Tag, you're it! In the traditional children's game, played in playgrounds around the world (until recently), one individual is tagged and becomes "it" until they manage to tag another individual, who then is "it" and so on, and so on... In Japan, such a game is called 鬼ごっこ. The oni (ogre) must tag another who then becomes "the oni" and so on, and so on.
Last week, I was given a book about Matsushima as a gift in thanks for a lecture on Canada that I had presented several months ago. It is called "Forty Seven Tales of Matsushima" and I will now present one of those tales for you in its entirety:
Oni-ogres, and "It" in Children's Play
Ogres have often appeared in Chinese stories. In Buddhism, it is said that people who do something bad in this world, will land in hell and suffer many woes after their death at the hands of the blue and red ogres that rule there.
Other ogres live in the mountains where hillmen live or on islands like Onigashima. They come out from time to time to steal crops or vegetables from fields. Some even kidnap.
Ancient legends that feature ogres can be found everywhere. In Matsushima, there is a stone with a dent in it. It is said that the dent was made by an ogre, when he knelt down on it.
There lived, not only bad ogres, but also good and specially skilled ogres who made roads, removed fallen trees, and brought villagers things from the mountains like bracken, or berries, in return for villagers' offerings of food. Some even got rid of swellings or lumps!
Japanese ogres are portrayed as strong men wearing a loincloth, made of the skin of tigers, and wielding an iron bar.
The origin of the appearence of the ogre is unknown. Some say people with different ancestors lived diip in the mountains.
Others say foreigners settled on the islands where their boats had drifted after being broken, and that the ogres descended from those people.
It is worth noting that the "it", or ogre, in children's games is always a single person, never a group.
This is the most interesting of all the tales (you can judge whether it is an interesting tale yourself.)
Last Sunday, there was a famous event known as The Matsushima Oyster Festival which I forgot all about again this year. For a report, why not check out what this guy has to say?
Oh, and speaking of onigakko, it appears that there is a semi-spooky drama with that title coming soon. Click away there to see a preview.