Himiko was a shaman queen of Yamatai, an ancient kingdom of Japan's Yayoi Period. Few records of her life exist, and thus very little is known about her. Even the specific location of Yamatai on the Japanese islands is still debated, as no formal records of the nation's borders exist and recorded directions of Yamatai's location relative to China are open to interpretation.
In Chinese historical records dating back to the Jin Dynasty and in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, it is stated that Himiko had relations with the the kingdom of Wei, who recognized her as the Queen of Wa; an ancient name for Japan. Himiko's rise to power followed an apparently chaotic period in the tribal territories of the Japanese islands; her power and charisma managed to bring the fighting to a halt and instill a period of peace.
Himiko never married and had no children. A younger brother assisted in handling administrative matters of her reign. She lived in a fortress-like palace with armed guards, as well as her servants. A lone male servant held duties including feeding her as well as relaying messages to and from her; few visitors were apparently granted the chance to meet her in person.
In about A.D. 238, after a high-ranking messenger was sent to Wei to bestow gifts, the Wei government declared Himiko queen of Wa and friend of Wei. In 248, a now elderly Himiko died, though the cause of her death is not recorded. Following her death, a male king assumed power, but his reign was short-lived and led to violent protests that saw him quickly forced out. Peace was restored again when a thirteen-year-old girl of some relation to Himiko named either Toyo or Iyo (depending on readings of the ancient text) was installed as the new queen.
In Video Games
Himiko plays an important secondary role in Kessen II as a mystical ally of Cao Cao, who is at war with Liu Bei. Despite her power, she is a petulant young lady infatuated with Cao Cao and jealous of his own infatuation with Diao Chan. Himiko's Japanese voice in Kessen II is provided by screen actress Hinako Saeki, who also served as the model for the character's appearance.
Himiko is also a playable character in another Koei franchise, the Warriors Orochi series, beginning with Warriors Orochi 2. Here, she is depicted as a young girl that is friends with Da Ji. Himiko's strong spiritual power is used by Da Ji and Kiyomori Taira in a ritual to resurrect Orochi. She appears again in Warriors Orochi 3 as an ally of Da Ji.
In these games, Himiko uses a pair of levitating dogu as her weapons, capable of shooting magical energy at her enemies. Her costume, while stylized, is based on records detailing common Yayoi Period dress; a cloth tunic with a hole in the center for her head.
In Okami, Himiko is cast as the ruler of Sei'an City. After a curse takes hold of Nippon, she goes into hiding and is widely seen as a coward. However, in her seclusion, she holds a constant vigil and prays for her people while keeping the crystal ball safe. She is eventually killed by Ninetails, who swallows the crystal ball, but after Amaterasu defeats the demon, it coughs it up and flees.
As it turns out, Himiko's death was all part of her own plan. After Ninetails ingested the crystal ball, it took part of the evil kitsune's power. As a result, it's able to reveal the location of Oni Island.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
In Persona 4, Himiko is the Persona of Rise Kujikawa. Himiko is an analysis and support Persona that gives Rise the ability to scan enemies for weaknesses, communicate with the others telepathically, and generally aid the other party members without actually participating in combat herself. Should the player max out Rise's Social Link, Himiko will evolve into the Persona Kanzeon. Himiko also appears as Rise's Persona in Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth.
Tomb Raider (2013)
In the Tomb Raider reboot, Lara Croft is part of an expedition in search of the lost kingdom of Yamatai. After a shipwreck and becoming trapped on the island by violent storms, Lara runs afoul of a cult comprised of previous shipwreck victims founded by the insane Father Mathias. Over the years, Mathias had sacrificed countless shipwrecked women as part of a trial to find a suitable vessel for Himiko's spirit, still bound to an ancient corpse. Lara's friend Sam is captured by Mathias and put through the same trial. After she survives and is determined to be a worthy vessel, Mathias then prepares the ritual to transfer Himiko's soul into Sam's body. In order to save Sam and escape the island, Lara kills Himiko permanently by torching her current vessel's body.
Himiko appears as one of the collectable souls in the Japanese history-influenced fantasy title Toukiden.