A-Yokai-A-Day: Noppera-bo

I like Noppera-bo because it isn’t one of those monsters that is so grotesque and scary that it turns you off right away. It’s a much slower, much deeper psychological horror that doesn’t really sink in until you think about the scenario. It’s got a real Twilight Zone kind of feel to it, one of isolation and terror that can really only be felt by putting yourself into the victim’s shoes.

Usually the way this story goes, a merchant travels to another town with his goods. Along the journey, he encounters a young, weeping woman, but when he approaches her to ask what’s wrong, she wipes off her face, leaving a blank visage void of any features. The man panics, unsure of what he’s seen, and flees, deciding not to stop until he can get to safety. He travels all night and finally reaches the next town. Exhausted, he stops for a rest at an soba shop and describes the horrible, featureless face he saw to the shopkeeper. Then the shopkeeper pauses, turns around, and says, “You mean like this??” as he wipes the features off of his own face. The poor merchant flees again and runs to a police station, but as soon as he rushes in, he sees that all of the men have blank, featureless faces. The man is so scared he leaves his merchandise and runs from the village, and doesn’t stop until he reaches his hometown. He slams his door shut, locking it behind him, and he hears his wife calling, “What’s wrong, honey?” He collapses, telling her what he’s seen, and she replies, “You mean like this??“…

In another variant, the man phones for help, only to realize that he, too, has become a noppera-bo.

But isn’t that an amazingly creepy story?



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3 thoughts on “A-Yokai-A-Day: Noppera-bo

  1. Pingback: A-Yokai-A-Day: Kejōrō | MatthewMeyer.net

  2. Pingback: A-Yokai-A-Day: Shirime | MatthewMeyer.net

  3. Pingback: A-Yokai-A-Day: Kurobozu | MatthewMeyer.net

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