A mysterious jewel that heightens youkai powers. Kikyou guarded the jewel until her death, and took it with her into the afterlife. However, the Shikon no Tama reappeared from the body of Kagome, Kikyou's reincarnation, and in a freak accident, Kagome managed to shatter it into countless pieces. The Shikon shards, scattered all over the countryside, each hold more than enough power to be dangerous in the wrong hands...
Shikon no Tama literally means 'jewel of four souls'. However, 紫紺 (しこん) is pronounced the same as 四魂, and means bluish-violet, which is the color of the jewel, so there's probably some wordplay involved too.
The Shikon no Tama is still in pieces, though it seems that all shards are now accounted for. Naraku appears to have all of them except for the one in Kohaku's back. Kouga had one in each leg for a long time, giving him incredible running speed and power kicks, but Naraku has finally managed to steal those. Kagome used to have a number of them, but every time she had any, they were eventually stolen.
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