Wednesday, January 03, 2007
The Hannya and the trophy
*Click image to enlarge*
Hannya are a female type of demon or 'oni' and are never a pretty sight. The Hannya is normally created when a woman dies of some kind of in-justice or was treated badly in life and with a great vengeance burning inside of her becomes this horned creature of dramatic behaviour.
In the Edo Period of Japan there was once a demoness who haunted the gates of Rashomon, the entry point to Kyoto (Japan's capital city of the time). All who passed were tormented by the fierce spirit until one day a samurai named Watanabe No Tsuna vowed to slay the demon. He had spent several hours waiting for the Hannya however she did not appear. Time was passing on and fewer and fewer people came through until a young woman approached the gates, and spoke to Watanabe asking him to escort her through the city. The samurai courteously accepted and led the way. As they walked in the late hours of the day, Watanabe noticed in the corner of his eye that the girl behind him was changing. Watanabe quickly drew his sword and slashed at the nearest thing! The Hannya let out a piercing scream and fled leaving a severed arm on the floor, Watanabe was left shocked after the experience however when he came to his senses took the arm as a trophy of the incident and hid it in a chest in his home. Several years passed and by now Watanabe was an old man, and was famous for ridding Rashomon of the Hannya. Many people asked to see the trophy, but Watanabe always refused until one day when an elderly woman came to Watanabe to see it. Watanabe could not resist as the old woman explained that her son had been a victim of the Hannya and needed closure to her own experience. Watanabe swiftly went to retrieve the trophy from the chest, and no sooner had he lifted it out the old woman transforms into the hideous Hannya and grabs the arm, racing off into the streets with it!