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Gegege no Kitarō 5 (2007-09): Ep. 92: Wave Lad and Father Trout


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Mōrei Yassan
Source: TV
Layers: 1
Sketches: 2
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Added 2/3/2009
Updated 6/16/2022
The episode begins with with a brief scene showing the dreaded Mōrei Yassan [猛霊八惨] menacing a group of fishermen.

Mourei Yassan photo MoureiYassan_zps776ea1ef.jpg

Nami Kozō watches in impotent terror, until suddenly Iwana Bōzu appears, unleashes his superior spiritual power, and rescues the fishers. Impressed, the wave boy asks the holy monk to take him as a disciple, but Iwana Bōzu brusquely refuses him.

The sketch featured above actually comes from later in the episode, at the beginning of the big battle, but I’ve moved it here to provide context for the tale that follows. The yūrei have liberated a demon from the shrine where it had been sealed, and at the climax of the show they use its power to generate the deadly Yōkai Suisha.

See the thumbnail for an alternative version of this image. The second thumb shows a mysterious guy from a different anime whose sketch was recycled as scrap paper for one of these Kitarō sketches.


SENSEI CHECK!

According to Wikipedia, the Mōrei Yassan is a form of funa-yūrei, a supernatural menace caused by the unappeased souls of people drowned at sea, whose bodies have not received proper burial rites. Such souls are thought to gather in gangs that cause dangerous storms, thus collecting additional souls and making their supernatural powers more potent.

In a version current near the seaport of Asahi, Chiba prefecture, the entity asks for a ladle, a traditional element in funa-yūrei lore. If you give the creature one, it will promptly use it to fill the boat with water and sink it, and if you refuse, it will capsize the vessel in its fury. For that reason, no boat crew will leave port without taking along a ladle with a hollow bottom, which is the only way to escape such a confrontation unscathed.

You can learn more about the funa-yūrei at 百物語怪談会 Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai and in Yoda and Alt's Yōkai Attack! (Tuttle, 2012), Chapter 8.

The phenomenon goes under many names in Japan, and “Mōrei Yassan” happens to be the term used at Sakaiminato, a fishing town in Tottori prefecture. There it is the focus of an annual festival, dring which the ghosts of those lost at sea are appeased to ensure the safety of the crab-fishing industry centered at this port. Sakaiminato is mangaka Shigeru Mizuki’s home town, explaining why this particular tradition plays such a dramatic role in this episode.

The Mōrei Yassan appears in one of Mizuki's folklore-based mangas, and made appearances in the second, third, and fourth avatars of the Gegege no Kitarō anime, though with dramatically different character designs.


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