Houjyun Li

Real Name: Houjyun Li
Suzaku Seishi: Chichiri
Symbol: Well (on his left knee)
Age: 24 (when introduced)
Birthdate: May 21st
Height: 175cm
Family: mother, father, older sister, Kouran (fiance), Hikou (best friend) ...all deceased

The following article was taken from the Fushigi Yuugi Ultimate Fan Guide volume 1. I thought it was interesting so I decided to include it here. The author didn't know much about Chichiri's past, so I added a few notes of my own. (I'm a horrible writer.)

The Fourth Warrior of Suzaku, Chichiri bears his mark on his right knee. His real name is Li Houjyun and, at age 24, he is the oldest of the Suzaku Seven. His Suzaku power manifests itself mainly in the form of magic: he can teleport a short distance, release powerful chi-blasts from his hands, freeze foes in place, and dispel other's magical effects (such as the invisibility cloaking the Kutou spy in Episode 13 used or the spider-strands that restrained Tamahome and Nuriko in Episode 9). He is also able to sense enemies just by attuning himself to his surroundings. Although he mainly relies on his magic, he is also a capable warrior, as demonstrated when he spins his staff to deflect sharpened spikes being thrown at Miaka (Episode 9).

Chichiri is a figure of mystery, someone who prefers to lurk in the background and avoid unwanted attention until he is needed, when he intervenes dramatically and decisively. It is unclear how long he had been shadowing Miaka before he first revealed himself (possibly ever since she returned to the world of the book) only that he first showed himself when the Kutou assassins tried to kill her. He is not seen again until he emerges, arms first, to save her from the assassins at the riverside (Episode 9). After he is finally revealed as a member of the Suzaku Seven, he sits and chats with the others, but when Miaka runs away he quickly disappears again, acting on his own to shadow her from the tree-tops.

It is in this part of the story that the viewer gets to go briefly "behind the scenes," to see how Chichiri acts off screen. He aids Miaka when she tries to get past the Kutou guards at the border without revealing himself (it seems likely Miaka never suspects his presence). He finally shows himself to Tamahome when his fellow Warrior is on the verge of being arrested and hauled off to some Kutou prison where he would be of no use to anyone. Having trusted Miaka to go ahead on her own, Chichiri still must be keeping a careful watch on her, since Tamahome does not begin his assault on the Kutou palace until immediately after Miaka's identity as Priestess of Suzaku is revealed; the attack is too timely to be coincidental. Thereafter, the speed with which he appears when Tamahome seems to be outmatched by Nakago suggests he was shadowing Tamahome at this point; he intervenes as soon as Tamahome is injured, only to do his disappearing act again once Nakago has been distracted and Tamahome is safely away (Episode 11). Finally, his appearance the minute Tamahome realizes he has been locked out of the room Miaka and Yui just entered suggests he has been following Tamahome again but shielding his presence. All these add up to a coherent picture of someone who prefers to avoid attention whenever possible while still being on hand when needed.

Chichiri's propensity for lurking could come across as downright sinister if he were not such a cheerful man. Even so, his first appearance is what The Universe of the Four Gods refers to as the "ghastly hands" that grab Miaka at the very end of Episode 8 in what looks like a kidnapping. It is soon revealed that Chichiri saved her from an impending attack. Likewise, the two arms that emerge from the hat Miaka has slung on her back, reaching out from either side of her to blow away the Kutou assassin at the riverbank, make an unsettling sight. It thus comes as quite a surprise when Miaka confronts her "kidnapper" and finds him to be so mild-mannered. His disappearing-into-the-hat trick makes a deep impression on Miaka; she takes the hat and keeps it, wearing it from that point until he returns to reclaim it, even trying to disappear into it at one point when mortified by the realization that Tamahome knows she followed and spied on him. The fact that it does not work for her shows that the power is his, not the hat's; the hat merely seems to amplify his ability.

Even after they come to know and trust him, Chichiri comes off as a bit odd, even by the standards of the Suzaku Seven. Most obviously, the face they see is a mask; when asked by Miaka if he is okay, he pulls his face off to reveal an identical mask underneath, cheerfully remarking that he "always keeps a spare." It is no wonder that Nuriko thinks he is a "weirdo." Aside from a quick glimpse during the opening credits, his true face is not shown until near the end of Episode 11. During the battle in Seiryu's shrine, Nakago's blast causes Chichiri's mask to fall away, briefly revealing a scarred and disfigured face beneath. In Episode 12, Chichiri deliberately removes the mask to let Miaka see what is underneath. Chichiri's real face closely resembles the happy mask he usually wears, but it is much less comical, less rounded, and bears criss-crossed scars that close his left eye. Like so much else about Chichiri, it has not yet been revealed how he received the injury that marred his face and cost him an eye. (*)

Taiitsukun has trained Chichiri for the last three years. This probably explains his powers working even in an area supposedly shielded against the servants of Suzaku, within which they should be powerless (Episode 11). Not only is he able to enter unseen, but he also unleashes a power blast that nearly destroys the shrine and pushes back Seiryu's champion, Nakago, within his own shrine. Part of Chichiri's talents may be the result of innate abilities rather than powers granted by Suzaku.

More than any other member of the Suzaku Seven (with the possible exception of Hotohori), Chichiri understands what is at stake with the summoning of Suzaku and what will happen to Konan if they fail. Beneath the comic mask he wears and his light-hearted manner lies a deep sense of responsibility. He also feels empathy for others. He does not try to intercept Miaka on her way to Kutou in search of her friend but follows closely to keep her safe. Additionally, he discreetly allows a reunited Miaka and Tamahome a tender moment alone in the Kutou palace, although he is almost certainly lurking nearby. This side of his character is illustrated most clearly when, noticing Hotohori's sadness at being left behind when Miaka sets out to find the last three Warriors of Suzaku, he secretly returns to the palace and switches places with Hotohori. This stunt allows the lovesick Emperor a chance to be by Miaka's side and do his part to aid her in her quest without shirking his other responsibilities.

Chichiri has an odd way of speaking - he ends practically everything he says with the phrase "no da" (you know). This seems to have no particular significance, but is probably another quirk in a character who often serves as comic relief. (**) Underneath, Chichiri is one of the most powerful of all of the celestial warriors.

(*) Buruma's Note #1: Chichiri lost his eye during a confrontation with his best friend Hikou at the age of eighteen. He believed that Hikou stole his fiance, Kouran, away from him. The city is in the midst of a dangerous flood. It's wet and Hikou loses his footing, he is about to fall into the river when Chichiri grabs him by the arm. Hikou asks for him to let go, otherwise they will both die. When Chichiri refuses a large log surfaces from the waves and smashes into his face. He screams in pain and Hikou's hand slips out of his grasp. Within seconds he has lost his friend and his eye to the raging river (OVA 2). The Shouryuu Den gaiden novel also reveals the fact that Chichiri's parents and fiance were lost in the flood that claimed Hikou.

(**) Buruma's Note #2: Chichiri begins using the phrase "no da" shortly after a failed suicide attempt at age twenty-one.

Random Quotes

Chichiri: "Priestess of Suzaku, from now on you must take responsibility for your actions. If you don't, people will suffer on your account."

Miaka: "Excuse me, but the skin on your face is peeling away. Are you alright?"
Chichiri: "It's okay, I always keep a spare!" (Chichiri pulls off one mask to reveal another.)

Nuriko: "You found the fourth warrior, didn't you? Good work, Miaka. Although he is a bit wierd."
Chichiri: "Better weird than gay, no da."

Chichiri: "Shimata no da! (Oh, shut!)"
Tamahome: "Is that another pun?" (Chichiri whacks him.)

Chichiri: "Well, I'm alright no da." (He landed in a tree.)
Tasuki & Miaka: "Well, we're not no da..." (They landed in a pile beneath the tree.)

Chichiri: "You didn't do anything wrong and neither did Yui. You simply aren't able to choose between love and friendship. But whichever you choose, you're going to lose the other. There's nothing you can do about that. That's what this scar taught me no da. It happened when I was eighteen. I was just a kid, like Tamahome. I had a fiance that I loved and a good friend. The three of us were so close and so happy. But then, one day, it all fell apart. The man I thought was my best friend stole my fiance away from me."
Miaka: "What did you do?"
Chichiri: "I completely lost my head. I was so hurt by his betrayal that I didn't even realize what I was doing. I killed my best friend with these hands. I didn't mean to do it. But I remember, even now, the moment he died... I was crying so hard. It was then that I realized how much I loved him. That's when I received the scar no da. And so I will never forget my best friend. The wound will never completely heal but people get upset when they see it no da. That's why I wear this smiling mask to conceal it."
Miaka: "What should I do? I can't fight Yui and I don't think it would solve anything."
Chichiri: "There's only one thing I can tell you. Yui does love you. Even more than you think she does. Even if she doesn't realize it herself, she loves you dearly. That's why she has to try so hard to hate you... And that's why you will be able to save her."

Chichiri: "What's going on, Chiriko?"
Chiriko: "Miaka's acting strangely."
Chichiri: "But Miaka always acts strangely, no da."

Chichiri: "When Tasuki tried to play with him, the boy said 'I don't wanna play with Mr. Scary Face.' and burst into tears no da. But don't let it get you down, your whole body is equally scary no da."
Tasuki: "I don't need this abuse from you!"

Chichiri: "Miaka and Tamahome still haven't arrived. I want to inform His Highness about this but something is interfering with my spells. I'm worried no da."
Tasuki: "Elephant! Dragonfly!" (He's drunk and acting like an idiot.) "Did ya say somethin', Chichiri?"
Chichiri: "That's the last time I try talking seriously with you no da."

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