Nopperabou

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Nopperabou

Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 1:50 am

Nopperabou


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.



The nopperabou (のっぺら坊), or faceless ghost, is a Japanese mythological creature. They are sometimes mistakenly referred to as a mujina, an old Japanese word for a badger or raccoon dog. Such creatures were thought to sometimes transform themselves into nopperabou in order to frighten humans. Lafcadio Hearn used the animals' name as the title of his story about faceless monsters, probably resulting in the misused terminology.
Nopperabou are known primarily for frightening humans, but are usually otherwise harmless. They appear at first as ordinary human beings, sometimes impersonating someone familiar to the victim, before causing their features to disappear, leaving a blank, smooth sheet of skin where their face should be.


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Nopperabou in Folklore


There are two primary stories about the nopperabou.[edit]


The Nopperabou & the Koi Pond


This tale recounts a lazy fisherman who decided to fish in the imperial koi ponds near the Heiankyo palace. Despite being warned by his wife about the pond being sacred ground and near a graveyard, the fisherman went anyway. He is met along the way by another fisherman who warns him about the same, which the initial fisherman decides to ignore. Once at the spot, he is met by a beautiful young woman who pleads with him to not fish in the pond. He ignores her, and to his horror, she wipes her face off. Rushing home to hide, he is confronted by what seems to be his wife, who chastises him for his wickedness before wiping off her facial features as well.[edit]


The Nopperabou of the Akasaka Road


The most famous story recollection of the nopperabou comes from Lafcadio Hearn's book Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. The story of a man who travelled along the Akasaka road to Edo, he came across a young woman in a remote location near Kunizaka hill, crying and forlorn. After attempting to console the young woman and offer assistance, she turned to face him, startling him with the blank countenance of a faceless ghost. Frightened, the man down the road for some time, until he came across a soba vendor. Stopping to relax, the man told the vendor of his tale, only to recoil in horror as the soba vendor stroked his face, becoming a nopperabou himself.
There are other tales about nopperabou, from a young woman rescued from bandits by a samurai on horseback whose face disappears; to stories of nobles heading out for a tryst with another, only to discover the courtesan is being impersonated by a nopperabou.[edit]


Recent Reports


Though most sightings of nopperabou tend to be historical, reports within the 20th century have not been uncommon, both in Japan itself as well as locations where Japanese have emigrated, most notably the U.S. state of Hawaii. Among the most recent reports:

  • On May 19, 1959, Honolulu Advertiser reporter Bob Krauss reported a sighting of a mujina at the Waialae Drive-In Theatre in Kahala. Krauss reported that the witness watched a woman combing her hair in the women's restroom, and when the witness came close enough, the nopperabou turned, revealing her featureless face. The witness was reported to have been admitted to the hospital for a nervous breakdown. Noted Hawaiian historian, folklorist and author Glen Grant, in a 1981 radio interview dismissed the story as rumor, only to be called by the witness herself, who gave more details on the event, including the previously unreported detail that the nopperabou in question had red hair.[1]
  • Grant has also reported on a number of other mujina sightings in Hawaii, from ‘Ewa Beach to Hilo.
[edit]


See Also



  • tanuki
  • mujina
  • changeling

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