- - ABC-INDEX - -


Wara Ningyo curses

. enkiri 縁切 "to make a wish to cut a bond" .


Wara ningyoo 藁人形 straw dolls for curses
Japanese curse straw doll
Cursed Straw Doll

This is not about toy dolls made of straw, which go by the same name.

But these dolls take us back to another time and mentality.
They are close to the vodoo dolls.

藁人形 wara ningyoo,
a doll used for making a wish to kill or harm a person. At midnight, a nail is hit through the heart of the doll to fix it to a tree in a shrine.

ushi mitsu, the old double-hour of the ox beginning at one o'clock. mitsu signifies the third part of this time slot.
A time when the spirits of the dead and the gods are alive too.

"a time when the trees and plants are asleep"

made with straw and hemp strings

noroi no wara ningyoo 呪いのわら人形 
doll to curse a person


Harunobu Nishiki-e  春信錦絵

ushi no koku mairi - ushi no toki mairi

The double-hour of the bull
from one to 3 at night used for a curse.

ushimitsu 牛三 is from about 2 to 2:30 at night.

This time was the best to make a wish or place a curse with the help of the deities, be it Buddhist or Shinto.

source : Hokusai Ehon hayabiki

A straw doll was used to nail into a "sacred tree" 御神木 of a shrine at this time. (Some trees in the famous "cursing" shrines of Kyoto still show the holes made by the long nails.)
The doll was nailed with a metal nail or stake of 5 sun length 五寸釘 (gosun kugi). This had to be repeated until the cursed person was dead.
It worked best when a string of hair, a piece of skin or some blod of the person to be cursed was mixed with the straw.

There was the risk that the person who hit the nail into the tree might turn into an oni, a demon herself.

Some shrines were quite famous for its powerful trees, for example the shrine Kibune Jinja 貴船神社 (Kifune Shrine) and the Kiyomizu temple 清水寺 in Kyoto and the shrine
Ikurei Jinja 育霊神社 in Niimi, Okayama.

The person was clad in white, painted her face white and wore a special headgear (gotoku 五徳, a tripot used in a hibachi brazier to support the kettle) with three candles.
The wooden geta clogs had only one support 一本歯の下駄, around the breast she wore a round mirror and on the hip a sword for protection 護り刀.
She had to bite on a wooden comb (kushi 櫛) and was thus not allowed to speak during the shrine visit.

If she met someone else on her secret cursing expedition, that innocent other person might "catch" the curse and die instead. So it was quite a difficult and dangerous expedition.

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Impaling the Sin -
villagers would nail a straw doll wearing their clothes to a sacred tree. The people's sin and misfortune were symbolically placed in the doll and offered to the Other World.

Kushimi Dolls and Igushi Dolls - 奇し御魂 -斎串
both were straw dolls representing the dead, skewered on the mountain near the place where the real world connected to the other world.

Impalement Ritual -
taking the folklore to an extreme, this ritual involves the impalement of an actual person who, like the dolls, takes on the pain of Worshippers. She then goes as an offering to the liminal space between the human world and the spirit world, taking the pain with her.
© More in the FRAMEWIKI !


Ushi no toki mairi
(Two-o’clock in the morning prayer
[to curse a person to death])

Actors: Unidentified actor in dress of incantation with candles on his head, a mirror breast-plate, hammer, nails and straw doll, possibly as either Mashita Nagamori or Kume no Heiemon  
source : www.kuniyoshiproject.com


ikiryoo 生霊 . 生き霊 Ikiryo“living spirit”

. Hashihime 橋姫 / はし姫 "Princess of the Bridge" .
a vengeful lady indeed

The ikiryō has been described in some sources as a kind of astral projection by a person’s intense emotions (usually a woman, and usually jealousy, though there are exceptions). Sources disagree as to the particular characteristics of the ikiryō, such as whether it is visible to people other than its intended victim and whether it is the actual soul of a person traveling away from its body or a separate spirit given life by the creator’s emotions. There are some common attributes, however: once possessed, the victim begins to waste away, the victim can apparently “see” the apparition, once the possession takes place, the only way to ascertain the identity of the spirit is by questions from someone with mystical power over spirits (monks, priests, miko, onmyōji, shamans, etc.). A final attribute shared by those capable of sending out ikiryō has been described as a strong will, a will that often leads them to become marginalized members of society.

Ikiryō and Intense Emotions

The Rokujo Lady 源氏 Rokujo no Miyasudokoro六条御息所

There is much written about this lady from the Genji Monogatari. She is blamed for the death of one of Genji’s earlier lovers, Yugao, though this is hotly debated by literary scholars. The debate is centered on the fact that Genji sees an apparition of a beautiful woman just prior to Yugao’s death (and the reader is left to infer the apparition is that of the Rokujo Lady), yet he does not recognize her as the Rokujo lady. There are many possible explanations for this. The Rokujo Lady is definitely responsible, however, for the ikiryō possession of Genji’s wife, the Lady Aoi, when she is pregnant (and at her most vulnerable).

The Rokujo Lady is the widow of a prince who would have become emperor had he lived into adulthood. She never remarries, yet she doesn’t retreat from society as a nun, but still maintains her place on the skirt of society--even to the point of taking a lover (Genji). Genji contemplates leaving her, citing her strength of will (and her inability to be pleased, her dogmatic insistence on being proper even though she, herself, is lacking in this regard).

Print by Hokusai

The Rokujo Lady, prior to a move that will take her farther away from society (though not “out” of it) with her virginal daughter (another fact that serves to marginalize the Lady Rokujo’s family), goes to a festival to catch one last glimpse of her beloved Genji. She parks her carriage (an ornately decorated one as befits a lady of her rank) to one side, an act that partially obstructs the road to the festival grounds. When Aoi, Genji’s wife, tries to get by her retinue damages Rokujo Lady’s carriage. That act, committed (innocently enough as it was, though would later be described in Noh theatre as more aggressive) by someone of inferior rank, combined with the fact everyone recognized her carriage and why she had come to the festival making her a laughing stock, caused her blood to boil. Ever a student of propriety, she masked her jealousy and hatred well, yet her emotions created an ikiryō.

The ikiryō of the Lady Rokujo takes possession of Aoi, Genji’s wife, and she begins to waste away. A miko and a priest are summoned, and call her spirit forth to ascertain its identity. It is found that the ikiryō is that of the Rokujo Lady. An exorcism is preformed in which incense is constantly burned in Aoi’s chambers. The Lady Rokujo, who doesn’t know her ikiryō is possessing Aoi, has nightmares about attacking her and can’t seem to rid herself of the smell of incense. The exorcism allows Aoi to recover enough to deliver a baby boy, but she soon dies afterward. Later, her jealousy is calmed both by the fact she discovers her ikiryō is responsible for Aoi’s death and by a conversation she has with Genji. When she dies, it is suggested that she has truly “moved on.” Yet, later, when Genji’s second wife, Murasaki, is pregnant, the spirit of the Rokujo Lady appears again, eventually claiming a second (confirmed) victim.

source : obake.wikispaces.com

Ikiryō, or shōryō, seirei, ikisudama (生霊, lit. "living ghost," "eidolon"),
popular belief and fiction, refers to a spirit that leaves the body of a living person and subsequently haunts other people or places, sometimes across great distances. The term(s) are used in contrast to shiryō, which refers to the spirit of those who are already deceased.
- - - - - Summary
The popular belief that the human spirit (or soul) can escape from the body has been around since early times, with eyewitness accounts and experiences (hauntings, possessions, out-of-body experience) reported in anecdotal and fictional writings. Vengeful spirits (怨霊 onryō) of the living are said to inflict curses (祟り tatari) upon the subject or subjects of their vengeance by means of transforming into their ikiryō form. It is believed that if a sufficient grudge is held, all or part of the perpetrator's soul leaves the body, appearing in front of the victim to harm or curse them, a concept not so dissimilar from the evil eye. The ikiryō has even made its way into Buddhist scriptures, where they are described as "living spirits" who, if angered, might bring about curses, even just before their death. Possession is another means by which the Ikiryō are commonly believed to be capable of inflicting harm, the possessed person thought to be unaware of this process.
However, according to mythology, the ikiryō does not necessarily act out of spite or vengefulness, and stories are told of the ikiryō who bears no grudge, or poses no real threat. In recorded examples, the spirit sometimes takes possession of another person's body for motives other than vengeance, such as love and infatuation (for example the Matsutōya ghost below). A person's ikiryō may also leave the body (often very shortly before death) to manifest its presence around loved ones, friends and/or acquaintances.
- Classical literature
- Folk legends
- - - - Regional near-death spirits
- - - - Soul flames (hitodama, hidama)
- Ikiryō as an illness
- Similar activity or phenomena
- source : wikipedia -

. Goryoo 御霊 vengefull spirits .

. Legends of the Heian Period (794 to 1185) 平安時代の伝説 .

. kugi 釘 伝説 Legends about nails and curses .

for hitodama 人魂 / 人霊 / 人玉 see comments below

nori-utsuru hitodama narashi hasu no tsuyu

the dew on the lotus leaves in the morning seems to sparkle and remind of the soul of a dead person, now sparkling on the lotus in paradise

Sugimoto Moichi 杉本望一


ushimitsu no wara ningyoo ga warau yoru

after midnight
the straw doll laughs-
what a night

or more literal

the night when
the straw doll laughs
after midnight

anonymous senryu


Kobayashi Issa

shinboku wa kugi o utarete shigure keri

a god's tree --
as a nail is hammered in
it drops cold rain

Tr. Chris Drake

Read the comments of this by Chris Drake :
. shinboku 神木, shinju 神樹 sacred tree .


. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. Reference .

. O-Ningyoo Sama お人形様  O-Ningyo Sama .
A special guardian deity from Fukushima prefecture.


waraningyoo -
the curse in ketchup
on the dinner plate

source : ymnnmy.blog70

wara ningyo made from eggs . . .

strap for the portable telephone

made from pure silver, with a nail . . .


dolls for curses, made from paper for home use
source : ryoshida.web.




. Aizen Myo-O 愛染明王 .

In the Shingon sect he is venerated in special ceremonies, Aizenhoo 愛染法、Kyooaihoo 敬愛法, to induce love in a partner.

Rites in esoteric Buddhism

1. Befriedende Riten (sokusaihoo; S: shaantika)
Gebete zum Schutz vor Katastrophen und Unheil:

2. Mehrende Riten (zooyakuhoo, sooyakuhoo; S: pustika, paustika)
Gebete zur Vermehrung von Wohlstand und Glück im Alltag sowie geistiger Errungenschaften:

3. Bannende Riten (choobukuhoo, chuubukuhoo, goobukuhoo) (S: aabhicaarika)
Eine Art schwarzer Magie zur Verfluchung und Unterwerfung von Feinden:

4. Gefügigmachende Riten (keiaihoo, Aizenhoo; S: vasikarana)
Dieser "Liebeszauber" wurde in der Heian-Zeit besonders gepflegt: Der Herd ist rund wie eine achtblättrige Lotusblüte, nach Westen gerichtet. Beste Tageszeit für die Zeremonie ist Mitternacht. Gewänder der Priester von roter Farbe. Hauptgegenstand der Verehrung ist Aizen Myoooo. Die Zeremonie dauerte oft eine ganze Nacht (ichiya goma). Statt der 108 Milchhölzer werden hier in der 3. Stufe 108 Blüten, meist rote Lotusblüten, verbrannt. Wenn man hier einen dreieckigen Herd wie bei bannenden Riten verwendet, wird ein bisher widerspenstiger Partner dem Opfernden hörig und tut, was der andere will.

5. Herbeiziehende Riten (koochoohoo, kooshoohoo; S: aakarsana)
Eine Unterform der gefügigmachenden Riten.

6. Lebensverlängernde Riten (enmeihoo, Fugen enmeihoo)
Eine Unterform der mehrenden Riten, die in Japan besonders beliebt war. Gebete um Verlängerung der eigenen Lebensspanne.

. Die Kultgegenstände des esoterischen Buddhismus
(mikkyoo hoogu 密教法具, mitsugu) .

Gabi Greve


. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .

gosun kugi matsu mo horo-horo namida kana

a nail of five sun -
even the pine
is weeping

one sun 寸 is about 3 cm or 1 inch.

shinboku wa kugi o utarete shigure keri

a nail pounding
into sacred wood...
winter rain

Tr. David Lanoue


mebuku niwa mune ni utareshi gosun kugi

budds are swelling in my garden -
a five-sun nail was driven
into my chest

Written when she got the news about Tamiko 多美子, her eldest daughter, having cancer.

. Abe Midorijo 阿部みどり女 (1886 - 1980) .


oohari ni onimochi tsurusu gosun kugi

on the big beam
rice cakes for the demons hang
from a five-sun nail

Kureya Nana 呉屋菜々

On the 8th day of the 12th lunar month, the day of MUUCHI, rice cakes are offered to the deities and then eaten with the wish for the health and well-being of children.

. muuchii 鬼餅 (ムーチー) "oni mochi" "demon mochi" .
in Okinawa

門田稲荷神社 Kadota Inari Shrine
. enkiri 縁切 "to make a wish to cut a bond" .


. Regional Folk Toys from Japan .

. Tohoku after the BIG earthquake March 11, 2011

- #waraningyo #kuginail -


Unknown said...



Gabi Greve said...


Anonymous said...

mountain cuckoo--
early afternoon
on a mountain road

kankodori hiru ushi mitsu no yamaji kana


by Issa, 1790

Tr. David Lanoue
hiru ushimitsu 丑三

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

A record of winning with the help of Fudo Myo-O
a legend from Yamagata, Tazawa 山形 田沢
Once upon a time
in 白夫平 Shirobudaira there lived a man called 三十郎 Sanjuro. He was born a weak boy and his greatest wish was to become a strong man.
In his village there was a heavy stone of more than 23 kan 二十五貫 (one kan is about 3.75kg), called the banmochi ishi 番持石 "stone to test your strength". The young men of the village tried to move it and play with it.
Sanjuro, who had only one seventh of the strength of the other young men, could not move this special stone.

When nobody was around, late at night or early in the moning, Sanjuro came to this stone ant tired to move it, but he never could and felt really left out and angry at himself.

So one day he had the idea that to improve his strength, he needed the help of Fudo Myo-O. So at the double-hour of the bull on three days of the month 三、七、二十一日の丑の刻, he made a strong wish and plea to the deity.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Wara ningyo straw figures made by 左甚五郎 Hidari Jingoro
turning into Kappa in Kumamoto, eating the shirikodama!

Gabi Greve said...

- snip -
On the other hand the returned spirits of Japan have some, special characteristics of their own. One of these consists of a streamer of phosphorescent light, known as the hitodama. This trail of violet-tinted luminosity embodies the soul of the dead person, and always accompanies the earthly form that he resumes. I am told that at the present day there are many people in Japan who claim that when a death occurs they can see the hitodama, like an elongated balloon of purple fire, pass through the roof of the house at the moment that the soul leaves the body. These “corpse-lights,” as the Irish call them, are frequently to be noticed drifting about burial-grounds at night.

Short of meeting an actual wraith, the Tokyo Ghost Exhibition is the severest trial for one’s nerves imaginable. It is held in a huge amphitheatre, the inside of which has been cut up into rooms connected by dimly-lighted passages. Each of these rooms is furnished to represent the scene of some historic Japanese ghost-story. Life-size wax images in natural attitudes represent the human beings concerned, but the ghost is a mechanical figure which suddenly appears while you watch. Sometimes it glides out from behind a screen with a red light glowing inside the eye-sockets of its gibbering skull; or it may swoop down from the ceiling with dishevelled, trailing hair and clawing, bony fingers. Every one of the phantoms reproduced has its place in Japanese legend. Japan is a country which until sixty-five years ago had been completely cut off from the rest of the world for three centuries. There is no possibility of these spook-tales having been borrowed or adapted from, other countries. Yet their character is exactly similar to that of the ghost-stories of Europe, as if the incidents they commemorate had their origin in identical but independent experience.
- snip -

Gabi Greve said...

Ushi no koku mairi
- snip -
However, one very interesting fact is that, while this is an ancient curse, some people still do perform it today! Despite laws forbidding its practice, police and shrine officials still find the remnants of this curse—nails in trees, straw dolls with curses written on them, and so on—littered about shrines from time to time.

The sale of certain implements for this curse are also banned. For example, it is very hard to find nails of the proper length in your local hardware store. However, that doesn’t stop certain websites from selling “curse kits” containing all of the tools you need to perform this nasty ritual. According to their website, the good folks at noroi.com have been supplying the internet with curse supplies for over 13 years.
- snip -

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

田村郡 Tamura district 小野町 Ono

A few years go someone found a straw doll hammered into the stem of the Zelkova tree in the shrine compound. That is quite astonishing for our century.
Tales about Keyaki trees
keyaki 欅 伝説 Legends about the Zelkova tree

Gabi Greve said...

Yakushima Island 屋久島

hitodama 人玉 spirit of a dead person, "soul flame"

Gabi Greve said...

jikan 時間 time in Edo
Edo no jikoku 江戸の時刻


Gabi Greve said...

Kyoto 六条の御息所 / 六条御息所 Rokujo no Miyasudokoro - Lady Rokujō

The vengeful spirit of Lady Rokujo was finally appeased when a priest at 横川 Yokogawa read the Sutra of Fudo (Fudo dokushu 不動読誦) many times for her soul.


Gabi Greve said...

A Rokubu pilgrim legend from Kagoshima

Once a female Rokubu stayed over night in a Shrine hall. She overheard the Kami say:
"When it gets five, it will meet カワドイ kawadoi."
(The meaning is not clear, but something about a water or river accident).
When she gave birth to a child, she remembered the warning and as the child turned five, she boiled rice with beans, made a wara ningyo 藁人形 straw doll for curses and threw them into the river. Thus the child was saved.

Gabi Greve said...

Tokushima 美馬郡 Mima district つるぎ町 Tsurugi

. ikiryoo 生霊 . 生き霊 Ikiryo“living spirit” .
Around 1670, a man had made a promise to marry a woman, but did not keep it and married another woman.
The insulted woman went to the Yakushi Do Hall and hit the eyes, ears and breast of the Yakushi statue with a cursing nail. The new wife begun to suffer from possessions and could not be healed. Even a mountain priest performing sacred rituals could not get her rid of the bad spirit.


Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Kagoshima 大島郡 Oshima district
yookai 妖怪 Yokai monster
On a full moon night at 12 they heard the sound of a Shamisen in the village at the foot of the mountain.
It was the spooky hour of 丑三ツ時 Ushimitsu. They also heard the voice of a man or a woman, mumbeling waiwai.
When the villagers sneaked closer, there was nobody. The fearful voices from the mountain came from Yamanokami.

Gabi Greve said...

Tokyo hitodama ヒトダマ / Aoyama bochi 青山墓地 cemetery

Sometime ago, after a rainfall, on a quiet evening a person saw a human spirit. It was all round and green-white, with a flaming border around it. It also had a small tail like a triangle and swayed loosely in the air.
Another person had also seen this kind of Hitodama at the Aoyama cemetery. In fear he had poked it with his umbrella and it soon disappeared. On the umbrella were remains of burning.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Tokyo, Kanda district
神田藍染川 Kanda Aisomegawa
In Kanda Aizomegawa a dog had bitten into a suspicious box and out of it came a straw doll for curses.
A serpent had been wrapped around the doll. The head of the serpent had been split by a large nail.

Gabi Greve said...

hitodama 人魂 / 人玉と伝説 Legends about the human soul
hitodama 人玉 spirit of a dead person, "soul flame"
tamabi 魂火 soul fire, fireball of a soul, human fireball


Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Hyogo 兵庫県 出石郡 Izushi district 高橋村 Takahashi village
At the Shrine for Gozu Tenno there was roosugi 老杉 an old cedar tree.
From the 10th lunar month until winter people could hear the sound of drums near the tree. Sometimes there was the sound of the tree falling down.
On the night of the third day of the 11th lunar month at the time of ushimitsu 丑満ツ / 丑三つ there comes a storm an the trees are groaning.
This is when the gods come home from their yearly trip to 出雲 Izumo.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Shiga 滋賀県 伊香郡 Ika district 余呉町 Yogo town
ushi no toki mairi 丑のときまいり cursing ritual at the hour of the ox
People have to do this for seven nights, hitting a nail into a straw doll.
Once a man did this, wearing 白木綿 a white piece of cotton and two candles on a holder. He had the impression that invisible people were shouting at him in disgust.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Kanagawa 神奈川県 津久井郡 Tsukui district
. ushi no koku mairi 丑の刻参り .
The double-hour of the bull from one to three at night used for a curse.
Once a woman betrayed by her lover went to 諏訪神社 the Suwa Shrine at the double-hour of the bull.
Her hair hung down, the robes were in disarray and she clutched a razor with her teeth.

Gabi Greve said...

Kanawa (Iron Trivet) - a Noh play
One night, a low-ranking Shinto priest serving Kibune Shrine (in present Kurama Kibune-chō, Sakyō-ku, Kyoto) receives a divine revelation in his dreams.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Tokushima, 阿波町 Awa town
If someone wants to curse someone else, he has to come at the the old double-hour of the ox, hit a voodoo doll with a strong nail into the tree at 日吉神社 the Hiyoshi shrine. Then break one branch of the tree and throw it into the direction of the enemy.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Miyagi, 仙台市 Sendai city 太白区 Taihaku ward
. Akiu Otaki 秋保大滝 Akiu Great Falls .
and Priest Jigaku Daishi 慈覚大師 Ennin.

At the waterfall 全川瀑 Zensenbaku of 名取川 the river Natorigawa priest Jigaku Daishi 慈覚大師 prayed to Fudo Myo-O at the temple 山寺立石寺 Yamadera Risshaku-Ji.
In 1623, the lord of Yamagata 鳥居忠政 Torii Tadamasa (1566 - 1628) had a conflict with the Temple.
The priest 円海上人 held a special ritual at the waterfall for 37 days to curse Tadamasa.
On the last day he threw the paper with his vow and a wara ningyo 藁人形 a straw doll for curses into the waterfall basin.
The straw doll flew up the waterfall for 56 meters and disappeared.
The priest built a kyoodan 経壇 kyodan platform for sutras in front of the Fudo Hall.
Since then it is called Kyodanbara 経壇原 Field of the Platform Sutra。

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Fukushima いわき市 Iwaki city 四倉町 Yotsukura town // 鎮守の杉

chinju no sugi 鎮守の杉 cedar tree of 鎮守様 the Chinju Sama guardian deity
About 40 years ago, a grandfather became wery ill for a long time.
In former times, his wife had hit a nail into sugi no ki 杉の木 a cedar tree to curse someone.
When they looked carefully at the tree, they found the nail.
This tree had been 鎮守の杉の木 the sacred cedar tree of 鎮守様 the Chinju Sama guardian deity.
When they pulled the nail out, the man got better.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Yamaguchi Nogami town

There is a Kumano Shrine at 野上町 Nogami town.
Every year on the last day at the hour of the ox, around 3 at night,
from 龍ノ口山 Mount Tatsunokuchi, there comes shinka 神火 a light looking like being shot from an arrow.
When the farmers see it, they feel blessed at the end of the year.