Today’s yokai is so wonderfully silly that it speaks for itself. There is no wonder it is counted among the most beloved yokai in Japan…
Shirime (尻目, しりめ)
Literally, “butt eye,” this yokai is practically self explanatory.
It first appeared in a picture scroll by Yosa no Buson, an Edo period poet. Most likely it was made up by him, as no other folklore exists. It’s one of those yokai that literally has two sentences to its name, and yet those two sentences seems to be enough:
京、かたびらが辻ぬっぽり坊主のばけもの。 めはなもなく、一ツの眼、尻の穴に有りて、 光ることいなづまのごとし。
“In Kyoto, at the Katabira crossroads, there is a monster called nuppori-bōzu. It has no eyes or nose, but a single eyeball, located in its butthole, which shines like lightning.”
There you have it folks, the making of a legend! The passage refers to it as the “nupperi-bōzu,” so this yokai is certainly a kind of noppera-bō, a kind of faceless yokai which is a popular form taken by mujina (shapeshifting badgers).
Mizuki Shigeru expanded upon the story a little bit in his yokai anthology Mujara, and has this to say:
Long ago, a samurai was traveling on the road to Kyoto, and a man in a kimono stepped out in front of him and blocked his path.
“Who goes there!” cried the samurai.
“Excuse me, sir, do you have a moment?” replied to man.
Before the samurai could reply, the man shed his kimono and bent over. His butt opened wide, revealing a huge, glowing eye which shone with a strange light.
The samurai screamed and fled…
You can’t make this stuff up, folks!
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