Touhou Project

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Touhou Project (東方Project, Tōhō Purojekuto) is a series of Japanese bullet hell video games created by Junya Ota, also known as "ZUN". The series has gained a cult following both in and outside Japan, spawning several doujinshi manga, albums, spin-offs, and fighting games.

ZUN is admittedly a big fan of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and has made several references to the series within each game. One of the most notable of which being the character Sakuya Izayoi, whose ability to stop time was inspired by DIO.[1]


Embodiment of Scarlet Devil

Fan anime of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil by Manpuku Jinja

Embodiment of Scarlet Devil[a] is the sixth game in the Touhou Project series. It introduces the character Sakuya Izayoi, a human maid who serves the vampire sisters Remilia and Flandre Scarlet. Sakuya's abilities and attacks are a reference to DIO from Stardust Crusaders,[1] with her combat style prominently involving stopping time and throwing knives at the opponent. Furthermore, one of her spell cards is named "Illusion World: The World," which is a reference to DIO's Stand, The World.[2] She also has a spell card named "Jack the Ripper," which could be a reference to one of DIO's minions in Phantom Blood.

These influences can also be seen in other Touhou games, particularly in the fighting games Immaterial and Missing Power and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody. In these games, Sakuya's attack animations are directly inspired by DIO's moves from Heritage for the Future. Additionally, she posseses the spell card "Sakuya's World," which is a reference to DIO's World.[3] In the spin-off game Impossible Spell Card, one of Sakuya's scenes is named "I Don't Know What Happened," a reference to the scene where DIO uses his Stand to stop Polnareff from ascending a set of stairs. In Double Dealing Character, Sakuya also possesses a spell card that erases time, eliminating the bullets around her, reminiscent of King Crimson's ability.

Marisa's dialogue with Remilia in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil

In Marisa's scenario during Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, she asks the final boss Remilia how many people's blood she's sucked up until now. In response, Remilia says "Do you remember how many slices of bread you've eaten in your lifetime?" This is a reference to the quote between Dio and Zeppeli in Phantom Blood. In The Grimoire of Marisa, Marisa comments on Sakuya's abilities, comparing them to super speed or teleportation. She then states, "Reimu's technique isn't something cheap like that. I'm sure you don't understand what I'm saying, but I don't really get it either." This is another reference to Polnareff's quote, and is also referenced again in the fighting game Hopeless Masquerade.[4]

Perfect Cherry Blossom

Marisa's dialogue with Ran in Perfect Cherry Blossom

Perfect Cherry Blossom[b] is the seventh game in the Touhou Project series. In Marisa's scenario within the game, after she defeats the shikigami named Ran, she asks if she's a "long-distance type" because of how strong she is despite her master being far away. This is a reference to the Long-Distance Stand Type used in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, in which Stands are able travel long distances from their users while still maintaining their power. In Japanese, she even uses the specific term "Long-Distance Operation Type" (遠隔操作型).[5]

Marisa makes a similar reference during her scenario in the game Hidden Star in Four Seasons, where she utters the line "I refuse!", which is a reference to Rohan Kishibe from Diamond is Unbreakable. ZUN has mentioned that this particular line is his favorite in the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series.[6]

Imperishable Night

Imperishable Night[c] is the eighth game in the Touhou Project series. In one of Kaguya Houraisan's spell cards in Imperishable Night, titled "Divine Treasure: Salamander Shield", ZUN mentions in the spell card description that salamanders and phoenixes would need blood that doesn't boil to withstand the fire, specifically comparing them to Esidisi.[7] In the spin-off Shoot the Bullet, Kaguya also has another spell card titled "New Impossible Request: Red Stone of Aja", which is a direct reference to the Red Stone of Aja in the same part.[8] The Red Stone of Aja is also referenced in the spin-off 100th Black Market, in which Eika Ebisu has a spell card titled "Stone Sign: Red Stone Stack of Aja".

In Marisa and Alice's Scenario, after the stage 1 fight with Wriggle Nightbug, Marisa mixes her catchprase of ending sentences with "ze" and Jotaro Kujo's saying "Yare yare da ze" to her.

Subterranean Animism

Subterranean Animism[d] is the eleventh game in the Touhou Project series. During Marisa and Patchouli's scenario in Subterranean Animism against Yuugi Hoshiguma, Patchouli mentions that Yuugi managed to fight against Marisa without spilling a drop of her sake. In an interview, ZUN mentions that this is reminiscent of the scene where Zeppeli tests Jonathan's Ripple skills by having hold a glass of wine, instructing him not to spill a single drop; although ZUN further adds the two characters are unrelated.[9]

Fan-Made Works

"You thought it would be Patchouli, but it was me, Flandre!"

The Touhou Project series is unique in the sense that its creator, ZUN, places very few restrictions on the use of his content in unofficial works, often giving permission to indie developers and artists to distribute and publish their fan-made works through official platforms.

In the game Adventures of Scarlet Curiosity, during an encounter with Remilia on the Extra Route, Flandre will say "You thought it would be Patchouli, but it was me, Flandre!", which is a reference to Dio Brando. In the game Koumajou Densetsu II, Sakuya, Yomu and Remilia share voice actresses with Jolyne Cujoh (Miyuki Sawashiro), Reimi Sugimoto (Ryo Hirohashi) and Yasuho Hirose (Eri Kitamura) in All-Star Battle respectively. Sawashiro also voices Marisa in the fan-anime Muso Kakyo. In the mobile game Touhou Danmaku Kagura, Cirno is voiced by Fairouz Ai who also voices Jolyne Cujoh in the Stone Ocean anime.[10]

Doujin Music Works

"Okina in Dio's pose from the opening."

In the music video "Three Faries SAY YA!!!" by doujin group Shinra Basho, the Hidden Star In Four Seasons character Okina holds a gem in a position and artstyle identical to Dio in the Phantom Blood opening JoJo ~The Fate of That Blood~.

"Mokou holding up a notebook with Sakuya drawn like Dio."

In the music video "The Homework Never Ends" by doujin group Innocent Key, there are multiple references to Sakuya's being similar to DIO, such as her being referenced in one of his Stardust Crusaders poses.

Unlucky Morpheus

Fuki holding Volume 7 of Stardust Crusaders during a Radio Show

Unlucky Morpheous is a Japanese J-Metal band primarily known for doing fan-made Touhou arrangements. The bands lead singer and vocalist, Fuki Commune (formerly a member of "LIGHT BRINGER"), has been a big fan of anime and manga since they were a child, most notably the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series. In a 2014 Interview, Fuki spoke with fellow Japanese singer and voice actresss, Aya Hirano, about her love for the series. Diamond is Unbreakable is her favorite part.[11]

In 2015, Unlucky Morpheus released their fifth EP, "Vampir".[12] The fourth track, "Phantom Blood", is a reference to the part of the same name. Not only is the track featured on an album with a vampire aesthetic, but when translated to english, one of the lyrics reads "I grabbed the mask; the time is to come", likely referring to Dio Brando rejecting his humanity upon using the Stone Mask.

Kisida Kyodan & The Akebosi Rockets

Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets is a Japanese rock band that began in 2004 doing fan-made covers and original songs for the Touhou series before making their major debut performing the theme song of the Highschool of the Dead anime. The band's lead singer and vocalist, Ichigo, is a longtime fan of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and would also later go on to become the singer for STONE OCEAN, the first opening for the Stone Ocean anime.




  1. Touhou Koumakyou ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil (東方紅魔郷 ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil)
  2. Touhou Youyoumu ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom (東方妖々夢 ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom)
  3. Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night. (東方永夜抄 〜 Imperishable Night.)
  4. Touhou Chireiden ~ Subterranean Animism (東方地霊殿 ~ Subterranean Animism)


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