Showing posts with label hibutsu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hibutsu. Show all posts

6/25/2014

Hibutsu secret statues

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Hibutsu 秘仏 secret statues

Secret Buddha Statues are enshrined in special tabernacles called zushi 厨子 and are shown at regular intervals to the public. Some are shown every year, others every seven, seventeen, thirtythree or hundred years only. Some are never shown.
This can be a replica of the original hidden statue or a different one altogether.

Usually a substitute statue ("stand before it" maedachi 前立) is placed in front of this tabernacle and can be venerated in prayers at any time.

. hibutsu 秘仏 secret or hidden Buddha Statues .  
- Introduction -

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不動明王の秘仏像 Secret Statues of Fudo Myo-O


. Hoozanji 宝山寺 Hozan-Ji / Ikomasan 生駒山 . - Nara

. Juurin-In 十輪院 Jurin-In . - Nara
..... 玉桂寺 Gyokei-Ji

. Kookenji 弘憲寺 Koken-Ji . - Takamatsu, Kagawa

. Koyasan, Namikiri Fudo 高野山 波切不動明王 .

. Saishoo In 最勝院 Saisho-In . - Hirosaki, Aomori

. 天長寺 Tenchooji 天長寺 Tencho-Ji . - Miyazaki

. Yokoyama Fudo 横山不動尊 .
..... Daitokuji 大徳寺 Daitoku-Ji, Miyagi

. Zuigan-Ji 瑞巌寺, Godai-Do 五大堂 .
..... Matsushima松島, Miyagi

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Kannon with 1000 arms 千手観音立像
and at her side (wakiji 脇侍) Fudo Myo-O
and Bishamonten
秘仏の千手観音立像と脇侍の不動明王像、毘沙門天像
These statues are important cultural property 国重要文化財.
The statues are from the late Kamakura period.

These statues are shown once every 33 years, from October 17 to November 23.

Shoomyooji 正明寺 Shomyo-Ji
滋賀県蒲生郡日野町松尾 - Matsuo town, Shiga

The original temple was lost in a fire during the period of the warring states 戦国時代 (ca. 1467 - 1573). It was rebuilt in the Edo period. The Main Hall was relocated from the Imperial Palace 清涼殿 on the wish of emperor Gomizuno Tenno 後水尾天皇 (1596 - 1680)

- source : kanagawabunnkaken.web.fc2.com


- - - - - - - Other Fudo statues on this list of hibutsu

千葉・妙楽寺- Myoraku-Ji - Chiba
千葉県長生郡睦沢町妙楽寺500

香川・出釈迦寺 Shukkeshaka-Ji - Kagawa
(Nr. 73 on the Henro Pilgrimage)
香川県善通寺市吉原町1091番地

Kyoto 京都
神応寺杉山谷不動尊 Jinno-Ji, Sugiyama Fudo
Shoogo-In 聖護院門跡 Shogo-In Monzeki Imperial Temple
大蓮寺 Dairen-Ji  / Gokuraku-In 極楽院
青蓮院国宝  Shoren-In
Sanzenin 三千院 Sanzen-In - Konjiki Fudo 金色不動 


三重・常福寺 - Jofuku-Ji - Mie


大阪・金剛寺、 Kongo-Ji, 観心寺 Kanjin-Ji Osaka

Tokyo
金剛寺 Kongo-Ji


秘仏御開帳 - a long list
- source : kanagawabunnkaken.web.fc2.com

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. - Join Fudo Myo-O on facebook - Fudō Myō-ō .

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. Pilgrimages to Fudo Temples 不動明王巡礼
Fudo Myo-O Junrei - Fudo Pilgrims .



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Koken-Ji Takamatsu

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Kookenji 弘憲寺 Koken-Ji

Statue of Fudo Myo-O and two attendants -
hibutsu
secret statue, shown only once a year.



Important cultural property 重要文化財

The Statue is 109 cm high and made from hinoki 檜 cypress wood.
It stands on a Stone Pedestal (iwaza 岩坐)

 不動明王は、身の丈109センチの檜(ひのき)の一木造りで岩坐の上に立っておられる。頭の髪は、頂で蓮華(れんげ)の花型に結(ゆ)い、前髪を左右に分けて束ね、左肩から垂らす。腰には短い裳(も)をまとい、腰紐で結ぶ。このお姿から、印度の古代の田舎の童子の髪の結い方や服装がうかがわれる。  
額にしわをよせ眉をさかだて、左の目は半眼に右目はカッと見開く。いわゆる天地眼(てんちがん)で、左の上牙で下唇を右の下牙で上唇をかみしめ、忿怒相(ふんぬそう)をしている。不動信仰の厳しさを感じさせられる。
 全身の動きは少なく、重厚さの中に穏やかさを感じさせ、貞観彫刻から藤原彫刻への移行がみえる。
旧法勲寺(ほうくんじ)(飯山町)から移されたと伝えられている。
- source : www.city.takamatsu.kagawa.jp

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〒760-0020 香川県高松市錦町2-4-29
2 Chome-4-29 Nishikimachi, Takamatsu, Kagawa



Strong relation ship to the daimyo regent of Kagawa,
Ikoma Chikamasa 生駒親正 (1526 - 1603)
and priest 良純上人.

The present-day priest is the 17th in a long family tradition.
He is a very open man and holds music events and yoga lessons at the temple.
He often walks around in blue-jeans to show he is just another simple person.

弘憲寺は今から1300年前の天平時代、現在の香川県綾歌郡飯山町に法勲寺というお寺がありました。その後現在の高松に移された。法勲寺では、白鳳期から平安時代にかけての瓦が出土するとともに、「吾妻鏡」に見えることから鎌倉時代までは確実に存在していた。その後、縁起によれば廃寺となり、本尊、霊宝を近くにある島田寺に移したという。天正15年(1587)生駒親正が讃岐に国主として入ることにより、大きな転機を迎えた。

 縁起では、「生駒親正は、讃岐が空海の誕生地であることから、密教に帰依するとともに、島田寺の良純を敬って、法勲寺を再建して良純上人に寺務を執らせた。
慶長8年(1603)2月13日に親正(謚弘憲公)が没すると高松西浜(現在錦町)に葬られる。同年、親正公の息子一正により、法勲寺が親正公の塚上に移され、弘憲寺と称するとともに、良純を住職とした。この時、島田寺領50石を弘憲寺に付すとともに、古画、名器をうつし、島田寺を弘憲寺の末寺とした。この時より、良純上人を初代住職として弘憲寺が開山される。

 良純上人没後、二代目の住職となったのが 宥遍上人である。縁起によれば、大力の持ち主として知られ、高野山浄菩薩院の住職であった。嵯峨大覚寺法親王が高野山に遊学したとき宥遍上人を師と仰いだ。これを縁として寛永13年に上人の号を授かるとともに、法親王が後水尾天皇の皇子だったことから、宥遍上人は天皇から七条袈裟を賜っている。寛永19年生駒家は出羽国(秋田県)矢島に国替えになり、寛永19年、新藩主として松平家に入封する。弘憲寺は松平家から領内で弘憲寺のみに降雨の祈祷が命じられ、郡奉行や郷方役人が寺に詰めたと記されている。また、一群一ヶ寺のみ選ばれる五穀成就の祈祷も仰せつけられ、松平政権下においても、重要な役割を担っていた。
現在の住職で17代を数える 。

- Homepage of the temple
- source : www.koukenji.com

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- quote
Ikoma Chikamasa 生駒 親正
(1526 – March 25, 1603)
Japanese daimyo during the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods around the turn of the 17th century. His father was Ikoma Chikashige. Chikamasa was appointed one of the three chūrō (arbiters) by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.



In 1566, he became a retainer of Oda Nobunaga when he attacked Mino Province. He worked under Hashiba Hideyoshi (Toyotomi Hideyoshi) from then on, and was involved in various battles such as the Battle of Nagashino, the battle against Ishiyama Hongan-ji and the battle against the Saika party at Kii Province. In 1582, he served Hideyoshi after Nobunaga died, and was active in several battles such as the Battle of Yamazaki, the Battle of Shizugatake, the Siege of Odawara, and the Battle of Bunroku. He was given lands in Sanuki Province yielding 171,800 koku of rice because of his service. In Hideyoshi's last years, Ikoma Chikamasa, Nakamura Kazuuji, and Horio Yoshiharu were appointed to the position of chūrō under Toyotomi.

In 1600 at the Battle of Sekigahara, Chikamasa was part of Ishida Mitsunari's force while his son, Ikoma Kazumasa was part of Tokugawa Ieyasu's force. Chikamasa remained at Sanuki and sent his retainers in his stead to attack Tanabe castle in Tango Province. He chose this strategy to preserve the Ikoma clan regardless of which side prevailed. Because Kazumasa fought in Ieyasu's force, Ieyasu allowed Chikamasa to rule his existing domain after the battle, but Chikamasa took responsibility for fighting on the losing side by transferring the headship of the family to Kazumasa.
He became a priest and withdrew to Mount Koya.

He was soon permitted to return to Sanuki Province. In 1603, he died in Takamatsu castle.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !





Sweets for the Bride (oiri おいり, o-iri お入り)
This custom started in the Edo period around 1587 when the first lord of Sanuki, Ikoma Chikamasa 生駒親正公, had them made for the bride, using five colors, pink, yellow, orange, white and light blue.
. Washoku - Sweets from Shikoku .

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. hibutsu 秘仏 secret or hidden Buddha statues .


. 四国三十六不動尊霊場会 ...
Fudo Pilgrims to 36 temples in Shikoku .
 
- Introduction -

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. - Join Fudo Myo-O on facebook - Fudō Myō-ō .

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. Pilgrimages to Fudo Temples 不動明王巡礼
Fudo Myo-O Junrei - Fudo Pilgrims .



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7/12/2008

Nekotsuki and Monsters

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Fudo stabbing a Monster Cat
猫突 Nekotsuki Fudo


『猫突』(ねこつき). 猫突不動明王




This is a secret statue (hibutsu 秘仏)
at the temple Saishoo In 最勝院 Saisho-In,
Hirosaki, Aomori prefecture.
最勝院秘仏 猫突不動明王
青森県弘前市大字銅屋町63番地

63 Dōyamachi, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori


This statue had been at the temple Daizen-In 高賀山大善院. It was already mentioned in old books of the Tsugaru peninsula.

Kongoozan Saishoo-in 金剛山 最勝院 - 金剛山光明寺最勝院

The main statue is Dainichi Nyorai 大日如来.
People come here to pray for a good harvest and peace in the land.
There is also a statue of 文殊菩薩 Monju Bosatsu in the temple.

After the unification at the beginning of the Edo period, on advise of Priest Tenkai, there were five Shingon temples established:
津軽真言五山 Tsugaru Shingon Gozan.
Saisho-In was the leading Head of these temples. It also supervised shrines 千百三十三社 in the region for the Bakufu government in Edo. It was the most powerful temple in the region.
In the Meiji period, when Buddhism and Shinto were separated, the temple was relocated from the "Demon Gate" 弘前鬼門 side of Hirosaki to its present location at the remains of 連光山大圓寺跡 Daien-Ji (now temple Nr. 22 in the Kobo Daishi Pilgrimage).

The most prominent feature is the five-storied pagoda in the compound.




- quote
Five-Storied Pagoda in Hirosaki
Speaking about Hirosaki-city, tourists always give first choice to visit Hirosaki Castle. If you had time after visiting Hirosaki Park, or if you kinda missed the best days for viewing cherry blossoms, I recommend to stop at Five-storied Pagoda which is located to the southeast of the castle park. It will take about 15 minutes on foot from the castle.



This pagoda, 31.2 meters high, was build in 1667 for the repose of the soul of fallen soldiers. It is installed in the precinct of Saisho-in Temple.



- source : aomorimori.wordpress.com


- quote
The pagoda at Saisho-in temple was built around 350 years ago to commemorate those who died in battle during the reunification of the Tsugaru district in which Hirosaki is located. It's five stories high and stands just over 31 meters tall, and is said to be the most beautiful of its kind in Tohoku.



The komainu guardians are rabbits here.
- source : en.japantravel.com

- Chant of the temple
いつの世も 変わらぬ恵み 深くして 御教え高く そびえ立つ塔
澄みわたる 津軽国府の 中空に 最勝の塔 そびえて立てり


- Main Festivals
1月1日 修正会
1月15日 歓喜天祈祷会
2月1日 厄払い
旧暦3月21日 正御影供
旧暦4月8日 彿生会
旧暦6月13日 午頭天王例大祭
10月15日 七五三祝祷会
12月31日 除夜の鐘

- Belongs to the following pilgrimages
東北三十六不動尊霊場 第十五番札所 36 Fudo Temples in Tohoku
北国八十八ヶ所霊場 第五十九番札所 88 Henro Temples in the North
津軽八十八ヶ所霊場 第四十九番札所 88 Henro Temples in Tsugaru
津軽一代様 卯年生まれ - Tsugaru Personal Protectors - year of the hare


. 津軽弘法大師霊場 - Tsugaru Kobo Daishi Reijo
Pilgrimage to 23 Kobo Daishi temples in Tsugaru .


. 東北三十六不動尊霊場
Pilgrimage to 36 Fudo Temples in Tohoku .


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CLICK for more photos

Let us look at the concept of a "monster cat", bakeneko, before proceeding to this special Fudo statue. This type of cat has supernatural abilities and sometimes a split tail.

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A bakeneko (化け猫, 化猫, "monster cat") is, in Japanese folklore, a cat with supernatural abilities akin to those of the fox or raccoon dog. A cat may become a bakeneko in a number of ways: it may reach a certain age, be kept for a certain number of years, grow to a certain size, or be allowed to keep a long tail.
In the last case, the tail forks in two and the bakeneko is then called a nekomata (猫又, nekomata, 猫叉, or 猫股 "forked cat"). This superstition may have some connection to the breeding of the Japanese Bobtail.


source : Matt on facebook
. . . CLICK here for more Photos !
Toriyama Sekien 鳥山石燕

A bakeneko will haunt any household it is kept in, creating ghostly fireballs, menacing sleepers, walking on its hind legs, changing its shape into that of a human, and even devouring its own mistress in order to shapeshift and take her place. When it is finally killed, its body may be as much as five feet in length. It also poses a danger if allowed into a room with a fresh corpse; a cat is believed to be capable of reanimating a body by jumping over it.

There are legends of bakeneko in various parts of Japan, but the tale of the Nabeshima Bakeneko Disturbance in Saga Prefecture is especially famous

Folk legends
As with the nekomata, another cat-like yōkai which is said to derive from a cat whose tail split into two when it grew older, there are folk beliefs across Japan about how aged cats would turn into bakeneko. There are tales of cats raised for twelve years in Ibaraki Prefecture and Nagano Prefecture, and for thirteen years in Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture, that became bakeneko. In Yamagata District, Hiroshima Prefecture, it is said that a cat raised for seven years or longer would kill the one that raised it. There are also many regions where when people began raising a cat, they would decide in advance how many years they would raise it because of this superstition. Also, depending on the area, there are stories in which cats that were killed by humans in a brutal manner would become bakeneko and curse that human. The stories of bakeneko are not only about aged cats, but are also sometimes stories of revenge against cruel humans.

The strange abilities attributed to the bakeneko are various, but include shapeshifting into humans, wearing a towel or napkin on the head and dancing, speaking human words, cursing humans, manipulating dead people, possessing humans, lurking in the mountains and taking wolves along with them to attack travelers,[and many other things. As an unusual example, on Aji island, Oshika District, Miyagi Prefecture and in the Oki Islands, Shimane Prefecture, there is a story of a cat that shapeshifted into a human and wanted to engage in sumo.

However, concerning the legend that cats could speak, it has been pointed out that it may have arisen because humans would misinterpret the cat's meowing as human language, and for this reason some would say that the cat is not a type of yōkai. In 1992 (Heisei 4), in the Yomiuri newspaper, there was an article that argued that when people thought they had heard a cat speak, upon listening a second time, they realized that it was simply the cat's meowing and that it was only coincidence that it resembled a word in human language.

In the Edo period (1603-1867), there was a folk belief that cats with long tails like snakes could bewitch people. Cats with long tails were disliked, and there was a custom of cutting their tails. It is speculated that this is the reason that there are so many cats in Japan with short tails nowadays, because natural selection has favored those with short tails.

Folk beliefs that cats can cause strange phenomena are not limited to Japan. For example, in Jinhua, Zhejiang, in China, it is said that a cat, after having been raised for three years by humans, would then start bewitching them. Because it is said that cats with white tails are especially good at this, there arose the custom of refraining from raising white cats. Since it is said that their ability to bewitch humans comes from taking in the spiritual energy of the moon, it is said that when a cat looks up at the moon, whether its tail has been cut or not, it should be killed on the spot.



Nabeshima Bakeneko Disturbance
about Nabeshima Mitsushige, the second daimyo of the Saga Domain
"Hana Sagano Nekoma Ishibumi Shi" (花嵯峨野猫魔碑史)
Saga no Yozakura (佐賀の夜桜)
Saga Kaibyōden" (佐賀怪猫伝)
Kaidan Saga Yashiki (怪談佐賀屋敷)

Edo period (1603-1867)
"Tōen Shosetsu" (兎園小説)
"Mimibukuro" (耳嚢)
"Shin Chomonjū" (新著聞集)
"Seiban Kaidan Jikki" (西播怪談実記)
"Kasshi Yawa" (甲子夜話)
"Owari Ryōiki" (尾張霊異記)

In Makidani, Yamasaki, Shisō District, Harima Province (now within Shisō, Hyōgo Prefecture), a tale was passed down about a certain person in Karakawa who was a bakeneko.
- MORE in the WIKIPEDIA !

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futamata kaijuu 二股怪獣 monster animal with two tails
Shiranui Monogatari 白縫物語 1862 - Utagawa Kunisada.


Iroha Nikki - The Cat of Okazaki
by Utagawa Kunisada




東駅いろは日記 - 岡崎

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In a Buddhist connection, a "monster cat" has the following abilities:

This monsterous evil cat is full of the three desires of humans 貪瞋癡(とんじんち, tonjinchi, bonno). When it openes its mouth, lies, slander and bad speach come out 悪口両舌(あっく りょうぜつ, akku ryoozetsu). Its claws could kill people and it would steal things 殺生偸盗(せっしょうちゅうとう, sesshoo chuutoo). It also had the "wicked eye" to swear and curse people 瞋恚 邪見(しんにじゃけん, shinni jaken).


More about
Worldly desires, illusions, delusions (bonno)



Utagawa Yoshitaki (1841–1899), Actors Ichikawa Udanji I as the Ghost of the Courtesan Michinoku (R) and Kataoka Shôtarô as a Butterfly (L), in the Play Courtesans at the Festival of Spring Flowers (Keisei nazuna no sekku) 「契情なつなの佳節」「陸奥霊 市川右団次」(初代)「胡蝶の前 片岡松太郎」, 1873 (Meiji 6), February, signed Yoshitaki ga (on right sheet), Yoshitaki hitsu (on left sheet) 芳瀧画 芳瀧筆,
the impression at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
source : facebook

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Woodcut Kitty Porn of the Edo and Meiji Periods
by Becca Rothfeld

Cats are the darlings of the internet, but a new exhibition coming to Manhattan’s Japan Society this spring brings a different perspective to bear on our feline friends:
Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-E Collection will showcase woodblock prints of cats from the Edo Period (1615–1867).


Beloved Concubine Kocho, Her Maid Okoma, and Narushima Tairyo” (1853)
Utagawa Kunisada,

In many of the prints on display in the Life of Cats, cats are dignified, even courtly, animals. They take their place alongside well-coiffed ladies, strolling around the grounds of palaces and wielding fancy fans. Occasionally, they even don aristocratic apparel; often, they are decidedly sophisticated, bordering on human.
- source : hyperallergic.com/ -

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Here now the legend about this CAT.

Once upon a time ...
There was a monster cat at our temple that would tempt weak and cunning people and lead them into temptation and on evil ways. Therefore people in the neighbourhood were much afraid of it. It would also lick the oil from the temple lamps and when the oil was gone and all was dark it would steal things from the altar and eat the offerings.

In the beginning, one of the apprentice monks was thought to be the evil-doer and howevermuch he explained he did not steal the offerings, he was hit and thrown out of the temple. But but the evil deeds in the temple did not stop after he left.

The people of the village met and discussed what to do, but nothing seemed to help. The cat would always see the ruses of people and play even more bad tricks on them.

The stories of the evil monster cat made the rounds in the country and even the lord of the domain in his castle heared about it. The lord came to the temple Saisho-In and asked the head priest to engage the support of the deities.

So a secret ritual was held for seven days and prayers and fire rituals for Fudo Myo-O were performed three times a day during this week. When the last day of this ceremonies came, the evil cat tried to sneek into the main temple hall at midnight and eat some of the offerings.

And it happens in just that very "moment" (刹那 : せつな, setsuna, when an enlightened being snips his fingers and all things fall into place; when a rope woven of uncountable hairs is cut by the sword of a powerful being and only one hair is really cut into two parts. In modern Japan, one Setsuna equals 1/75 of a second. )

Fudo on the alter platform raised his hand with the sword and within one setsuna he stabbed the cat right into its breast.

GYAAAAAAAAAAAAA !

A loud mewoing cry war heared everywhere in the temple. Then a cat ran out of the main hall, through the garden and over the wall of the temple ...

In the morning Fudo Myo-O appeared in the dream of the priest.
"I have punished this evil cat. Its dead body is now outside on the west side of the temple wall. Please give it a proper burial! "

When the priest woke up and went to the spot, he found a huge cat with a red mark on the breast. When he went back to the temple hall he saw red blood drip from the sword of Fudo Myo-O and his rope was in disorder as if it had just been used.

So the priest burried the cat, placed a stone marker on its grave and peace returned to the village.



source : www15.plala.or.jp

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bakeneko, bake-neko 化け猫 the monster cat


The Monster Cats enjoying a Dance




Cat, Fox and Frog . . .


source : facebook
Comical Hand Gesture Game (Dooke Ken Awase)
Cat, Inari fox and Frog


Woodblock print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川 国芳 .



short night ...
at the strike of midnight
the monsters dance



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source : www.nichibun.ac.jp

by 歌川芳艶 Utagawa Yoshitsuya (1822 - 1866)

Strange monsters of the following kind are afraid at the feet of this female Daruma

hashika 麻疹 measels
kinkan 金柑 cumquat
kaibaoke, kaiba oke 飼葉桶 bucket for animal feed
mugi 麦 wheat


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Monsters from the Kaibutsu Ehon 
The Kaibutsu Ehon 怪物絵本 ("Illustrated Book of Monsters") is an 1881 book featuring woodblock prints of yōkai, or creatures from Japanese folklore. Illustrated by painter Nabeta Gyokuei, the book is modeled after the influential works of Toriyama Sekien, an 18th-century scholar and ukiyo-e artist known for his attempt to catalog the many species of yōkai in Japan.


Kasha -- Cat-like demon that descends from the sky to feed on corpses before cremation



Nekomata -- Fork-tailed cat with a host of supernatural abilities

- source : pinktentacle.com/2011

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Tales of Old Japan
by Baron Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford Redesdale

THE VAMPIRE CAT OF NABÉSHIMA

There is a tradition in the Nabéshima family that, many years ago, the Prince of Hizen was bewitched and cursed by a cat that had been kept by one of his retainers. This prince had in his house a lady of rare beauty, called O Toyo: amongst all his ladies she was the favourite, and there was none who could rival her charms and accomplishments. One day the Prince went out into the garden with O Toyo, and remained enjoying the fragrance of the flowers until sunset, when they returned to the palace, never noticing that they were being followed by a large cat. Having parted with her lord, O Toyo retired to her own room and went to bed. At midnight she awoke with a start, and became aware of a huge cat that crouched watching her; and when she cried out, the beast sprang on her, and, fixing its cruel teeth in her delicate throat, throttled her to death. What a piteous end for so fair a dame, the darling of her prince's heart, to die suddenly, bitten to death by a cat! Then the cat, having scratched out a grave under the verandah, buried the corpse of O Toyo, and assuming her form, began to bewitch the Prince.

But my lord the Prince knew nothing of all this, and little thought that the beautiful creature who caressed and fondled him was an impish and foul beast that had slain his mistress and assumed her shape in order to drain out his life's blood. Day by day, as time went on, the Prince's strength dwindled away; the colour of his face was changed, and became pale and livid; and he was as a man suffering from a deadly sickness. Seeing this, his councillors and his wife became greatly alarmed; so they summoned the physicians, who prescribed various remedies for him; but the more medicine he took, the more serious did his illness appear, and no treatment was of any avail. But most of all did he suffer in the night-time, when his sleep would be troubled and disturbed by hideous dreams. In consequence of this, his councillors nightly appointed a hundred of his retainers to sit up and watch over him; but, strange to say, towards ten o'clock on the very first night that the watch was set, the guard were seized with a sudden and unaccountable drowsiness, which they could not resist, until one by one every man had fallen asleep. Then the false O Toyo came in and harassed the Prince until morning. The following night the same thing occurred, and the Prince was subjected to the imp's tyranny, [pg 202] while his guards slept helplessly around him. Night after night this was repeated, until at last three of the Prince's councillors determined themselves to sit up on guard, and see whether they could overcome this mysterious drowsiness; but they fared no better than the others, and by ten o'clock were fast asleep. The next day the three councillors held a solemn conclave, and their chief, one Isahaya Buzen, said—

"This is a marvellous thing, that a guard of a hundred men should thus be overcome by sleep. Of a surety, the spell that is upon my lord and upon his guard must be the work of witchcraft. Now, as all our efforts are of no avail, let us seek out Ruiten, the chief priest of the temple called Miyô In, and beseech him to put up prayers for the recovery of my lord."



And the other councillors approving what Isahaya Buzen had said, they went to the priest Ruiten and engaged him to recite litanies that the Prince might be restored to health.

So it came to pass that Ruiten, the chief priest of Miyô In, offered up prayers nightly for the Prince. One night, at the ninth hour (midnight), when he had finished his religious exercises and was preparing to lie down to sleep, he fancied that he heard a noise outside in the garden, as if some one were washing himself at the well. Deeming this passing strange, he looked down from the window; and there in the moonlight he saw a handsome young soldier, some twenty-four years of age, washing himself, who, when he had finished cleaning himself and had put on his clothes, stood before the figure of Buddha and prayed fervently for the recovery of my lord the Prince. Ruiten looked on with admiration; and the young man, when he had made an end of his prayer, was going away; but the priest stopped him, calling out to him—

"Sir, I pray you to tarry a little: I have something to say to you."

"At your reverence's service. What may you please to want?"

"Pray be so good as to step up here, and have a little talk."

"By your reverence's leave;" and with this he went upstairs.

Then Ruiten said—

"Sir, I cannot conceal my admiration that you, being so young a man, should have so loyal a spirit. I am Ruiten, the chief priest of this temple, who am engaged in praying for the recovery of my lord. Pray what is your name?"

"My name, sir, is Itô Sôda, and I am serving in the infantry of Nabéshima. Since my lord has been sick, my one desire has been to assist in nursing him; but, being only a simple soldier, I am not of sufficient rank to come into his presence, so I have no resource but to pray to the gods of the country and to Buddha that my lord may regain his health."

When Ruiten heard this, he shed tears in admiration of the fidelity of Itô Sôda, and said—

"Your purpose is, indeed, a good one; but what a strange [pg 203] sickness this is that my lord is afflicted with! Every night he suffers from horrible dreams; and the retainers who sit up with him are all seized with a mysterious sleep, so that not one can keep awake. It is very wonderful."

"Yes," replied Sôda, after a moment's reflection, "this certainly must be witchcraft. If I could but obtain leave to sit up one night with the Prince, I would fain see whether I could not resist this drowsiness and detect the goblin."

At last the priest said, "I am in relations of friendship with Isahaya Buzen, the chief councillor of the Prince. I will speak to him of you and of your loyalty, and will intercede with him that you may attain your wish."

"Indeed, sir, I am most thankful. I am not prompted by any vain thought of self-advancement, should I succeed: all I wish for is the recovery of my lord. I commend myself to your kind favour."

"Well, then, to-morrow night I will take you with me to the councillor's house."

"Thank you, sir, and farewell." And so they parted.

On the following evening Itô Sôda returned to the temple Miyô In, and having found Ruiten, accompanied him to the house of Isahaya Buzen: then the priest, leaving Sôda outside, went in to converse with the councillor, and inquire after the Prince's health.

"And pray, sir, how is my lord? Is he in any better condition since I have been offering up prayers for him?"

"Indeed, no; his illness is very severe. We are certain that he must be the victim of some foul sorcery; but as there are no means of keeping a guard awake after ten o'clock, we cannot catch a sight of the goblin, so we are in the greatest trouble."

"I feel deeply for you: it must be most distressing. However, I have something to tell you. I think that I have found a man who will detect the goblin; and I have brought him with me."

"Indeed! who is the man?"

"Well, he is one of my lord's foot-soldiers, named Itô Sôda, a faithful fellow, and I trust that you will grant his request to be permitted to sit up with my lord."

"Certainly, it is wonderful to find so much loyalty and zeal in a common soldier," replied Isahaya Buzen, after a moment's reflection; "still it is impossible to allow a man of such low rank to perform the office of watching over my lord."

"It is true that he is but a common soldier," urged the priest; "but why not raise his rank in consideration of his fidelity, and then let him mount guard?"

"It would be time enough to promote him after my lord's recovery. But come, let me see this Itô Sôda, that I may know what manner of man he is: if he pleases me, I will consult with the other councillors, and perhaps we may grant his request." [pg 204] "I will bring him in forthwith," replied Ruiten, who thereupon went out to fetch the young man.

When he returned, the priest presented Itô Sôda to the councillor, who looked at him attentively, and, being pleased with his comely and gentle appearance, said—

"So I hear that you are anxious to be permitted to mount guard in my lord's room at night. Well, I must consult with the other councillors, and we will see what can be done for you."

When the young soldier heard this he was greatly elated, and took his leave, after warmly thanking Buiten, who had helped him to gain his object. The next day the councillors held a meeting, and sent for Itô Sôda, and told him that he might keep watch with the other retainers that very night. So he went his way in high spirits, and at nightfall, having made all his preparations, took his place among the hundred gentlemen who were on duty in the prince's bed-room.

Now the Prince slept in the centre of the room, and the hundred guards around him sat keeping themselves awake with entertaining conversation and pleasant conceits. But, as ten o'clock approached, they began to doze off as they sat; and in spite of all their endeavours to keep one another awake, by degrees they all fell asleep. Itô Sôda all this while felt an irresistible desire to sleep creeping over him, and, though he tried by all sorts of ways to rouse himself, he saw that there was no help for it, but by resorting to an extreme measure, for which he had already made his preparations. Drawing out a piece of oil paper which he had brought with him, and spreading it over the mats, he sat down upon it; then he took the small knife which he carried in the sheath of his dirk, and stuck it into his own thigh. For awhile the pain of the wound kept him awake; but as the slumber by which he was assailed was the work of sorcery, little by little he became drowsy again. Then he twisted the knife round and round in his thigh, so that the pain becoming very violent, he was proof against the feeling of sleepiness, and kept a faithful watch. Now the oil paper which he had spread under his legs was in order to prevent the blood, which might spurt from his wound, from defiling the mats.

So Itô Sôda remained awake, but the rest of the guard slept; and as he watched, suddenly the sliding-doors of the Prince's room were drawn open, and he saw a figure coming in stealthily, and, as it drew nearer, the form was that of a marvellously beautiful woman some twenty-three years of age. Cautiously she looked around her; and when she saw that all the guard were asleep, she smiled an ominous smile, and was going up to the Prince's bedside, when she perceived that in one corner of the room there was a man yet awake. This seemed to startle her, but she went up to Sôda and said—

"I am not used to seeing you here. Who are you?"

"My name is Itô Sôda, and this is the first night that I have been on guard."
[pg 205]

"A troublesome office, truly! Why, here are all the rest of the guard asleep. How is it that you alone are awake? You are a trusty watchman."

"There is nothing to boast about. I'm asleep myself, fast and sound."

"What is that wound on your knee? It is all red with blood."

"Oh! I felt very sleepy; so I stuck my knife into my thigh, and the pain of it has kept me awake."

"What wondrous loyalty!" said the lady.

"Is it not the duty of a retainer to lay down his life for his master? Is such a scratch as this worth thinking about?"

Then the lady went up to the sleeping prince and said, "How fares it with my lord to-night?" But the Prince, worn out with sickness, made no reply. But Sôda was watching her eagerly, and guessed that it was O Toyo, and made up his mind that if she attempted to harass the Prince he would kill her on the spot. The goblin, however, which in the form of O Toyo had been tormenting the Prince every night, and had come again that night for no other purpose, was defeated by the watchfulness of Itô Sôda; for whenever she drew near to the sick man, thinking to put her spells upon him, she would turn and look behind her, and there she saw Itô Sôda glaring at her; so she had no help for it but to go away again, and leave the Prince undisturbed.

At last the day broke, and the other officers, when they awoke and opened their eyes, saw that Itô Sôda had kept awake by stabbing himself in the thigh; and they were greatly ashamed, and went home crestfallen.

That morning Itô Sôda went to the house of Isahaya Buzen, and told him all that had occurred the previous night. The councillors were all loud in their praises of Itô Sôda's behaviour, and ordered him to keep watch again that night. At the same hour, the false O Toyo came and looked all round the room, and all the guard were asleep, excepting Itô Sôda, who was wide awake; and so, being again frustrated, she returned to her own apartments.

Now as since Sôda had been on guard the Prince had passed quiet nights, his sickness began to get better, and there was great joy in the palace, and Sôda was promoted and rewarded with an estate. In the meanwhile O Toyo, seeing that her nightly visits bore no fruits, kept away; and from that time forth the night-guard were no longer subject to fits of drowsiness. This coincidence struck Sôda as very strange, so he went to Isahaya Buzen and told him that of a certainty this O Toyo was no other than a goblin. Isahaya Buzen reflected for a while, and said—

"Well, then, how shall we kill the foul thing?"

"I will go to the creature's room, as if nothing were the matter, and try to kill her; but in case she should try to escape, I will beg you to order eight men to stop outside and lie in wait for her."
[pg 206]

Having agreed upon this plan, Sôda went at nightfall to O Toyo's apartment, pretending to have been sent with a message from the Prince. When she saw him arrive, she said—

"What message have you brought me from my lord?"

"Oh! nothing in particular. Be so look as to look at this letter;" and as he spoke, he drew near to her, and suddenly drawing his dirk cut at her; but the goblin, springing back, seized a halberd, and glaring fiercely at Sôda, said—

"How dare you behave like this to one of your lord's ladies? I will have you dismissed;" and she tried to strike Sôda with the halberd. But Sôda fought desperately with his dirk; and the goblin, seeing that she was no match for him, threw away the halberd, and from a beautiful woman became suddenly transformed into a cat, which, springing up the sides of the room, jumped on to the roof. Isahaya Buzen and his eight men who were watching outside shot at the cat, but missed it, and the beast made good its escape.

So the cat fled to the mountains, and did much mischief among the surrounding people, until at last the Prince of Hizen ordered a great hunt, and the beast was killed.

But the Prince recovered from his sickness; and Itô Sôda was richly rewarded.

- source : www.gutenberg.org

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- quote -
Cute collection of cats in the yokai world features magical powers, gods and flying catfish
Ayako Ishiguro is one of Japan’s most prolific cat illustrators. Her style is influenced by a mix of manga and traditional styles, and she’s published several books and held numerous exhibitions all featuring the humble feline.
- source : rocketnews24.com -

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source : facebook

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Byōso kassen 猫鼠合戦 The Battle of the Cats and Mice (1859)
Yoshitoshi - Cataloge of the prints
- source : yoshitoshi.net/series-
. . . CLICK here for more Photos !


Neko no sōshi 猫の草紙 Soshi story book of cats
tr. by Virginia Skord in "Tales of Tears and Laughter".
. . . CLICK here for Photos !




Nezumi no sōshi 鼠の草紙 Soshi story book of mice
A mouse monk meets a cat monk on the road....
. . . CLICK here for more Photos !


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Neko no myōjutsu 猫の妙術 The Cat's Eerie Skill
佚斎樗山 Issai Chozan (1659-1741)


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Ghost Stories, kaidan 怪談

Monsters and Ghosts of Japan

. Yokai monsters 妖怪 - ABC list .



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