2018-10-14

hitodama human soul legends

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. Japanese legends and tales 伝説 民話 昔話 - Introduction .
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hitodama 人魂 / 人玉と伝説 Legends about the human soul
hitodama 人玉 spirit of a dead person, "soul flame"
tamabi 魂火 soul fire, fireball of a soul, human fireball




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In Japanese folklore, Hitodama (Japanese 人魂; meaning "human soul") are balls of fire that mainly float in the middle of night.
They are said to be "souls of the dead that have separated from their bodies," which is where their name comes from.
- Hitodama are mentioned in literature from ancient times. In the Man'yōshū, there is the following poem:
When you are alone and meet the complete blueness of a hitodama,
you would naturally think of it as the sorrow on a rainy night.

— Man'yōshū (Amasaki book) Chapter 16

They are frequently confused with onibi and kitsunebi, but since hitodama are considered to be the "appearance of souls that have left the body and fly through the air," they are strictly speaking a different general idea.
Concerning their shape and nature,
there are common features throughout Japan, but some differences could also be seen depending on the area. They fly crawling along at an elevation that is not very high. They have a color that is blue, orange, or red, and also have a tail, but it can either be short or long. There are also a few that have been seen during daytime.
In the Okinawa Prefecture,
hitodama are called "tamagai", and in Nakijin, they are said to appear before a child is born and in some areas are also said to be mysterious flames that drive off humans to death.
In Kawakami, Inba District, Chiba Prefecture,
(now Yachimata), hitodama are called "tamase," and are said to come out of the body 2 or 3 days after a human dies, and go toward temples or people they have a deep relation with and are said to make a great sound in storm shutters and gardens, but it is said that this sound can only be heard by those who have a deep relation with the spirit. Also, for those who have not seen a tamase by the time they are 28 years of age, a tamase would come towards them saying "let's meet, let's meet (aimashou, aimashou)" so even those who have not seen one when they are 28 years old will pretend to have seen one.
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- - - - - ABC List of the prefectures :


............................................................................... Fukui 福井県
敦賀市 Tsuruga

. ryuutoo 龍燈 / 龍灯 / 竜灯 と伝説 Legends about Ryuto, "Dragon Lantern" .
tamabi 魂火 soul fire
On the last day of the Old Year people can see many soul fires hovering over the waves in the sea. Sometimes there are more soul fires on the other side of the bay, sometimes they come together and over around. Eventually they disappear at the Shrine 常宮神社 Jogu Jinja.
The Dragon, an incarnation of 海神 Watatsumi, the Deity of the Sea, is said to become a female and go to meet its male counterpart.



............................................................................... Gunma 群馬県
富岡市 Tomioka city

. meido めいど【冥土 / 冥途】 the Netherworld, underworld .



............................................................................... Ibaraki 茨城県

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茨城町 Ibaraki Town

tamase, hitodama 人玉 / 人魂
A bluish-white fireball 火の玉 fell down to the ground near a Zelkova tree.
The local folks called this tamase タマセ(魂) (tamashi) a soul.

. keyaki 欅と伝説 Legends about the Zelkova tree .




............................................................................... Kagoshima
屋久島 Yakushima island

. hitodama 人玉 spirit of a dead person, "soul flame" .





............................................................................... Nara 奈良県

tamabi 魂火 soul fire

If there is a death in the family, another blood relative will be sure to see the Tamabi leave the house.




............................................................................... Tokyo 東京
Ota ward

. Tales from temple 本門寺 Honmon-Ji .



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- reference : nichibun yokai database 妖怪データベース -
197 人魂 to explore
23 人玉 to explore
tamabi 魂火 OK

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. animals and their legends 動物と伝説 - - ABC list .

. plants and their legends  植物と伝説 - - ABC list .

. trees and their legends  樹木, 木と伝説 - - ABC list .

. Persons, People, Personen and their legends - - ABC list .

. Legends about Kobo Daishi Kukai - 弘法大師 空海 - 伝説 .

. Japanese legends and tales 伝説 民話 昔話 - Introduction .

- Yookai 妖怪 Yokai Monsters of Japan -
- Introduction -

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