The lovely lounger depicted to the left is Yamanba (also called Onibaba, Kijo, Yama-onna, or Yama-hime). She is a yokai that lives deep in the mountains. She has a raging apetite and in most stories, eats everything the victim has before eating the victim him/herself. She is also occasionally depicted as appearing as a helpful… Continue reading Yamanba (山姥)
There are a number of variations of this story. I've compiled one that I feel encompasses the main themes, but I've listed variations at the end. The source Japanese was mostly translated from 三枚のお札 and Japanese Wikipedia. *Note: The talismans in the story are pieces of paper with holy writing on them. ******** There once… Continue reading The Three Talismans (三枚のお札)
Mostly translated from 飯食わぬ女房. Although, in some variations, Yamanba does not become a spider. ---------------- Long ago there lived a man named Kansuke. He was a miserly cooper and wouldn't even go drinking unless someone else paid. When people told him to get a wife, he would say, "I only want a wife who doesn't eat… Continue reading The Wife Who Doesn’t Eat (飯食わぬ女房)
Mostly translated from 牛方と山姥 A cattleman named Kansuke packed many salted mackerel on his cow's back and went out to sell them in the large village on the other side of the mountain. After passing the summit Kansuke met an old woman. She said,"Kansuke, give me a salted mackerel." Kansuke was unnerved that she knew… Continue reading Yamanba and the Cattleman (牛方と山姥)
This is a telling of a Yamanba story in Hakata dialect (Kyushu) I think. But that's only from an internet search of なさい→んしゃい and を→ば, so feel free to correct me if you recognize the dialect. The radio show is called Toshio Ozawa's invitation to folk tales (小澤俊夫 昔話へのご招待 Toshi Ozawa -invition to the folk tale-)… Continue reading The Story of Yamanba
Women in traditional Japanese folk narratives tend to fall into two categories: wild and terrifying (i.e. monsters) or domesticated and subdued (i.e. virtuous). In the majority of the Japanese 'women in the wild' narratives, the female antagonist is literally a maneater or is parasitical in some other way to the men in the narrative.