Over the years, I read many Japanese legends about creatures called yokai. They are the monsters, ghosts, demons, and other supernatural entities believed lurking within the shadows. Japan holds some of the darkest and twisted folklore in the world along with the most bizarre beings. I thought by now I learn nearly all the aberrant yokai of myth, until recently reading about the Nuppeppo.
Mermaids appear in the folklore of many seafaring cultures worldwide, including the Near East, Europe, Africa and Asia. Tales of this mythical creature could be found dated back thousands of years ago all carrying the similar image of a beautiful young woman with the lower torso of a fish. Often, the mermaid been associated with misfortune or calamity being blamed for sea storms, ship disappearing and drowning of men. Even stories of relationships with human lovers end with tragedy. There a few legends with a darker adaptation of mermaids such as the iso onna of Japan.
Ever since I starting researching into folklore, I discovered that many myths across the planet shared some common elements. Wherever you go in the world, similar imaginary legends could be found such as dragons, vampires, ghost and gods. One dark tale to exist within most societies involves a solitary person or a hermit out in the middle of the woods that turns into a monster, a witch or some cannibal luring lost travellers into their home to consume. In Japan, folklore warns of yokai called the yamauba or mountain hag.
As a teenager back in 90s, I would indulge myself with anything containing horror be it plays, shows, or books during October. This would include all-nighters watching some of the worst of B-rated movies to the latest multi-million dollar blockbuster release. Now, I seen my share of horror films and only on a few occasions come across a video terrifying enough to get chills. One such movie I recall had a scene involved a man appearing out of a closet with no face resulting in a few enjoyable seconds of fear. Today, the name of film escapes me but remembered the time spent in trying to discover what it was. Years later with access to the Internet, I finally come to learn the creature was a Japanese yokai called the nopperabō.
A curse is a wish of misfortune, bad luck or some other hardship to befall or place about a person or object. Many folklore mention such a supernatural force could be invoked through spells, rituals, hexes and even from the divine intervention of deities. In some myths, spirits of dead may conjured curses upon those who wronged them in life. Japanese legends tell of a ghost that seeks damnation upon its enemy known as the Goryo.