The final two installments of my ghost tales are being posted here, final day of the show at The Japan Foundation Gallery in Sydney is tomorrow. Listen to ABC Radio National tomorrow (July 3rd) for an interview with me about the show.
Harionago (Japanese: 針女子)
Also known as Harionna (Japanese: 針女), is a frightening female ghoul in Japanese mythology. Her name literally meaning “Barbed woman,” the Harionago is said to be a beautiful woman with extremely long hair tipped with thorn-like barbs. Her hair is under her direct control, and she uses it to ensare men. She is said to wander the roads of the Japanese prefecture of Ehime on the island of Shikoku, searching for victims.
When she finds a young man, she will laugh at him, and if the young man dares to laugh back, Harionago will drop her terrible, barbed hair and attack. A youth once escaped from this monster by closing the door to his house on her; her hooked hair left uncountable gashes in the wood. Fortunately for
him the door was not of the paper sliding variety.
The fox (Kitsune), as with the Tanuki (racoon-dog) is a popular character in Japanese folklore and is often seen as a trickster, able to transform itself into human form, most often as young and beautiful women, and any children they bear will often have supernatural powers.
The tale of “Kuzunoha” tells the story of a young nobleman, Abe no Yasuna, who, on his way to visit a shrine in Shinoda, encounters a young military commissioner who is hunting foxes to obtain their livers for use as medicine. Yasuna battles the hunter and sets free the white fox he had trapped. Following this he meets a beautiful young women who tends to the wounds he sustained in the battle.
They return home together, fall in love and eventually marry. Later, she bears a child (a boy they call Seimei who grows up to be very clever). One day while Kuzunoha is distracted viewing the chrysanthemums in the garden her son catches a sight of the tip of her tail from beneath her kimono. Her secret is revealed, Kuzunoha departs to again live her life in the wild, leaving a farewell poem
which asks that her husband and son come to see her in the Shinoda Forest. Husband and son search for Kuzunoha and she appears to them in fox form, she tells them she is a kami (deific spirit) of Shinoda Shrine and she gives her son Seimei a gift, hoping he will one day come to comprehend the language of beasts.
Will be posting a couple more images, this time of my ‘Chibi Obake’ in the coming days!
Thanks for reading and make sure to add any ghost stories to the comments section.