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Origin[]

ShunsenAzukiarai

The azukiarai as depicted in Takehara Shunsen's “Ehon Hyaku Monogatari”, 1841.

Azukiarai, or Azukitogi, is a ghostly phenomenon in Japanese folklore, in which a mysterious noise that sounds like azuki beans being washed or ground is heard. It usually occurs near a river or other body of water. Sometimes the creature or spirit responsible amuses itself by singing "azuki togou ka, hito totte kuou ka? shoki shoki." ("Will I grind my azuki beans, or will I get a person to eat? shoki shoki."), and anyone who approaches will inevitably fall into the water. While the perpetrator is seldom seen, he is often described as a short-statured man of grotesque appearance with a large balding head, crooked teeth, thin moustache, large bulging yellow eyes, wearing ragged clothes and bent over a pail washing azuki beans. Azukiarai is sometimes blamed on a raccoon dog or weasel.

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