In the past, I had mentioned how fantasizing the Japaneses folklore is. Ghosts, monsters and demons are called yokai in the country’s legends which in some cases, humans, animal and even household items could become. Over the years, I have read stories about the kappa, oni, inugami, and many others. Only recently, I have come across a tale about a monstrous creature called the gashadokuro.
In most yokai folklore, the gashadokuro comes into the existence after some atrocity. In the legend, people who died from famine and starvation become restless spirit if not properly buried. These souls, unable to pass on, become ghosts with an endless hunger. Over time, they become filled with anger and hatred for the living. Eventually the spirits will hold such a powerful resentment, they will return to their remains to animate their bones and gather together into one mass forming into a large skeleton monster.
The gashadokuro, also known as odokuro, is refereed as the starving skeleton in this Japanese legend. The yokai is described as a skeleton to be 15 times taller than a person putting it about 90 feet in height. In the folklore, this creature wanders around in the countryside at night, seeking out lost, lonely traveler to prey upon. If anyone was to come across the gashadokuro, it would grab the person with its skeleton hand, begin crashing them and then bite off the head. The creature would proceed to drink the victim dry of all blood.
One could question how is it possible for a 90 foot skeleton to get the drop on someone? In the folklore, the gashadokuro possesses some abilities, such as to turning invisible and moving stealthy. The legend warns the presence of this yokai is indicated by a ringing in ear that intensifies when its is closer. The gashadokuro is said to be powerful and indestructible and the only defense is either warding it off, seal it or wait for that stored malice to burn out.
The tale of the gashadokuro has been told for centuries in Japan. The legends say not only these abominations could be formed by vengeful spirits, but could also be summoned into existence by magic. In researching, I found several tales of these yokai to be spotted in times of wars and famine in the country. Today it has become a monster in film, video games, comic books and other forms of entertainment.
Kincaid, Andrew. “The Gashadokuro”. Japan Powered. (Accessed September 6, 2015.) http://www.japanpowered.com
“Gashadkuro”. Scary Website. (Accessed September 6, 2015.) http://www.scaryforkids.com/