Fighting the Coronavirus Boredom: A Japanese Mythical Solution



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Reality can be a very sour affair at times, more so when it's in a corona-riddled economy. It is a fact that the more active among us are currently going a little stir-crazy stuck within the confines of our very own houses, but rest assured for this article has been written with the exclusive purpose of giving you some fresh food for thought.
Some of the world's greatest writers felt an inner compulsion to write, to be more precise a writing itch that they simply had to scratch and as centuries passed by more writers emerged, each with their own unique reason for taking up the world's most mightiest weapon  - the pen.
But most writers of Japanese mythology wrote what they wrote because they profoundly believed in the existence of the preternatural. Japan has a very strong cultural identity much similar in nature to India's powerful cultural identity, and this has been a source for the creation of some of the most interesting mythical monsters, apparitions and phenomenon's that will both intrigue and shock the human mind.
This article will cover the most captivating and bizarre entities from the very bowels of Japanese mythology and folklore leaving you reeling and equipped with a new perspective on what might actually lie under your bed or end up accompanying you during the darkest of nights.

1. Abura-akago:
This particular yokai (a class of supernatural monsters, demons and  spirits in Japanese folklore) is believed to enter into the houses of people in the form of  a ball of fire at night, shape shifting into a baby (akago-infant[in Japanese]) that licks the oil (abura - oil) out of the lamps in the house. The spirit is believed to be the soul of a thieving merchant who lost his way.

2. Akateko:
The akateko is the red (aka - red) hand of a small child that descends from a tree to nab unassuming people. The spirit is often accompanied by the spectre of a beautiful woman (typically young), who stands beneath the akatekos tree luring unsuspecting people to their demise. The spirit also travels in pairs giving the resemblance of a pair of moving feet.

3. Betobeto-san:
Betobeto-san is an invisible spirit that is said to follow people walking alone. The spirit per se is not considered to be malevolent and all one hears is the sound of footsteps trailing behind them. Different places have been assigned to it in different places in Japan as to where one might encounter the spirit ranging from mountainous paths to short alleys. It is however believed that the ghost would leave, if the person being followed were to stop and say,"please go ahead".

4. Baku:
The baku in simple terms is a very risky ticket out of a bad dream. The baku are supernatural beings capable of devouring good and bad dreams. Legend has it that they were concocted out of the remaining pieces that the gods had left over after creating all the other animals.
A person who has just had a nightmare can call out to a baku to come devour his nightmare but it has also been said that one must always be careful when one summons a baku for he might just end up eating away one's hopes and dreams if his hunger isn't quelled. However a baku can also be summoned beforehand to prevent the occurrence of a nightmare by summoning him before one falls sleep.

5. Datsue -ba:
In Japanese Buddhist folklore ,Datsue-ba is an old woman who sits on the banks of the river Sanzu (similar to the river Styx in Greek mythology) and strips the clothes from the souls of the people that arrive there and hands them over to Keneo ,  an old man who then proceeds to place the clothes on the branches by the riverside .The branch then bends to demonstrate the extent of the persons sins ,and punishment is meted out accordingly beginning here. The woman however strips of the skin from the persons soul ,if it is unclothed .

6. Teke teke:
The teke teke is a more recent urban legend that has been passed down over the years which talks about the ghost of a young woman or school-girl who is said to have fallen onto a railway line and had her body sliced into two by the train.
She is an onryo (a vengeful spirit) who lurks around urban areas and train stations waiting to slice people in half essentially handing them what fate gave her. The teke teke is a Japanese onomatopoeia based on the scratching sound that the ghost makes while moving about with its scythe.
The buru buru is another ghost that was named based on the Japanese onomatopoeia buruburu(shivering). The buru buru is a spirit that clings to people inducing shivers and essentially transforming them into cowards.
On a normal day one would typically brush off such intriguing information as trivial fiction but given the trying situation that the world now finds itself in, it is increasingly important that we look for ways to distract ourselves from the dire reality that we now face, it is vital that we look at the bigger picture and adhere to the instructions provided to us while taking time to spoil ourselves with some long due self-care. It's time to look into interesting topics like this while sipping on a cup of refreshing tea, and while you sit there relaxing and sipping on your hot cup of tea this article will soon be back with its next part.

Written by: T.S.Padma Charan
Edited by: Nidhi Verma

Fighting the Coronavirus Boredom: A Japanese Mythical Solution Fighting the Coronavirus Boredom: A Japanese Mythical Solution Reviewed by EMN on April 02, 2020 Rating: 5

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