Uji no Hashihime - The woman who changed herself into a horrific Oni



  There once was a noblewoman named Hashihime, who took great pride in her devotion to her husband.

  Even though her husband was often away for business, she'd patiently wait on the bridge for his safe return. But after many years it was clear her husband was never coming back to her again, for he had found another wife.

  Her heart broken, and filled with rage and jealousy, she was determined to get revenge...

  In her state of anger she makes the pilgrimage to the Kibune shrine. There, to its deity, she spends days making this prayer:


"Give me the powers of the oni while I'm alive;

make me a fierce and monstrous being;

let me carry the flame of jealousy,

which burns so powerfully in me;

Let me kill."


The deity, to her delight, responded...

  In order to get her wish granted, she would have to perform a ritual for 21 nights in the river Uji. Hashihime obeys and in the middle of the night she goes to the river in a white robe.


Five locks of her hair she fashioned into five horns.

Her face and body painted red.

On her head she wore a crown with three rings,

where three candles would go on,

and another two candles for each side of her mouth.


  Dressed this way she would go downriver and immerse herself in the Uji river, where she would kindle pure hatred in her heart.

   Finally after 21 nights of carrying out the ritual Hashihime's wish is fulfilled and has become an oni, allowing her to take revenge on her unfaithful husband.

   Late at night, as she runs out on the Yamato Avenue, those who see her perish from terror. As an oni, she seizes the other woman's family, as well as the family of anyone who try to stop her.

 She makes no difference in who she kills and devours; be they man or woman; born high or low.


To kill the women, she changes into a man.

To kill the men, she changes into a woman.


  As she took so many lives, no man would dare set foot outside after the hour of Monkey (3pm to 5pm), which was the time Hashihime of Uji would roam the streets. With the flame of jealousy that burned so powerfully inside her, Hashihime of Uji thus became the face of 'a woman scorned'.


  And ultimately became the warning for every home of those who committed an infidelity of some kind.