Video of a Shrine Ritual

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I wanted to share this because usually every year during Golden Week I share a video with my Patreon backers of the “shrine battle” at one of the major local shrines. This year because of the pandemic, the festival was cancelled, but the shrine ceremony went on as it always does and has for over 1000 years. This year, the priests posted a video of the ceremony, which is really really cool.

This is Otaki jinja, a shrine to the goddess Kawakami Gozen. It’s a big shrine located in the far corner of a rural town in a rural prefecture. It’s essentially the last building before you enter the mountains. Legend has it hundreds and hundreds of years ago, she came down from this mountain and taught the locals how to make paper. Since then, Echizen has been an important center of traditional Japanese paper (washi). Incidentally, it has special meaning to me because it is the shrine where my wife and I got married.

In this above video, you can watch as the priests leave early in the morning from the shrine at the base of the mountain. They wear a little backpack like structure, which is a house for a god. Normally instead of a mini backpack, there is a massive and majestic golden palanquin carried by many people. But for social distancing, this year it’s just a priest with a backpack.

They travel to the top of the mountain, and take the goddess and her family out of the shrines where they live during the year. They then take her down, and re-enshrine here in the village for the day.

She visits each of the local shrines at that time, and the local villagers all pay their respects. (This is where the shrine battles take place, because each village doesn’t want the goddess to leave. They want her to stay with them for the year.) Obviously that is not part of this video, but it’s my favorite festival during other years.

Finally, at the end of the day, there is another long ceremony, and she is placed back into the palanquin (or backpack) and carried back up the mountain to her home at the top. Normally, this is done in the pitch black (lit only by hand held paper lanterns), up a dangerous mountain trail, by drunk villagers carrying a heavy golden palanquin. Even when I was not drunk or carrying a shrine, I was afraid of falling and breaking my neck, so I can’t imagine how they do this every year.

Anyway, it’s really cool to get a unique perspective of this ritual, even though it’s unfortunate that the festivals had to be canceled.

A-Yokai-A-Day: Ino Mononoke Roku, Day 21

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This year for #ayokaiaday we are looking at the bizarre occurrences which took place at the Ino residence in Miyoshi, Hiroshima, during July of 1749. These occurrences all revolve around a young boy named Ino Heitaro. His story is collected in Ino mononoke roku, a collection of scrolls, books, and legends which collectively form the narrative of a supernatural phenomenon that took place 270 years ago.

It was now three full weeks since Ino Heitaro’s haunting began. Pretty much anybody would need a break by now. Even with all of his bravery, surely Heitaro must be starting to crack?

Heitaro decided to read a book to clear his mind. Unfortunately, there was no way he was going to read uninterrupted…

The shadow of a person appeared on the wall in the light from his lantern. The shadow was so clearly cast that Heitaro could make out every detail. It looked like a human reading a book out loud.

Heitaro watched the shadow’s mouth and tried to read its lips, but he couldn’t make out what it was saying…

December-January Japan Trip

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My wife’s brother happened to get married in December, which provided us the perfect excuse to go back to Japan for a short trip. With the Christmas and New Years holidays around the corner as well, it made sense to extend the vacation a bit and spend the whole month in Japan. This was awesome not only for the wedding, but because I got to spend my birthday, Christmas, and New Years (the absolute BEST Japanese holiday) in Japan, as well as having the chance to tour around and do some yokai research and collect visual reference for my next book. 続きを読む



と、言うことで・・・夏です!妖怪の季節がやってきました!涼しくなりたい皆さんに朗報です。私の本「The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons」の妖怪たちの展示がスペースおいちさんで開催されます。

Hyakki Yagyou poster

Hyakki Yagyou, 7/26-8/16 @ Space Oichi



The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons (百鬼夜行)発売中!

私の本、The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons (百鬼夜行)が遂に発売されました!

The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons (cover)


妖怪は、古来から日本で言い伝えられてきたとても不可思議な生き物であり、その種類は大変幅広いものであります。例えば口が頭の後ろについている女性や、人間の肛門が好物のwater goblins:水のゴブリン(河童を表現しています),悪い夢のみを食べる、象―ドラゴン(獏を表現しています)。また、死んだ体のゾンビや話ができるキツネ、火の息を吐く鶏に、道を行ったり来たりする生きている腐った肉塊などもいるのです。

The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons (百鬼夜行)」には大変多くの妖怪が載っています!100種類もの日本の妖怪を、一つずつ丁寧に描きました。全てフルカラーで、全ての妖怪についての詳細な英語の説明もついています(古い文献や民話を翻訳しています)。


The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons (百鬼夜行)」は、100以上のフルカラーイラストが掲載された224ページの本です。本の中であなたは以下の妖怪を見つけることができますよ!




Night Parade - Map of Japan

Night Parade - Kappa

Night Parade - Hou-ou

Night Parade - Out at Sea