|Released||December 30, 2004|
|Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Chronology|
Meakashi-hen (目明し編 Eye Opening Chapter?) is the fifth arc in the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni series and the first of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai. It is told from the perspective of Shion Sonozaki and follows her descent to madness after the loss of Satoshi Houjou. Its corresponding question arc is Watanagashi-hen.
Meakashi-hen opens with Shion Sonozaki's escape from the all-girls school she was confined to. After escaping, she meets up with Kasai Tatsuyoshi who chauffeurs her to an apartment in Okinomiya. While there, Shion spends much of her time attempting to go out by swapping places with her twin sister Mion Sonozaki. While wandering through Okinomiya, Shion accidentally knocks over a line of motorcycles which causes the motorcycle owners to become very angry at her. The motorcycle owners drag Shion to a narrow alley while yelling obscenities at her until they are interrupted by Satoshi Houjou who attempts to defend Shion. The motorcycle owners beat up Satoshi and are subsequently scared off by a number of citizens who chastise them. This encounter causes Shion to fall in love with Satoshi and she becomes very obsessive about him. Shion learns everything she can about Satoshi from Mion and begins to attend Satoshi's baseball practices and games. Shion becomes very upset as Satoshi shows up to practice less and less often.
After leaving one of the baseball practices, Shion meets Mion's classmate Rena Ryuuguu who offers to walk home with Shion since Rena believes Shion is actually Mion. During the walk to Hinamizawa, Rena and Shion get trapped in a shack by a torrent of rain. While they wait for the rain to pass, Rena reveals to Shion that Satoshi had begun working a part time job and plans to continue doing so until his sister Satoko Houjou's birthday. Shion becomes angry that Satoko monopolizes Satoshi's attention, which Rena realizes and taunts Shion for. Rena then tells Shion that Satoshi has been thinking about leaving Hinamizawa and, as a result, has begun to experience the early stages of Oyashiro's curse. Panicked by the thought of Satoshi disappearing, Shion makes plans with Mion to switch places so that Shion can meet Satoshi at school.
While attending school, Shion becomes overwhelmed with anger towards Satoko and lashes out against her. This causes her to get in a physical confrontation with Satoshi. After the event, Shion decides to lie low in Okinomiya for a while. The day before the Watanagashi Festival, Mion calls Shion instructing her to take a call from Satoshi in her place. During the call, Satoshi asks Shion to take Satoko to the Watanagashi Festival for him, claiming that he is busy and won't be able to do so himself. Though skeptical of his motives, Shion accepts and has Mion take Satoko to the Festival the following night.
On the night of the Watanagashi Festival, Satoshi scouts out an area by the garbage dump and plants his baseball bat nearby. He lures his aunt to the garbage dump and savagely beats her to death with the bat and escaping. Within an hour, the body is discovered and the information is relayed to Oryou Sonozaki. Shortly after, Satoshi is questioned by detective Kuraudo Ooishi regarding the murder.
The following day, Shion spots Satoshi in Okinomiya and walks with him to the toy shop in order to reserve the teddy bear Satoshi wants to buy for Satoko. After doing so, the pair are confronted by Ooishi and his men. In a last-ditch attempt to protect Satoshi, Shion makes up an alibi for him and reveals her identity as Shion Sonozaki. Following this, the two are taken to the police station for questioning. Shion is quickly released from the police station and is escorted to the Sonozaki residence by lackeys of the Sonozaki family. Shion is then escorted by Mion to the torture chamber beneath the house where the rest of the family is waiting. After an intense shouting match between Shion and Oryou, Shion is made to peel three of her own fingernails, one for Kasai, one for her uncle Yoshiro who assisted her while in Okinomiya, and one for Satoshi. After collapsing halfway through the procedure, a group of henchmen grab Shion and complete the torture themselves.
A few days later, Shion walks through Okinomiya, recovering from her injuries. She passes by the toy shop and is happy to find that the teddy bear is gone from the display window, meaning that Satoshi had managed to buy it. While outside the toy shop, Shion is confronted by Ooishi who reveals to her that Satoshi has actually been missing for the past day. Shion is devastated and makes a vow in her mind to never forget Satoshi.
For many months, Shion pores over information regarding Oyashiro-sama's curse and its relationship to Satoshi's disappearance. While looking over her notes in a library in Okinomiya, Shion is approached by Miyo Takano, an enthusiast of Hinamizawa's past and of Oyashiro-sama's curse. Miyo joins Shion and lends her notes on the curse to Shion for study.
A year after Satoshi's disappearance, Shion accidentally knocks over a line of motorcycles which causes the motorcycle owners to become very angry at her. The motorcycle owners drag Shion to a narrow alley while yelling obscenities at her until they are interrupted by Keiichi Maebara who attempts to defend Shion. After this meeting Shion frequently compares Keiichi to Satoshi and compares Mion's relationship with Keiichi to Shion's past relationship with Satoshi. Later on, Mion confides in Shion that Keiichi had given a doll that Mion wanted to Rena while calling Mion too boyish for that kind of thing, which greatly upset her. At this point, the storyline of Meakashi-hen converges with the storyline of Watanagashi-hen.
After some time, Shion ends up hearing an extra footstep, which she assumes is the spirit of Satoshi. Shion is pleased to feel the presence of "Satoshi" and becomes worried whenever the presence disappears. "Satoshi" remains with Shion until the night of Watanagashi, when Shion along with Keiichi, Miyo Takano, and Jirou Tomitake break into the Saiguden. While there, Shion hears an increasingly loud noise reminiscent of a child jumping on wooden boards but none of the others seem to hear it. After the Festival ends, the four leave the storage shed and head their separate ways. Shion rejoins the rest of the Sonozaki family for drinks and ends up sleeping over with Mion in the Sonozaki main house.
At 3 AM, Shion wakes up but finds that her sister is no longer in bed. Shion creeps into the hallway and overhears a conversation between Mion and Oryou regarding the news of the deaths of Tomitake and Takano. Mion finds Shion eavesdropping and confronts her angrily before getting shocked by Shion's stun gun. After Mion collapses, Shion moves into Oryou's room and shocks her too. Shion drags the pair of them down to the Sonozaki torture chamber and proceeds to lock up Mion and prepare Oryou for torture. After trying to wake Oryou, Shion realizes that Oryou died when she was electrocuted.
The next day, a village meeting is held to discuss the deaths of Tomitake and Takano. Shion pretends to be Mion and attends the meeting in Mion and Oryou's place as representative of the Sonozaki family. After the meeting, Shion convinces Kiichirou Kimiyoshi to follow her back to the Sonozaki household where she shocks him with her stun gun and hangs him in the torture room in such a way that he is balancing only on his toes.
The following day, Rika visits Shion at the Sonozaki house asking for soy sauce. After entering the household, Rika sprays Shion with pepper spray and attempts to inject her with a syringe only to be thrown off and injected with her own syringe. After a few convulsions, Rika takes a large nearby knife and repeatedly bashes her head and neck into it before clawing out her throat and dying. Following this, Shion receives a call from Satoko asking where Rika is. Shion tricks Satoko into coming to the Sonozaki house where she shocks Satoko and drags her down to the torture room and kills her.
The day after that, Shion is confronted by Keiichi and Rena who inform Shion that the Sonozaki household is surrounded by police prepared to take her in. As a final request, Shion asks for 30 minutes alone with Keiichi. Honoring her request, Keiichi follows Shion into the torture room where he meets Mion. Shion then shocks him from behind that then straps him into a table to be tortured. Shion then has a change of heart and leaves Keiichi alone, instead opting to release her sister and trick her into climbing down a nearby well. While Mion is climbing down the well, Shion shocks her, causing Mion to fall to her death. Shion then places herself in the cage Mion was in and waits for the police to rescue her and Keiichi.
After staying in her apartment for a number of days, Shion begins to feel a presence similar to before, however much more severe. Believing the presence to be Mion's vengeful spirit, Shion decides to spite her dead sister and returns to Hinamizawa to visit the Maebara mansion and see Keiichi one last time. When Keiichi greets her, Shion pulls out a knife and stabs him in the stomach and runs off laughing. While attempting to sneak back into her room, Shion slips and falls to her death.
Deaths and Disappearances
All deaths and disappearances are listed only as they are told in Meakashi-hen and apply only for the individual arc, not the overall series.
- Tamae Houjou, beaten to death with a bat on June 20, 1982 on the night of Watanagashi.
- Jirou Tomitake, died of blood loss after clawing out his own throat June 19, 1983 on the night of the Watanagashi.
- Miyo Takano, strangled and burned in an oil drum in the Gifu Mountains June 19, 1983 on the night of the Watanagashi.
- Oryou Sonozaki, whipped, burned, electrocuted, and thrown down a well on June 20, 1983.
- Kiichirou Kimiyoshi, hanged on June 22, 1983.
- Rika Furude, committed suicide by repeatedly stabbing herself in the neck with a kitchen knife and then clawing out her own throat on June 21, 1983.
- Satoko Houjou, tied to a cross and repeatedly stabbed with a dagger. Died of hemorrhagic shock on June 22, 1983
- Mion Sonozaki, shocked by Shion's stun gun while climbing down a well, causing her to break her neck on June 23, 1983.
- Shion Sonozaki, slipped off the side of her apartment, fell onto an elevator casing and suffered a concussion. She regained consciousness and committed suicide by falling once more, smashing her head open on June 30, 1983.
- Keiichi Maebara, stabbed in the stomach on June 28, 1983. Suddenly died in a hospital from acute heart failure on July 3, 1983.
- Kasai Tatsuyoshi, died from liver cancer in 2002.
- Satoshi Houjou, disappeared June 24, 1982.
The little girl cried when she lost her marbles in the desert.
She searched the desert for one hundred years.
- 01 (42). Homecoming
- 02 (43). Reunion
- 03 (44). Oyashiro-sama
- 04 (45). Unforgivable...
- 05 (46). Cotton Drifting
- 06 (47). The Ritual Equipment Temple's Basement
- 07 (48). Distinction
- 08 (49). Destiny
- 09 (50). Sound of Footsteps
- 10 (51). 1983 Cotton Drifting
- 11 (52). Decision
- 12 (53). Recollection
- 13 (54). Enemy
- 14 (55). The Gullible
- 15 (56). Live
- 16 (57). Oyashiro-sama's Shrine Maiden
- 17 (58). Demon's Howl
- 18 (59). Mion and Shion
- 19 (60). Promise
- 20 (61). Confession
- 21 (62). Happiness Notebook
- 01 (11). Meakashi-hen: Volume 1
- 02 (12). Meakashi-hen: Volume 2
- 03 (13). Meakashi-hen: Volume 3
- 04 (14). Meakashi-hen: Volume 4
- Chapter One: First Love
- Chapter Two: Settlement
- Chapter Three: Demon's Blood
- Chapter Four: Retaliation
- Chapter Five: Cold Hands
- Chapter Six: Conviction
- After the credits roll, the reader is treated to an "alternate reality" wherein Shion honors Satoshi's request for her to take care of Satoko. In the alternate reality, Shion appears to be good friends with the rest of the club and dotes on Satoko the way Satoshi had wanted.
- Though very similar, Meakashi-hen and Watanagashi-hen take place in different worlds, as evidenced by differences in certain details such as Rika's death and who knocks over the bike in Okinomiya.