Translated from Mizuki Shigeru’s Mujara
In old times, this was a yokai found on the roads leading to Kyoto. The legend goes that late at night, a samurai walking down the street when a man in a kimono stepped in to block his path and said “Excuse me … just a moment of your time … “ The samurai readied himself for an attack, and shouted back “What do you want?”
The man suddenly shed his kimono and stood stark naked. He then bent over and showed his ass to the samurai, which had a single, huge eye. When the eye opened, it shown with a bright light. The samurai screamed with fright and fled from the mysterious monster.
The poet and artist Buzon included the shirime in his collection “Buzon’s Yokai Picture Scroll” (蕪村妖怪絵巻), which is the only known source of the story. It is a variation of the nopperabo legend, and the shirime is considered to be a type of nopperabo.
Regular nopperabo surprise people by suddenly showing them a featureless face, smooth as an egg. The shimire species of nopperable can give a double surprise, first showing the featureless face then bending over and exposing the eyeball butt. The shirime doesn’t have any bad intentions or evil purpose. It just thinks it is fun to surprise people.
The shirime’s name is pretty self-explanatory; 尻 (shiri – butt)目(me – eye). The term can also be used to mean to look down on someone, or to look askance at.
Like many of this type of yokai, there isn’t much more to the story than a mischievous creature that likes to startle people. Japan has a high tolerance for body humor and grotesqueness, and the shirime is a good example of this.
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