Japan Stories: Mt. Izuna


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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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