God’s Pursuit in The 12 Kingdoms
The Twelve Kingdoms is an in-depth anime that explores 12 countries in a parallel dimension to the real world filled with characters from Japanese mythology. The main character, Yoko Nakajima, is sucked into this world after a storm and, through a random series of events, becomes the leader of one of the countries, which is called Kei.
The anime really goes into the politics in the countries and explores what it means to be a good leader, the consequences of a bad leader, and the way different leadership styles shape each country. One of the most prosperous kingdoms in the parallel world, which is actually just called Twelve Kingdoms, is the kingdom of En.
That prosperity is due in large part to the kingdoms king, Shouryu, a laid-back, confident former feudal lord. Shouryu is always aware of whats happening in En, rarely loses his cool, shows mercy whenever possible and exacts justice when necessary. Out of all Shouryu’s qualities, the one I noticed the most was his desire to make a place for all of his people. Not just some, not just most, but each and every one.
Kouya grew up alone except for a Youma, which is basically a monster, who is his constant companion. After the rebellion, he points this out to Shouryu and tells him to look elsewhere for his citizens, but Shouryu doesn’t back down.
Shouryu: I’ve told you before, I’m here for no other reason than to look after the well-being of the kingdom and its citizens.
Kouya: Well, I suggest you look after someone else then. There are plenty of people who would appreciate it more than I would.
Shouryu: The truth is that I am rather greedy. Given the choice between one million people and one million and one I will always take the latter.
The scene brought me back to the parable of the lost sheep
“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. ”
Kouya was part of the rebellion against the king of En, but Shouryu still wanted him in his kingdom after the rebellion passed. He didn’t even hesitate. And he didn’t just allow him to come into his kingdom, but wanted him to come and actively pursues him. He is also disappointed when Kouya does not want to come. Even though he got back the entire rebelling region, he still specifically wanted Kouya.
It’s encouraging to know that God wanted me in his kingdom. Not just the missionary that has traveled to most countries in the world spreading the word, or the super-involved church member that can volunteer for everything or any of the other members more worthy than I, but me.
Me also…. despite everything.