A-Yokai-A-Day: The Bakemono Who Haunted Matsuura Iyo’s House

This story is about another bakemono. The true form of this yōkai is never explained in the story, so whether it was an animal, or a ghost, or something else entirely remains a mystery. All we can be sure of is that it was powerful, and it really held a grudge against Matsuura Iyo.

The Bakemono Who Haunted Matsuura Iyo’s House

In Wakamatsu, Aizu Province, there lived a man named Matsuura Iyo. Many strange things happened in his house.

It all began one night, when the whole house started shaking as if there were an earthquake.

Then, the next night, a strange woman wandered onto the estate from out of nowhere and knocked on the back door, crying out in a loud voice, “Oh how sad!” When Iyo’s wife heard this, she scolded the stranger: “Who do you think you are, come here in the middle of the night and saying such things?”

The stranger stepped back a little after being scolded, but then she saw that the side door was open and rushed to enter the house. She looked like a pale woman wearing a white robe, her long hair untied and scattered. Her countenance was dreadful beyond words. The master’s wife, thinking this was no trivial matter, prayed to Amaterasu, and the woman vanished.

On the third day in the late afternoon, the strange woman was seen in the kitchen building a fire.

On the fourth day, a neighbor’s wife stepped out of her back door and saw the woman standing in her yard, staring over the fence towards the Matsuura house. She was so terrified that she ran back into the house and locked the door. A moment later the woman vanished.

On the fifth night, the woman entered the kitchen, took out a mallet, and went back out into the garden and started pounding the earth with it.

There was nothing the Matsuura household could do but pray. They made various offerings to the gods and buddhas. Then, miraculously, the following day the strange woman did not come.

But before they could say, “Finally she stopped coming!” a voice screamed out from the sky:

“Five times is not my limit!”

That night, while the couple were in bed, the woman appeared by Iyo’s bedside and blew out his candle. Iyo’s wife was so shocked that she fainted.

On the seventh night, the woman again came to the couple’s bedside while they slept. She grabbed their heads and knocked them together. Then she slipped her cold hands up their robes and stroked the couple’s legs. The couple were so terrified that they fainted. Then they both went insane and died.

Nobody ever understood why any of it happened.

A frightful woman in a white kimono, with a hideous face and wild, long hair.

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