Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Folk Tales of Kochi ① - Demons in Futanajima

   Once upon a time, a group of demons got together on Demon Island in the Setonaikai Inland Sea. Their leader, Captain Red Demon decided to stage a strength contest, where each demon would lift up two massive rocks to see who was the strongest. Each demon failed and gave up, but one blue demon was successful.

   Seeing this, Captain Red Demon was worried that the Blue Demon would take his position as captain. The captain, wanting to banish the Blue Demon from his island, ordered him to carry the rocks to Kure in Tosa (present-day Kochi) where they could be used to stop big waves from inundating the village. The Blue Demon couldn’t refuse the captain’s humanitarian mission. He decided to carry the rocks to the village with his son.

   On the way to Kure, the two demons were forced to wait for two days due to dense fog on the passes in the Shikoku Mountains. They ran out of food and were forced to continue without anything to eat. When they reached the beach of Kure, the demon’s son couldn’t walk from hunger. The Blue Demon left him on the shore, and carried the two heavy rocks into the sea. The son desperately tried to follow him but nearly drowned.

   The Blue Demon threw him back to the beach so he would not drown. Using up all his strength, the Blue Demon sank into the ocean. The son demon tearfully searched for his father but he couldn’t find him. Sadly, the son turned into a rock.
Futanajima in Kure, Nakatosa Town
   It is said that the two rocks carried by the Blue Demon are Futanajima, the Twin Rocks situated in present-day Kure in Nakatosa Town. The smaller rock near the two rocks is the son who turned into a rock while yearning for his father. It is believed that Kure Harbour is protected by the sacrifice made by these two demons.

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