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Japanese Legend About Tengu

Author:Svitlana Grytsenko, Issue: November 2003, Topic: Japanese Culture

There was a big ceremony at Tsukuba-san shrine on the first of November 2003. This ceremony was dedicated to the autumn harvest. There was a long procession carrying several portable shrines (mikoshi) led by a person wearing a demon mask with a very long nose. This demon was very friendly and let everybody to take the pictures with him. There were foreigners watching this ceremony and we were very excited and interested by his long red nose. That's why I decided to find out the point of having such a long nose. I had a hard time finding out, because the Japanese people I asked didn't know the answer. They, too, were interested to find out why the demon had such a long nose.

So, here is the story I got from a Japanese woman. The name of the demon leading the procession is Tengu, which means long-nosed goblin/braggart, and he has a long nose because... he is very proud of his family. He is very strong, he can jump across mountains and he can do anything he wants. Usually he has a fan shaped like a maple leaf with which he can make a very strong wind and just show that he is strong. The Japanese legend doesn't say if the men with the long noses are better husbands than with not so long ones.

<< Conseils de lecture: November 2003 | Master Index | Science News: November 2003 >>

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