A-Yokai-A-Day: Munemushi

If you’d like to join me and many others in painting a yokai a day this month, all you have to do is paint, draw, or create any yokai you like, and share it using the hashtag #ayokaiaday. There’s no set list of yokai you have to paint, but you’re free to browse yokai.com or any other yokai resource and choose your favorites.


Translation: chest bugs

Munemushi are a broad category of yokai bugs that infect–you guessed it–your chest. They come in all shapes and sizes. Harikigaki does not list names for them–apparently there were just too many to catalogue them all, or perhaps they’re so similar they don’t need separate entries? Like a lot of the bugs we’ve seen this month, some of these can live in you naturally, cause no issues most of the time. But they can become dangerous if they start to act up.

Although there are many kinds, the primary symptoms they create are the same. When they attack you it causes sharp chest pains, and you to lose the ability to speak. Before long, the pain becomes unbearable and you lose consciousness.

Treatment varies depending on the type of bug. Secondary symptoms are often a clue; such as if your body temperature decreases or if you feel chills despite having a normal temperature, vs if you have a fever or if you feel hot despite having a normal temperature. Hohō* vs shahō* techniques are recommended. However, Harikikigaki cautions strongly against superficial or half-hearted measures. People attempting to cure a munamushi infection must receive a great deal of training, including secret techniques passed down only orally, before attempting treatment.

*Hohō (補法) is an acupuncture technique where the needles are inserted slowly and gently, left in place for a short while, and then quickly removed. The puncture wound is then massaged vigorously.

*Shahō (瀉法) is an acupuncture technique where the needles are stabbed into the target areas quickly and then aggressively jiggled around. Then they are slowly removed from the body and the wound is not massaged at all.

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