to expose Lancelot's affair with Guinevere, Gawain tried to stop them from hurting Arthur.
- Gawain was asked by Arthur to guard Guinevere's execution with his brothers, but despite wishing to please the king, Gawain refused to do so as he felt killing Guinevere was wrong.
- When Gawain's brothers were killed by Lancelot during his rescue of Guinevere, Gawain vowed revenge on the former Knight of the Round Table.
- When Gawain and King Arthur traveled to France to defeat Lancelot, the greedy Mordred usurped the English throne.
- Gawain was mortally wounded while fighting his evil brother's forces, but apologized to Lancelot before dying, begging the Knight to return to England and restore Arthur to his rightful place on the throne. Lancelot then returned to England and helped defeat Mordred's forces.
Why Is He a Hero
The strongest and most vital heroes are usually the most rounded as individuals, adept at numerous skills and guided by an unwavering moral compass. Perhaps no other hero embodies these qualities as strongly as Gawain, knight of the Arthurian round table.
Whether or not there was an actual historical Gawain remains open to speculation, but like many heroes whose lives are a blend of fact and fancy, that should hardly matter as the tales that have reached from the ages have much to tell about being a hero.
Most of all, Gawain was a hero of integrity. He was intensely loyal to Arthur and to his own innate sense of what was right and what was wrong. His skills with the sword were legendary and always used against the forces of evil, no matter the peril to his own person. Besides his skills at war, Gawain was also a man of science; his knowledge of the herbs and the healing arts was well known throughout Arthur's kingdom.
Gawain is a role model for all those who wish to educate themselves in multiple disciples, especially when that education is used to stand up against forces of evil and oppression.
The son of a Lakota medicine man, Crazy Horse was a brave warrior who spent his entire life fighting to preserve the traditional ways of his people. From the age of 12 until his death, Crazy Horse's bravery was unmatched and he never turned away from a righteous battle, even in the face of seemingly impossible odds.
- Crazy Horse first displayed bravery at the age of twelve when he protected his younger brother from a charging bear by putting him up in a tree. Crazy Horse then mounted his own steed and diverted the bear.
- During a vision quest when he was a teenager, Crazy Horse saw the design that would mark his face when he rode into battle with his people--a lighting bolt across his cheek and three red hailstones painted on his forehead.
- Crazy Horse led the Lakota against the Crow, Shoshone and Blackfeet, but when the US Military began to threaten his people, he and the Lakota joined forces with the Cheyenne to protect their way of life against their common enemy.
- Crazy Horse's bravery earned him the title of "shirt wearer" or war leader. In this role, he led fifteen hundred Lakota and Cheyenne against The US Army. This prevented General Crook's soldiers from aiding Custer at Little Bighorn--ultimately leading to one of the most notable defeats in military history.
- Crazy Horse saw that continued combat was weakening his people to the point of starvation, so he surrendered to save his tribe.
- As the result of a misunderstanding during negotiations for a reservation, Crazy Horse was arrested and stabbed by an infantryman's bayonet. He died and his body was claimed by his parents, given its proper respects and laid to rest in the land he was trying to preserve.
Why He Is a Hero
Heroes are leaders, and leaders fight their battles with an unwavering sense of purpose and focus, no matter the odds. Crazy Horse embodies this fundamental principle in a very tangible way.
For almost two decades, Crazy Horse took on the United States military with smaller and technologically outmatched forces. His most famous battle, the Battle of Little Bighorn, was against General George Custer. Little is known about Crazy Horse's actual involvement in this legendary fight, but his previous attack against General George Crook paved the way for the Lakota victory against Custer and his men.
Heroes don't back down. While they may be afraid, their courage always sees them through, to one end or another. Heroes fight for what they believe in and have the leadership skills to align others in their cause.
Though some might say that great heroes are born and not made, everyone can apply the courage, valor, and duty displayed by Crazy Horse in the battles, but little and large, that we all fight in everyday life.
A hero of Greek mythology, Jason led the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece, the mythological fleece of a winged ram whose discoverer would be granted the kingship of Thessaly. To find the fleece, Jason embarked on a long and dangerous quest that, like Ulysses, took him to the most dangerous realms of ancient Greek lore.
- Jason was educated by the centaur named Chiron, who taught him bravery and wisdom.
- He was sent by the fearful ruler Pelias to retrieve the Golden Fleece, a task thought impossible for someone as young as Jason.
- Jason accepted the challenge and assembled an army known as the Argonauts.
- When Jason aided the Thracean king Phineus against his battle with the evil Harpies, the king revealed the location of Colchis to Jason. This was where he would find the Golden Fleece.
- Once in Colchis, King Aeetes promised to give Jason the Golden Fleece if he could perform three specific tasks.
- Aeetes' daughter Medea helped Jason in his tasks, which included plowing a field with a fire-breathing oxen, sowing the teeth of a dragon into the field, and defeating the army of warriors created by the dragon's teeth.
- His last task was to get past the sleepless Dragon that guarded the Golden Fleece. Jason doused the dragon with a sleeping potion from Medea and obtained the Golden Fleece. He then left Colchis with Medea and returned a hero.
Why He Is a Hero
Wisdom and bravery are the defining characteristics that make Jason a hero. In a very real way, these are the twin pillars that define all heroes, making Jason, perhaps, the world's first "action hero" and a role model for all heroes--both real and imaginary--to come.
The visions of strong men and women can stretch through time and still create a sense of wonder and awe. Though history has, perhaps unfairly, painted Khufu as a cruel leader, he managed to take his vision for a great pyramid in the desert and turn it into reality, proving for all generations that nothing is truly impossible.
- Khufu was the 4th Dynasty Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt's Old Kingdom who built the Great Pyramid of Giza, the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing.
- Khufu's full name, Khnum-Khufwy, means "[the god] Khnum protect me." Khufu believed that he was protected by a higher power, giving him the confidence and foresight to build a pyramid as impressive as the Great Pyramid.
- According to legend, Khufu's father, King Sneferu, taught him the art of pyramid building. Although each of Sneferu's pyramids were smaller than the Great Pyramid of Giza, the total volume of stone used in Sneferu's monuments is the largest of all pharaohs in history.
- Rumors whispered throughout ancient Egypt hinted that Khufu was a great sorcerer with otherworldly powers used to construct his massive projects; of course, modern historians have discounted such rumors.
- The Great Pyramid demonstrated Khufu's unprecedented amount of technological advancement, intelligence, and architectural perseverance.
- The entire project of the Great Pyramid of Giza took over 20 years to complete and used 2.3 million building blocks, weighing an average of 2.5 tons each.
- The magnitude of the Great Pyramid exemplifies the brilliance of Khufu's ability to command the material and human resources of his nation throughout his 23-year reign.
Why He Is a Hero
Heroes are persistent. Win or lose, they follow their visions to the very end. Though it took Khufu over 20 years to build his Great Pyramid, his unflagging devotion to the project assured its success.
New technologies were created, architects and artisans were brought in to design and decorate the massive structure, and human labor was hired and carefully managed (though "exploited" might be a more appropriate word in this case).
Such a massive undertaking was heroic in and of itself, but it's Khufu's steadfast determination to see this radical achievement to completion that makes him a hero worth study.
It's nearly impossible to summarize Ben Franklin's effect on the world in a few meager words. Politician, diplomat, writer, inventor, philosopher, raconteur, and all-around visionary, Franklin was a true Renaissance man whose work helped form the United States and launched both a cultural and scientific revolution along the way.
- Formal schooling ends at age 9; in 1718, Franklin begins his printer's apprenticeship with older brother James.
- Begins writing editorials at 16 under the pseudonym, "Mrs. Silence Dogood."
- Publishes his first pamphlet in 1725 entitled, "A Dissertation upon Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain," before returning to Philadelphia in 1726.
- Forms the "Junto" in 1727, a group of intellectuals, artists, and tradesmen looking for ways to improve themselves and their community.
- Creates the Library Company of Philadelphia in 1731, and becomes a Freemason in the same year.
- Publishes the first edition of "Poor Richard's Almanack" on December 28, 1732.
- Creates the Union Fire Company in 1736, the first volunteer fire company in the Colonies.
- Founds the American Philosophical Society in 1743.
- In 1748, he retires from printing and creates numerous business partnerships.
- Throughout the 1740s and '50s, Franklin makes numerous inventions and experiments, including the lighting rod, the Franklin stove, and his famous electricity experiments, most notably the kite experiment conducted sometime in 1752.
- Travels to England in 1757 to protest the influence of the Penn family. He remains in England for five years on various diplomatic missions.
- Returns to the Colonies briefly in 1763 before being sent back to England to oppose the Stamp Act and other measures of British control.
- Franklin leaves London in 1775. When he returns to Philadelphia, the American Revolution has already begun. He helps draft the Declaration of Independence with Thomas Jefferson.
- Becomes Ambassador to France in 1776 and remains until 1785 to lobby the French government on behalf of the United States.
- Returns to the United States in 1785 to participate in the Constitutional Convention.
- In 1787, Franklin is elected president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and signs the United States Constitution.
- Finishes his autobiography in 1788.
- Presents a petition to abolish slavery in 1790.
- Dies at the age of 84 on April 17, 1790. More than 20,000 mourners attend his funeral at Philadelphia's Christ Church Burial Ground.
Why He Is a Hero
Ben Franklin dedicated his life to serving the public good. As a young man, he gently pointed out the foibles of local leaders by writing under assumed names. As he grew in confidence, so did his writing and he became a force to be reckoned with.
His keen insight, wit, and intelligence helped give birth to the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence. His diplomatic skills helped secure the young nation's future through his work in France and beyond.
In addition to his political work, he also gave birth to the modern library and fire department and many of his inventions--in one form or another--are still in use today.
For these and numerous other reasons, Benjamin Franklin is a hero, not only to American but also to the world.
On August 27, 2007, yamagatofellowship.org began airing a five-part documentary about Takezo Kensei called Sword Saint. Interviews were conducted with experts, including Professor Donna Dorn (from the University of Chicago, Japanese Studies), Curator Tatsuya Atsumi (of the Museum of Cultural History in Tokyo, Japan), and Professor Karen Chamberlin (from the University of Cambridge's Literature Department).
For the full article, see Sword Saint.
On February 12, 2008, yamagatofellowship was updated to reflect Kaito Nakamura's succession by Kimiko Nakamura to the position of President of Yamagato Fellowship. A suggestions page was added asking for additional repository requests to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On February 12, 2008, information about Khufu was also added to the repository. A section was added to each of the repository subjects called "Why he is a hero".
On March 3, 2008, Benjamin Franklin was added to the repository page.
On February 24, 2009, the website was updated with a hidden coded message that pops up when clicking on the image of Kimiko Nakamura. The message reads "CKLQBZLLATXTLXNABKOCLECYRLLBKOCLEEHDILNOEXVSX". The message can be decoded with a Vigenere cipher decoder. A related message sent the same by text message to Heroes Evolutions participants reads "USE JN832 THIS TIME", and refers to a line from John 8:32 in the Bible. That line reads "And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Using that line as the cipher, the message becomes "CXISXHELPINGXBUTXRXISXCLOSEXRXISXMADXABOUTXED" or "C IS HELPING BUT R IS CLOSE R IS MAD ABOUT ED".
On February 10, 2010, a message from Hiro Nakamura (email@example.com) was sent to fans who have signed up for mailings:
Greetings fellow Hero!
Now that Claire Bennet has let the proverbial cat out of the bag, we have been revealed to the world. There's no telling what the repercussions of this "outing" will be, but one thing's for sure: our lives are about to change forever.
In order to aid our progress through the tough times ahead, I've set up my new blog at the Yamagato Fellowship:
It's my intention to uncover the secrets of the past to help us navigate the future. Check back every week for new insights and info.
You must decide what you're going to do now. Whether you're with a group, or on your own, the course of your destiny is entirely up to you. I'll do whatever I can to help, and I'll definitely let you know what I find out. Keep an eye out for me in the weeks ahead - I'll be in touch!
In brightest day and blackest night,
Going to the link Hiro provides leads to a blog that Hiro calls his "journal of discovery".
To read more about Hiro's yamagatofellowship.org blog, see A Hero's Quest.
To read more of Hiro's messages to users, see Hiro's messages.
- The kanji underneath the word "Yamagato" in the header translate to "furtherance group". The kanji in the red circle on the far right means "preface" or "beginning".
- Quentin Frady's clue board has the yamagatofellowship.org logo on it. (Dark Matters, Part 5)
The Home page contains links and the English translation of a speech by Kaito Nakamura.
The repository page contains images and stories of mythological and real-life heroes.
The videos and events section states that it is "Coming soon".
The repository page has information about: