This year for #ayokaiaday we are looking at the bizarre occurrences which took place at the Ino residence in Miyoshi, Hiroshima, during July of 1749. These occurrences all revolve around a young boy named Ino Heitaro. His story is collected in Ino mononoke roku, a collection of scrolls, books, and legends which collectively form the narrative of a supernatural phenomenon that took place 270 years ago.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! It’s Halloween, and today is the final day of Heitaro’s haunting. Of course, you only know that because I told you at the start. Heitaro has no idea what’s in store for him just yet, or why he is being haunted.
Before before we get to that, a word from our sponsor! 😉
This year’s A-Yokai-A-Day was made possible thanks to my patrons, who graciously support my yokai work. If you’ve developed a new appreciation for Japanese folklore thanks to this project, or if you’ve always been a yokai fan, please consider supporting me through Patreon! Every little bit helps me to continue translating, writing, and illustrating these stories; and I hope to continue to bring yokai into the English speaking world for many years to come!
And now, on to the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the exciting conclusion of Ino mononoke roku!
By the thirtieth day, all of Heitaro’s friends, family, and neighbors had spread the news far and wide of the bizarre haunting at the Ino residence. As for Heitaro himself, the strangeness had been going on for so long that he had practically grown used to it.
That day, a well dressed and sharp looking samurai in his 40’s came to visit Heitaro. At his first glance, Heitaro recognized that this man was the source of the whole haunting.
“Ah, the yokai’s true form finally shows itself!” Young Heitaro grabbed his katana and swore to take the samurai down in a single cut.
As soon as Heitaro’s sword was drawn, the samurai vanished. Then, from Heitaro’s ceiling came a voice: “Please, put your sword away.”
Heitaro cooled his head. He put his sword away and waited to see what the spirits’ next move would be.
Then, the lid of his hearth popped off, and a massive puff of thick smoke billowed into the room. The smoke gathered together and congealed into the shape of a large head.
A boil on the thing’s forehead began to swell up. Suddenly a massive amount of smoke and worms burst forth from the boil. Worms covered the floor and crawled all over Heitaro.
Worms! It had to be worms! Heitaro hated worms!
Then, a pair of eyes sprouted from the wall and began to glare at Heitaro. A mouth appeared beneath them and laughed at him.
As the worms crawling over his body and into his clothes approached Heitaro’s absolute limit, they suddenly vanished.
Then the mysterious samurai materialized once more.
“My name is Sanmoto Gorozaemon. I am a demon lord. Another demon lord named Shinno Akugoro and I had a contest to see who was scarier. We would each scare one hundred people, and the winner would become the top demon lord. I scared eighty five people before you, Heitaro. You would have been my eighty sixth. But I could not scare you. Your courage is exceptionally rare, and deserves to be rewarded.”
Sanmoto Gorozaemon presented Heitaro with a wooden mallet.
“One day my competitor may come for you. If he does, strike a pillar with this mallet, and I shall come to your aid. We will defeat Shinno Akugoro together.”
Heitaro noticed that a god of protection was sitting beside him.
Then, a splendid palanquin appeared, and Heitaro’s yard was filled with dozens and dozens of yokai of all shapes and sizes. Sanmoto Gorozaemon climbed into the palanquin, and the yokai hoisted it up onto their shoulders.
The demons gathered into a big parade and carried the palanquin off into the night sky. They danced and cavorted as they went.
Heitaro watched the night parade disappear into the clouds, returning to wherever they had come from.