The Sessho-seki (殺生石 Sesshōseki), or "Killing Stone", is an object in Japanese mythology. It is said that the stone kills anyone who comes into contact with it.
The stone is believed to be the transformed corpse of Tamamo-no-Mae, a beautiful woman who was exposed to be a nine-tailed fox working for an evil daimyō plotting to kill Emperor Konoe and take his throne. As told in the otogi-zōshi, when the nine-tailed fox was killed by the famous warrior Miura-no-suke, its body became the Sessho-seki.
The Sessho-seki was said to be haunted by Tamamo-no-Mae, the transformed spirit of the nine-tailed fox, until a Buddhist priest called Genno stopped for a rest near the stone, and was threatened by Tamamo no Mae. Genno performed certain spiritual rituals, and begged the spirit to consider her spiritual salvation, until finally Tamamo no Mae relented and swore never to haunt the stone again.
In Matsuo Bashō's famous book, The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Oku no Hosomichi), Bashō tells of visiting the stone in Nasu, located in modern-day Tochigi Prefecture. Today, an area in the volcanic mountains of Nasu (famous for their sulfur hot springs) commemorates the myth.
It was adapted to A fifth category Noh play, attributed to Hiyoshi Saami Based on the legend, a novel titled Tamamo-no-Mae (玉藻の前) written by Kido Okamoto. Subsequently novel was also adapted to anime movie in 1967 titled Kyuubi no Kitsune to Tobimaru (Sesshouseki) 九尾の狐と飛丸(殺生石).
- "Sesshoseki play" " Sesshōseki (殺生石) | Theatre Nohgaku Blog. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
- "Station 9 - Sesshoseki". Basho's World. Archived from the original on December 26, 2004. Retrieved February 23, 2006.
- "Tamamo-no-mae (Synopsis)". Enjoying Otogi Zoshi with the Help of Synopsis and Illustrations. Archived from the original on July 10, 2006. Retrieved February 22, 2006.
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