Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ushi no koku mairi - Japanese Voodoo

Ushi no koku mairi is a type of curses that originated around the year 800 at the Kibune Shrine in Kyoto, where a young beautiful woman cursed her husband in a 7 day long ritual for cheating on her. It involves nailing an image (paper or straw doll called wara ningyo) of a person to a tree or shrine gate. Traditionally the person doing this dresses in white and has lit candles on their head. The ritual goes something like this: For 3-7 days you take a doll, preferably with hair or blood from the person you want to curse, and nail it to a tree or shrine gate during the time of the ox (between 1-3 a.m). While nailing it you pray to the kami to curse the person. For best results the doll should be looking to the North-East. The North east direction is considered to be bad luck because according to Chinese philosophy of dual cosmic forces (yin-yang), the northeast is said to be the direction from which devils come.

There are other rituals though for a variety of purposes. If you tie up the doll with a short rope, the targeted person will fall instantly in love with you. It can be used to prevent sickness, diseases and even monsters by tying it up on a tree and hit a nail through the dolls chest. Particularly good at getting rid of Oni.

I tried to find more information on this but it's not easy to find information on. I found a few sites in Japanese that sell the implements but did not find very much information on this. Haitian Voodoo is much easier to find information about than this is. One of the sites did mention that this practice is illegal and people have been arrested for it.

Site that's selling the kits (sites in Japanese but has pictures):

Picture is from the Ranma manga.

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