Ashiaraiyashiki – The Foot Washing Mansion


Translated from Edo Tokyo Kaii Hyakumonogatari

To learn much more about Japanese Ghosts, check out my book Yurei: The Japanese Ghost

On the 3rd street in the Honsho district there lived a woman named Hanamoku.  At her house, a mysterious thing was known to occur.

At the time when the flowers were sleeping and the ushimitsu plant was blooming, a horrible, rotten stench would invade the house, and a giant foot bristling with hair would descend from the ceiling accompanied by an enormous sound. If you washed the foot, it would soon disappear back into the ceiling.   But if you didn’t, the giant foot would rampage though the house until satisfied.

Translator’s Note:

This print, by Utagawa Kuniteru, is called Ashiarai Yashiki  (足洗邸), and depicts one of the Honjyo Nana Fushigi (本所七不思議) meaning one of the Seven Wonders  of Honjo.

Further Reading:

For more bizarre tales of Japaneses Folklore, check out:

6 Types of Japanese Yokai From Showa

10 Famous Japanese Ghost Stories

When Food Attacks – 6 Types of Food Yokai From Japan

Tanuki no Kintama – Tanuki’s Giant Balls

Kappa to Shirikodama – Kappa and the Small Anus Ball

Nebutori – The Sleeping Fatty

Tanuki Bayashi – The Procession of the Tanuki

Translated from Edo Tokyo Kaii Hyakumonogatari

Almost every night would come the sound of the taiko drums.   At times they would sound very near, at times they would sound very far away, and a local fisherman, overwhelmed with a desire to see the interesting site, became exhausted almost to the point of death while trying to find the players.  After a night of hard searching, it was all he could to make his way back home where he quickly lay down and fell soundly asleep.

The first thing he noticed was the song of a bird, so close it was like it was being sung into his ear, and his eyes sprang open at the mysterious sound.  While he thought he was comfortably at home, the dew was still clinging to his raincoat that still covered his body and the sounds of the forest were rumbling with his loud snoring.

“My wife will be angry at me”, he thought, and he was a man filled with deep regret.  Even here in this world there are such things as a procession of magical beasts.

Translator’s Note:

This print, by Utagawa Kuniteru, is called Tanuki Bayashi  (狸囃子), and depicts one of the Honjyo Nana Fushigi (本所七不思議) meaning one of the Seven Wonders  of Honjo.

Okuri Hyoshigi – The “Following Wooden Clappers”

Translated from Edo Tokyo Kaii Hyakumonogatari

On the 20th day on the month of the sign of the bear, when the moon grows white and even the paper street lanterns that shine in every direction fail to brighten the gloominess of the street, rain will come with a rushing downpour.  On that day, the temple bells resound with the tones of the afterlife.

At first the cries of the nighthawks and street walkers, the sellers of soba noodles and bottled beer, of tea noodles and red-bean bread, will harmonize with the resounding bells, but these sounds will fade out and die away as the night stretches on and the people grown thin.

While trying to make your way home in the dark and the rain, covering your paper lantern with the sleeve of your raincoat to prevent it from soaking and going out, you will hear the sound of a pair of wooden clappers banging together behind you.  As you walk on, the bang of the clappers will synchronize with your footsteps and the faster you run the faster and closer the sound of the clappers will come.  This is the spirit known as the “Following Wood Clappers”.

Translator’s Note:

This print, by Utagawa Kuniteru, is called Okuri Hyoshigi (送り拍子木), and depicts one of the Honjyo Nana Fushigi (本所七不思議) meaning one of the Seven
Wonders  of Honjo

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