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

Ghost Stories – the Flute in the Wilderness

When it comes to Ghost Stories, there are two basic types: the traditional type which is often based in folklore and deal with themes like revenge, love, sadness, etc… These stories serve a purpose to teach a lesson or just to provide a scare.

The other type is the “true” ghost story which have no rhyme or reason because the incident is often unexplainable to those who witness it. This is the kind of story where something strange has happened to the teller or someone they know. This type borders on urban legend but it is in that gray area between the real world and that “other” world.

Here I recall a story that happened to one of my uncles when they went camping in the wilderness.

September 9, 2009 Posted by | Ghost Stories, Ghosts, Storytelling, true ghost stories, 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

Japanese Ghost Stories – The Demon-Haunted Bridge

In Old Japan, ghost stories were a form of old fashion all natural air conditioning designed to induce cold shivers on hot summer nights.

Here I re-tell an old story about a samurai who risks his life for a wager to prove his courage by crossing a bridge haunted by a demon.

The story can be found in “Japanese Tales” an anthology of old stories compiled by Royall Tyler.

August 19, 2009 Posted by | culture, demons, devils, folklore, Ghost Stories, Ghosts, japan, japanese culture, Storytelling, tradition, video, vlog, weird | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reduce Global Warming – Tell Ghost Stories!

In Old Japan, the summertime was the time for ghost stories. Japanese summers tend to be hot and humid and ghost stories are a form of old fashion all natural air conditioning.

Given our problems with Global Warming and Global Recession, perhaps turning off our air conditioners and telling ghost stories might have to ease the burden of both.

Here I tell (as best as I can) the story of a curse kimono that caused death to its owners and is believed to be the source of one of the worst fires Tokyo suffered from in its early history.

The story can be found in Ghostly Japan by Lafcadio Hearn.

August 17, 2009 Posted by | culture, folklore, furisode, Ghost Stories, Ghosts, global warming, japan, japanese culture, kimono, Lafcadio Hearn, Storytelling, tokyo, video | 1 Comment