THE SILVER CASE: What Is Uehara Kamui?

Published 12 November 2023

But if you’re Kamui… and he’s Kamui… and she’s Kamui… then who’s flying the plane?!

“Kill the past.”
– Fujiwara Kamui, 1994

“Kamui, huh… What is Kamui?”
“There are many ways to explain or understand that.”
– Morishima Tokio and Meru, 2005

“Amongst them, amongst the children
one child carrying a plain little bow and plain little arrows
is mingling with the rest. As I look
a pauper’s child he seems, from his clothing too
it is clear. Yet a careful look at his eyes
reveals that he is the offspring of a worthy person,
a bird of a different feather he mingles with the rest.
To a plain little bow he fixes
a plain little arrow, he too aims at me.
Then the children of paupers of old now rich burst into laughter
and they say
‘Oh how ridiculous
a pauper child,
that bird, the divine bird
doesn’t even take our golden arrows, one like yours
a pauper child’s plain arrow of rotten wood
surely he’ll take it all right
that bird, the divine bird.’
So saying they kicked and beat
the pauper child. Not a whit minding
the pauper child aimed at me.
Looking at how it was, I was touched with pity.
‘Silver droplets fall fall all around me
golden droplets fall fall all around me.’ So singing
slowly in the big sky
I was making a large circle. The pauper child
one foot far out and the other foot close by
biting his lower lip, aiming awhile
let it go. The little arrow flew
sparkling toward me, so I extended
my hand and took that little arrow.
Circling around and around
I whirled down through the whistling wind.”
– Kotan-kor-kamuy or Chikap Kamui in “The Song the Owl God Himself Sang” by Chiri Yukie, 1923, as translated by Kyoko Selden, 6–7

“Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.”
– Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, 1852

“Well, actually. I wanted to tell you how amazing these burgers are.”
– Uehara Kamui, 2017

Chapter 1: Toss Common Sense out the Window

Screenshot from "Decoyman." A window in the upper left shows a closeup of Morishima Tokio's scared left eye. In the lower right is his dialogue box. It says, "You're Kamui!!"

This essay follows a YouTube video I made about Grasshopper Manufacture’s 1999 adventure game The Silver Case. For more information on what that means, I suggest watching this video, “THE SILVER CASE: Killing the Past with Kusabi Tetsugoro.” I intended it as a companion to this essay and wrote the following under the assumption the reader knows what I expressed there.