We’ve spent a lot of “wizard week” looking at the tools of the trade—paper dolls, stray dolls, familiar spirits—as well as the main man himself, Abe no Seimei. Now that you know all about what Japan’s sorcerers use, it’s time we turned our attention towards the dark spells themselves! Today we’re going to look at a fun curse from Okinawa.
Before we do that, I should point out a few fun examples of black magic that has been featured on yokai.com during previous A-Yokai-A-Days: Kanashibari, or sleep paralysis which can be caused by ghosts, yokai, and nasty, jealous spellcasters. Inugami, the quintessential example of a shikigami. Tanuki tsuki and kitsune tsuki, or possession of humans by wild animals, often at the direction of an angry spellcaster. Hitobashira, the gruesome entombment of a living human as part of a ritual to protect a building. And of course ushi no koku mairi, or the shrine visit at the hour of the ox—the most terrifying curse of all!
Today’s curse is a little less well-known. It comes from Okinawa, which while part of Japan, retains a unique history and folklore all of its own. Ryukyu was invaded and vassalized by Japan—specifically the Shimazu clan—in 1609. Because onmyodo was developed in Japan hundreds of years prior and was so strongly connected to the imperial court, it didn’t really make its way to the island kingdom. However, Okinawa did develop its own set of spells, charms, and curses. And one of the nastiest of these curses was the ichijama.
Click below to read all about it! Or pick up my book The Hour of Meeting Evil Spirits and keep it on your coffee table to wow all of your guests with your knowledge of mononoke and magic!