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Origin[]

Namahagecostume

A Namahage costume.

Namahage (生剥) in traditional Japanese folklore is a demonlike being, portrayed by men wearing oversized ogre masks and traditional straw capes (mino(ja)) during a New Year's ritual of the Oga Peninsula area of Akita Prefecture in northern Honshū, Japan.

The frightfully dressed men, armed with deba knives (albeit wooden fakes or made of papier-mâché) and toting a teoke (手桶 "hand pail" made of wood?), marching in pairs or threes going door-to-door making rounds of peoples' homes, admonishing children who may be guilty of laziness or bad behavior, yelling phrases like "Are there any crybabies around?" (泣く子はいねがぁ nakugo wa inēgā??) or "Are naughty kids around?" (悪い子はいねえか waruigo wa inēka??) in the pronunciation and accent of the local dialect.

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