Namahage Demon Masks

A New Year’s Eve tradition takes place in Akita (North of Japan) where local villages get visited by demons called Namahage.

>Young children; lazy ones are often the blight of many parents‚Äô existence. For the parents in Japan‚Äôs Oga Peninsula, Akita Prefecture in northern Honshu, Japan, there is a solution: the infamous Namahage; where an annual ritual takes place on the 31st of December. Dozens of young single men (traditionally) from various regions in Akita Prefecture, Japan dress like the Namahage demon. Each portrayer adorns an eerie demon mask (various colors depending on region), a straw raincoat and waistband and carries a scary tool made of wood depicting a knife/stick/ various weapon; and a pail. They re-enact the folklore dressed as these demons and march around the village in hopes of scaring prepubescent kids into total parental submission. Going door-to-door, they sweep the village threatening to drag any spoiled disobedient children. As the story goes, a child’s lazy spirit (even lazy adults) that is disobedient is dragged into the snow covered mountains away from their parents. Knowing the story very well, upon barging into each home, the young children is immediately frightened by loud roars as they are chased, kids typically scream with agony and fear. This prompts parents to sooth their kids worries of being taken away by the Namahage, letting them know that they‚Äôve been behaving.

We should do this in the US 🙂

>They are called Namahage (生剥), which fittingly comes from the name for the burn you get if you are lazy and spend too much time under the heated tables, the kotatsu, in winter.

[Via TokyoBling]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *