Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Japanese urban legends – Part 2 –

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/20 Others , ,

“Toshi densetsu” : Japanese urban legends (2)

In this post, there are only two Japanese urban legends.
The main topic is a Japanese toilet.

 

Yume (Dream)

A cat in a dream

-A cat in a dream in Florence, Italy-
Nothing to do with the story.

A high school girl had a nightmare that she was mangled by a psychopath with his knife on the way home from her school.
It was so vivid that she couldn’t forget about the dream after she woke up the next morning.

In the afternoon, when she was walking home, she noticed she was near the place where she was murdered in the dream.

She’s got a bad feeling, so she phoned her home and asked to pick her up.
She went to a convenience store nearby and read a magazine while she was waiting for the car.

Then, suddenly she felt somebody was watching her.
She looked up and saw the psychopath outside through the window.
He was glaring at her and said in disgust;
“Hey, different from my dream!”

 

Akai kami, aoi kami (Red paper, blue paper)

Red paper, blue paper

At a school in the evening, a boy went to a toilet.
He noticed there was no paper left after.
Then there was a voice asking, “Shall I give you red paper or blue paper?”
He answered “Red”.

In the next moment, all the blood spewed out from his body, and he was dead in his own blood.

Another boy heard this story.
He was frightened to go to the toilet, but he was desperate and had no choice.
When he went there, the same question was asked.
The boy answered “Blue”.

In the next moment, all the blood was gone from his body, and he was dead.

– Note –
Some people say this red-or-blue paper story originates from “Aka manto” (a red cape):
A story of a man wearing a red cape who kidnaps and kills children.
This red-cape man probably is based on a true crime story, the “ao getto” (blue blanket) murder.
It’s a creepy, unsolved case in Fukui in 1906.
Three members of a family were assumed to be brutally murdered by a man wearing a blue blanket over his head.
(The body of the master of the family had never been found)
If you are interested, see here.(Japanese page)

There are many horror / monster stories related to a toilet in Japan.
I guess this is because in the old times, every toilet was “washiki”, Japanese squat-type toilet.
It was not flushable, so it was a hole in the ground.
In addition, the light in a toilet was not strong, and that made the “washiki” toilet usually a dim place.
To prevent somebody falling in, there was a lid to cover the hole, but of course you have to take the lid away, straddle the toilet and take a squat pose when you have your business to do, and you sometimes feel cool air from the hole…
Perhaps you can imagine how scary it was especially in the night even for adults.
If you are (un)lucky, you may be able to come across this old “washiki” toilet in an old house.

I described this type of toilet as “Toppon benjyo”, but my colleague called it as “Botton benjyo”.
(“benjyo” means “toilet”, and both “toppon” and “botton” are onomatopoeia of the sound which a thing drops into the darkness)

Japanese toilet

-Image of an old "washiki" toilet-

 

The god and a monster in a toilet

In Kyoto area, there is a “youkai” (Japanese monster) called “Kainade” or “Kainaze”.
If you go to a toilet in the night on a day of “setsubun”*, in the beginning of February, “Kainade” will stroke you.
To avoid this, you just have to say “Shall I give you red paper or white paper?”

Around 1940, there was a legend that your bottom would be licked or stroked if you answered the voice asking “Shall I give you red paper or white paper?” when you went to a toilet in a school.
There were similar stories throughout Japan, and they were probably derived from old domestic monsters like “Kainade”.

Furthermore, this kind of monster in a toilet may originate from a god.
In Japan, it is said that there are eight-million (= numerous) gods.
That means there is a god everywhere and of course in a toilet.
The god called “Ususama myouou” (originally an Indian god) has the power to get rid of dirt and evil, and is supposed to be “the guardian of a toilet”.
There are several temples where this god is worshipped and “Kaiun-ji” in Shinagawa, Tokyo is one of them.
You should be able to get a talisman for your toilet there.

I heard people had a service for the god in a toilet on a certain day in some areas, and in Makabe county in Ibaraki, male and female dolls would be offered to a toilet.
The dolls are made with blue and red or red and white papers.
I guess this sort of service was held in many places in the old times, but I’m not sure if there are any areas left where it is still held.

*About “setsubun”:
Literal meaning is seasonal division.
Originally from China, and there were four “setsubun” days.
The present “setsubun” is only once for spring, around February 4th.

 

Superstition and service related to a toilet and a baby

Baby


Illustration from Illust-ya

It is said if a pregnant woman cleans a toilet, she will have a beautiful baby.
When you clean a washiki toilet, you need to bend down.
People believed that a woman would have a safe delivery if they did jobs which required them to crouch down back then.
This might be partially a reason of the superstition.

There is (was?) also a service called “setchin-mairi”.
“Setchin” is another (old) word for toilet.
“Mairi” means “a visit”.
A midwife brings a newborn baby to a toilet after certain days from his / her birth.
I found several different reasons of this service.
For example, one said the baby would grown up beautifully.
Another one said that a newborn baby belongs to gods rather than this world, and a toilet is a border between the gods’ world and the real.
By bringing a baby to the border, he / she would know he / she belongs to this mortal world.

 

 

Related posts:
#Urban legends(1) (3)

The following two tabs change content below.

kara

A Japanese living in Okayama. A proud "Otaku"! Loves animals, snacks, manga, games (PC, iPad, Nintendo DS, PSP), foreign TV dramas, traveling and football (soccer).

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

Japanese Number List 2

Basic Japanese : Numbers – Minor one to ten in Japanese

One to ten in Japanese 2 In this post, I’m going to write minor version of one to ten in Japanese. I doubt if this is introduced in Japanese textbooks for foreign people. This is still used, but rather rare I guess. Also, it’s less favourable in the formal conversations or texts. Minor ways to […]

Read Article

Aiueo 3

Basic Japanese : Old Japanese Alphabets

Old Japanese Alphabets or Historical Japanese Alphabets The two red characters in “gojyuu-on” and “iroha-uta” are out of use now. Both characters had their own sounds consisting of a consonant and a vowel, but each of them changed into the same sound as a vowel which has a similar sound. Although they couldn’t be distinguished […]

Read Article

Neko tan

Basic Japanese : Casual Japanese honorific titles

The following titles are commonly used casual Japanese honorific titles and very rarely used titles. Never ever use any of these to higher ranking people or your customers unless you are very close to the person. If you are not so sure which title to use to somebody, the person’s family name with “san” is […]

Read Article

Aiueo 1

Basic Japanese : Japanese Alphabetical orders – “Gojyuu-on” and “Iroha-uta”

General Info : Japanese Alphabetical orders There are two patterns of Japanese Alphabetical orders. One starts with “A”, “I”, “U”. This is now used at school to learn Japanese Alphabets, Hiragana and Katakana. Known as “Gojyuu-on” (lit. “fifty sounds”). The other starts with “I”, “Ro”, “Ha”. Probably this was more commonly used before. Known as […]

Read Article

Hyaku

Basic Japanese : Numbers in Japanese from eleven to hundreds (and Zero)

Numbers in Japanese : Zero and over ten to hundreds Zero and from 11 to 999. Zero in Japanese “Zero” or “Rei”. “Zero” from English, and “Rei” from Chinese. The pronunciation of “rei” is almost the same as English “lay”. Both are very commonly used, and generally considered as the same meaning. In fact, they […]

Read Article

Mister Karl

Basic Japanese : How to say “I” in Japanese – Part 2 –

General, but not very often used “I” in Japanese Several first-person singular pronouns for common people, only used by some. Neutral [Jibun] “Jibun” means “oneself”. Can be used by anybody according to circumstances, but I guess few common people use this as a usual pronoun for themselves. Maybe male athletes often use this, especially in […]

Read Article

Akatsuki no Yona

Basic Japanese : Formal Japanese honorific titles

At first, I was going to write about how to say “you” in Japanese, but the most common “you” word is a person’s name usually with suffix like “san”, “kun”, or “chan”. (ex. Hanako-san) This way of calling is used as third person as well. In this post, I’m trying to explain the variants and […]

Read Article

Number List 5

Basic Japanese : Trivia about numbers in Japanese

The final post about numbers in Japanese. Number over quadrillion Numbers over “chou” (trillion to quadrillion) are quite rarely used. You may hear the following unit “kei” sometimes, but numbers over the unit “kei” won’t be seen in usual life. I’ve never seen it myself even in the news and I actually can’t name units […]

Read Article

Japanese Number List 1

Basic Japanese : Numbers – General one to ten in Japanese

How to say one to ten in Japanese There are (more than) two ways for general counting. The one that is supposed to originate in China and the other is (probably) Japanese original. Now, the Chinese one is commonly used. The most common Japanese for one to ten With Kanji characters, their sounds should have […]

Read Article

Michizane with his poem

Go west : Dazaifu and Sugawara no Michizane

Sugawara no Michizane is the person who is worshipped as god of study at the shrine, “Dazaifu Tenman-guu”. “Sugawara” is the family name and “Michizane” is the first name. He is also well-known as one of the Big Three Onryou (vengeful spirit) in Japan, along with Taira no Masakado and Emperor Sutoku. Life of Sugawara […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑