Yotsuya Kaidan

Yotsuya Kaidan

Yotsuya Kaidan is a Japanese folk tale about a wife who comes back from the dead seeking revenge upon her killer, her husband.

In Japan there once lived a man who, by his vicious actions, made his wife into a ghost. The man’s name was Iemon, his wife’s was O’lwa, and his motive was that he desired another woman. O’lwa, barely risen from childbed, was given poison, which caused her hair to fall out in bloody handfuls, her eyes to stare from their sockets and her pretty mouth to blacken. All through this ordeal, Iemon sneered, then he thrust her from him. In despair, she killed herself and her infant.

Iemon felt no remorse. Now he was free to do as he wished, or so he thought. He soon found that his deed had a terrifying price. With a ghoul’s fury, O’lwa appeared to him everywhere. If he sought peace in a teahouse, the lanterns, gaily painted in human likeness, assumed the staring eyes of O’lwa and mouthed curses at him. If he walked in a garden, he would find her there, wailing over her infant. Her bitter accusations ceaselessly sounded in his ears.

Defiant, Iemon married his paramour, thinking that the ghost might realize the futility of further haunting.

But when he lifted his lover’s bridal veil after the wedding, the face looking back at him was O’lwa’s.

Howling, he drew his sword and beheaded the specter. And then lemon discovered O’lwa’s final vengeance, He had murdered his bride not the ghost.

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