Katsushika Hokusai, The Plate Mansion (Sara-yashiki) - A woman ghost appeared from a well

Date: c. 1830
Technique: Woodblock print, 12 x 10 in.

From One Hundred Tales (Hyaku monogatari)

The legend of Okiku tells the story of a maid who, after breaking one of a set of precious Korean plates, was bound and thrown down a well by her master. The tale was told throughout Japan in a great variety of forms, the most popular version established in 1795, when Japan suffered an infestation of a type of worm found in old wells that became known as the "Okiku bug" (Okiku mushi). This worm, covered with thin threads making it look as though it had been bound, was widely believed to be a reincarnation of Okiku.

Source 1
Source 2


  1. I just have to say that I adore this blog, and am amazed at the breadth of your subject matter... where on earth do you FIND this stuff? Gorgeous!

  2. Thanks, Marcheline.
    One thing leads to another: one artwork to another artist; one myth to another fear; and one ghost to a vampire. :)
    For example, the author of ''Ringu'' novel used the motives from the legend above. Maybe I ll watch the movie today.

  3. Keep up the excellent work! I've got your blog on my blog roll, so other ghouls may be free to roam these pages. I especially love the asian ghost story paintings you've been putting up lately... deliciously creepy.

  4. There is also another very good depiction of Okiku by artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, and it is one of my favorites of japanese art. This painting is part of a series he did called: Shinkei Sanjurokuten (36 Ghosts).

    Also they say that the well were Okiku died is at Himeji Castle, where sometimes they can see her ghost.

  5. is it true that her ghost would count plates starting form one to nine and then if she realized one is missing she would cry and to calm her down you have to say the last number:ten (lol found this part at ayakashi: ghost guild)


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