Amikiri

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"Amikiri" (網切) from the Gazu Hyakki Yagyō by Toriyama Sekien

Amikiri (網切 or 網剪) is a Japanese yōkai depicted in the Gazu Hyakki Yagyō by Toriyama Sekien.[1]

Concept[edit]

It is depicted with claws similar to that of a crab or a scorpion, but since there is no explanatory text within the book, it is not certain what kind of yōkai it is.[2] Many yōkai depicted in the Gazu Hyakki Yagyō were done in reference to predecessor works like the Hyakkai Zukan, so it can be seen that perhaps it is based on the one that is closest to it in those predecessor works, the kamikiri.[2][3]

In various writings from the Shōwa period, Heisei period, and beyond, the amikiri is explained to be a yōkai that cuts meshes and mosquito nets.[4][5][6]

According to the yōkai researcher Katsumi Tada, "ami" (meaning nets) can lead one to think about "ami" (meaning mysidacea) due to being homophones, interpreting it as an invention that Sekien created as a result of playing around with words.[1] However, mysidacea do not possess claws on their front limbs, so there are some voices questioning the idea that mysidacea was ever thought about in the painting.[7]

Legend[edit]

In a book titled Tōhoku Kaidan no Tabi by author Norio Yamada, there is a story taking place in the Shōnai region, Yamagata Prefecture about how there was a fishing village where an amikiri repeatedly cut the fishing nets into pieces, and when one person prevented this by taking the net back home quickly and then hiding it, that person found the mosquito nets hung in the rooms all cut by the amikiri, leading to mosquito bites all over this person's body.[8] The yōkai researcher Kenji Murakami was unable to confirm the existence of a legend about a yōkai called "amikiri" from any other source in Yamagata Prefecture, making it likely that this "legend of the amikiri" was simply Yamada's invention.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c 村上健司編著 (2000). 妖怪事典. 毎日新聞社. p. 25. ISBN 978-4-620-31428-0. 
  2. ^ a b 稲田篤信・田中直日編, ed. (1992). 鳥山石燕 画図百鬼夜行. 高田衛監修. 国書刊行会. pp. 41頁. ISBN 978-4-336-03386-4. 
  3. ^ 多田克己 (2000). 京極夏彦・多田克己編, ed. 妖怪図巻. 国書刊行会. pp. 171–172. ISBN 978-4-336-04187-6. 
  4. ^ 藤沢衛彦 編『妖怪画談全集 日本篇』上 中央美術社 1929年 83頁
  5. ^ 水木しげる (2014). 決定版日本妖怪大全 妖怪・あの世・神様. 講談社. p. 59. ISBN 978-4-06-277602-8. 
  6. ^ 草野巧 (1997). 幻想動物事典. 新紀元社. p. 18. ISBN 978-4-88317-283-2. 
  7. ^ 妖怪ドットコム (2008). 図説 妖怪辞典. 幻冬舎コミックス. 幻冬舎. p. 85. ISBN 978-4-344-81486-8. 
  8. ^ 山田野理夫 (1974). 東北怪談の旅. 自由国民社. p. 186. NCID BA42139725. 

See also[edit]