Japan Stories: Mt. Izuna


If you’ve ever seen a film by Studio Ghibli or know anything about Shinto, you know that things in nature often have a kami, or god, inside of them. This is why mountains usually have a shrine at the top (to house the kami of that mountain), why Mei’s family prays to a large tree near their new house in My Neighbor Totoro, and why a river spirit, due to large amounts of pollution, was in bad need of a cleansing in Spirited Away.


One such kami, a tengu, lives in Mt. Izuna. The word tengu is often translated into English as “crow-goblin,” and they are also called yokai — monsters. they are usually depicted as men with black wings and looonnnnngggg noses. Their designation as a yokai means that they aren’t the greatest thing to have living on a mountain near you, but one such tengu lives on Mt. Izuna! Here is his very short story.


One year, the residents of the village located at the bottom of Mt. Izuna began to starve after a bad harvest season. Saburo, the tengu of the mountain, saw this and brought rice down from his home to feed the villagers. Everyone lived. What a nice tengu!


Categories: The Good, the Bad, and the InterestingTags: , , , , , ,

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