New Year’s Monsters from Japan

I do love a good folktale, especially ones that mix in a bit of terror. That’s why I was pleased to read about the Japanese New Year’s monsters called the Namahage, who are portrayed by men wearing big masks and straw capes.

From the Namahage Museum

From the Namahage Museum

In olden times, the Namahage visited each house in the village, pounding on the doors and brandishing their (fake) deba knives. The Namahage would seek out the newcomers and children specifically and encourage them to work and study hard and to obey their parents or inlaws.

It’s a version of “Scared Straight” just in time for New Year’s!

And may yours be happy as well!

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