Shaping is a catch-all term for the various forms of organic technology which are employed in The Old Country, primarily involving the manipulation, transmutation, and general re-shaping of plants to fit one's needs. It is considered a respectable profession, and has many uses in adjoining fields such as agriculture, architecture, urban development, landscaping, puppetry, plumbing and water purification and more. By guiding natural inclinations with the firm hand of artifice, greater results are achieved than what each could individually be capable of.
The practice grew out of several geographical, historical and metaphysical oddities to the Old Country such as, but not limited to:
- The severe lack of many important metals and other resources.
- Tanuki insistence on maximising the output of arable land to feed their typically large families.
- The various native peoples enjoying the aesthetics of having plenty of greenery in their lives.
- Castles and other fortifications needing metaphysical defenses against hexes, spells, curses and evil influences and spirits as much as they needed physical ones.
- Myths and legends valourising the practice, as well as several impressive feats. The Imperial Palace itself is supposed to have been grown from a cherry blossom seed Keros himself planted.
Methods employed in shaping can range from the mundane such a simple pruning and crossbreeding, to elaborate magical and alchemical techniques. Because the definition of shaping is so broad, everyone can conceivably be expected to know at least a little and have it play some role in their lives, regardless of social station. All of the following could be considered examples of shaping:
- Tying two trees together over a path to create an entry archway for your home.
- Creating a higher-yielding variety of rice.
- Growing vines to securely lash the beams of your home together.
- Planting appropriate roofing for your home.
- Growing a den big enough to house a hundred families.
- Creating prosthetics and puppets from living wood.
- Planting trees and ferns into walls so that their roots strengthen its structure.
- Using several species of water plants such as reeds to clarify and purify fouled bodies of water.
Artificer Kazuo is a shaper by profession.