Kunekune (urban legend)
The Kunekune (くねくね, "Wriggling body") is a fictitious being created on Japanese Internet websites as an urban legend, similar to the Slender Man. It was first mentioned in 2003 on several websites at the same time. On these websites, the Kunekune is considered to be a "modern yōkai".
The Kunekune is said to resemble a slender, white humanoid shape, like a paper mannequin or a piece of fine fabric. It is said that the being can be found at lunchtime during hot summer days. The Kunekune lingers in widely extended rice fields or acres, in rare cases it might be found over the open sea. Its limbs are said to wiggle permanently, as if there was a straight gust of wind, even if it was a windless day. This behaviour gave the being the Japanese name "Kunekune", meaning "to twist", "to wiggle" or "to meander".
The Kunekune allegedly can only be seen from a distance; witnesses may see field workers or others closer to a Kunekune who don't seem aware of it. In the countryside, it looks snow white. In a city, it looks pitch black. If someone tries to look at it up close, he will go insane. If someone touches it, or simply comes too close, the Kunekune will kill its victim. If someone instead just leaves, the Kunekune will ignore the person.
First mention of the Kunekune appeared in 2003 at several websites at the same time. These websites deal with made-up stories concerning ghosts, demons and other kinds of spooks. Soon after the first published reports, Kunekune-believers began to write and collect their own (mostly made up) stories. These are all written in the first person singular in an attempt to make them look like eyewitness reports. A similar phenomenon can be observed with the case of the Slender Man and with Hanako-san.
The appearance of the Kunekune may be the result of confusion with traditional scarecrows, which are found in fields of rice and barley, or textile deity (タンモノ様 Tanmono-Sama), or snake worship like Hasshaku-sama (八尺様 Eight Feet Tall) or misinterpretation of a wick drains planted to drain water from inner ground to robust the soft ground. The Shinto kami known as Kuebiko, often represented as a scarecrow, is seen in Japan to possess broad knowledge of things in the world, or if one stares at them too long. Another possible explanation might be thick fog clouds, which appear over the fields during lunchtime. A third possibility might be hallucinations, created by heat stroke and dehydration during hot summer days.
- Richard Freeman: The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia: The A-Z of Japanese Monsters. CFZ Press, Myrtle Cottage, Bideford 2010, ISBN 978-1-905723-54-6, p. 200.
- Yamaguchi Satoshi Taro: 本当にいる日本の「現代妖怪」図鑑. Ryukura Verlag, Tokyo 2007, ISBN 4773003650, p. 19-23.
- Ito Ryuhei: 「ネット怪談「くねくね. In: 世間話研究, 18. Ausgabe. Smalltalk Study Group, Kyoto 2008, p. 55-57.
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