Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You Can't Hide from the Namahage

Allow me to introduce you to the Namahage. Three hundred and sixty-four days a year, these knife-wielding demons with a penchant for straw coats wander the wilderness on the peninsula of Oga in Japan. But every New Year's Eve, they leave their mountain lairs and go looking for a little human company.

The Namahage visit nearby villages, bursting into homes in search of lazy children. The head of each household must then negotiate with the demons (the negotiations apparently involve lots of sake) and attempt to convince them that the children of the house have been both hard-working and obedient.

If the Namahage remain unconvinced, the little boys and girls are dragged back to the mountains and forced to lead a life of drudgery.

Okay, now to my main point. The twenty-first century is a good time to be young. A kid today might squeal a bit at the sight of a Namahage or Krampus, but few would ever take them seriously. But go back a hundred years or so, and I'd bet that these demons were pretty good at scaring the snot out of children.

Imagine it. It's 1909. You're a kid in Oga, and your parents warn you that there are terrifying creatures called Namahage living deep in the woods. (And you can't go online to see if it's true.) Then on New Year's Eve, a hideous demon bursts through your door . . .


Anonymous gymnast20 said...

lol this reminds me of how i used to be so scared of getting coal for christmas, but being kidnapped by a demon is way scarier!!!

10:14 AM  
Blogger montana irregulars said...

It's a good way to get your kids to behave

11:03 AM  
Blogger montana irregulars said...

Kristen: are you feeling better???

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Clare said...

Yeah I can see how that would really scare someone. I used be really scared that a witch lurked outside my window.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous True_Dragon_Master said...

I would probably hide and not come out for days(or weeks)

1:28 PM  
Blogger Kiki Strike said...

Oh they look quite lovely. XD

2:33 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I would deffinatly be scared of them. I scream at the sight of a spider!

2:54 PM  
Anonymous 42 said...

On the other hand, without computers, they wouldn't be as lazy.

(P.S. More like they couldn't look it up because their mothers took their ethernet cables...)

4:47 PM  
Anonymous The Irregular Girl said...

Kirsten: I hope you are feeling much better!

Man, those Namahage are weird looking! I probably wouldn't be totally terrified, but if I met someone like that in a dark alley . . .

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Patsee said...

Sake... hee hee.

I like to think my parents are fairly good negotiators and that I wouldn't have to be too terrified of the demons. But if I lived in feudal Japan I would probably have different parents...

5:21 PM  
Blogger Kiki said...

Geez, they are freaky. In Poland there is BABA JAGA- this old witch-y lady to scare littlekins. In the little village where my mom grew up, there is an old wooden cottage right by the edge of a forest. There is furniture and stuff inside, but my little cousins get really scared of the place.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Lioness said...

just shows to what ends determined parents will go to to harass their children.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Kiwi said...

Wow, those things are freaky. If one of those came through my door on New Years Eve, I would probably start beating it on the head with the nearest object...

Then hire a lawyer.

(Or not... I'm usually good at arguing my case... Maybe I should go to law school. Hmm, Possibilities. XD )

7:45 PM  
Blogger liltomboyblue11;) said...

I read about these in this amazing Manga years ago... don't remember the name now :( had something to do with a fox boy

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Gnat said...

How come all of them are coutionary tales for children?

And ive decided i might call my blog "letters from a thirteen year old amazon." Because any one who knows me will say im the tallest girl in my class. ;D

9:05 PM  
Blogger Kitty said...

XD FUNNEH!!!!!!!

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, that would scare me so much if one of those burst into my house! Although, I probably could knock 'em out with an umbrella or something.

P.S. Hope you're feeling a lot better Kirsten! :)

11:02 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Kiki- I have actually heard of Baba Jaba. Back then, the Gigglebone gang was the greatest computer game that actually taught you stuff! well, i found it and it doesn't work on Vista... :(
The 30th was my mom's birthday, and the death of a dear family friend with some paralysis disease. Some birthday present, huh? But my sister and I found her an orchid for her birthday, which she hopes to keep alive, and went to a local restaurant and had dinner.
I hope all of you have fun new years, mine will be consisting of playing Animal Crossing on my DS... Having the countdown there. The nerve of my friends, too! I hinted to them that I had NO plans whatsoever, and they didn't even invite me to go to their probably swank parties!!!! >:|
well, your comments section isn't the place to rant, yet I always do.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous An Irregular Girl said...

Litomboyblue11;)--"Letters from a thirteen year old Amazon" sounds interesting!

Although, what happens when your older than thirteen and still running the blog?

(I don't mean to sound extra critical)

8:10 AM  
Anonymous HI. THAT WAS RANDOM. TOODLES. said...

I hope you are felling better.
It would STINK to be sick on Christmas!!!

9:11 PM  
Anonymous kiki21 said...

creepy!! and cool.............................

5:48 PM  
Blogger liltomboyblue11;) said...

Irregular girl: Gnat wrote that, not me.

5:29 PM  
Blogger MushroomCloud said...

parents have such odd parenting techniques... i mean really!

8:13 PM  
Anonymous An Irregular Girl said...

Oops. Sorry, guys.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous EQ said...

Personally, I think people should be more careful with the monsters they invent.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Mini Ninja said...

I wonder if you could rent one of those guys, that would be AWSOME!!!!!!

8:33 PM  

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