Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Japanese Ghost Stories – The Demon’s Arm (Ogre of Rashomon)

Summertime is ghost-time in Japan. It’s time to tell scary stories in order combat the summer’s heat with the cold chill that only ghost stories can bring.

This story is a version of the Ogre of Rashomon as the story is named in Yei Theodora Ozaki’s Japanese Fairy Tales. I however refer to the titular creature as a demon based on the Japanese word “oni” which is demon/devil.

Hirosaki Neputa Festival shows Watanabe fighting the Demon of Rashomon Gate

Rashomon is a gate that once stood in Kyoto that lapsed into disrepair and became a place of ill repute. According to legend a demon took up residence there and snatched up passer-bys. Eventually it bit off more than it could chew when it tried to grab a samurai.

The photos were taken by me of the temple gate of Zojo-ji Temple in Tokyo, a shot of a float from the Nebuta festival of Aomori showing a samurai fighting a demon (Raiko and Shuten-doji), and a depiction of the story on a float at the Neputa Festival in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture. The other images are 19th Century woodblock (ukiyoe) prints.

Check out my other ghost stories:

Japanese Ghost Stories

July 29, 2011 Posted by | demons, devils, folklore, Ghost Stories, Ghosts, japan, japanese culture, japanese folklore, japanese ghost stories, Japanese Ghosts, Japanese Horror, Storytelling, supernatural, weird | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Japanese Ghost Stories – The Tree Spirit

Stories of ghosts, monsters, and things that go bump in the night were the favorite past time of Japanese in olden days as a way to cool down on hot summer nights.

This story is about a greedy woodcutter who encounters a tree spirit.

Trees are or were believed to become alive after a thousand years or so.

September 9, 2009 Posted by | folklore, Ghost Stories, Ghosts, japan, japanese culture, japanese folklore, japanese ghost stories, Japanese Ghosts, nature, Storytelling, trees, video, vlog, weird, youtube | Leave a comment

Japanese Ghost Stories – Better Late Than Early

Ghost Stories – old fashion air conditioning in Old Japan and environmentally friendly to boot!

Here I tell a tale about the terrible fate of a man who went to work too early.

September 4, 2009 Posted by | folklore, Ghost Stories, Ghosts, japan, japanese culture, japanese ghost stories, Japanese Ghosts, Storytelling, video, vlog | Leave a comment

Japanese Ghost Stories – Mujina

Ghost Stories kept the people cool back in Old Japan before electric fans and central air.

Cold sweats, icy fingers down the spine, and blood turned to ice in the veins by chilling stories of the supernatural were just the thing for hot summer nights.

Here I retell a story called “Mujina and the Faceless Ones.” This story is one of the collections of ghost stories in Lafcadio Hearn’s Kwaiden.

I goofed up and called the man in the story Mujina but in fact this is what Hearn called the ghoulish antagonists in this short story.

Mujina is actually the name for badgers who in Japanese folklore could play tricks like the one in this story. However, the type of yokai (Japanese monsters/ghosts/devils) is Noppera-bo – humans (if you can call them such) with no faces who delight in scaring people.

September 4, 2009 Posted by | culture, folklore, Ghost Stories, Ghosts, japan, japanese culture, japanese ghost stories, Japanese Ghosts, Lafcadio Hearn, Storytelling, video, vlog, weird | , , , , , | Leave a comment