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Folk lore

Kuroshima Folklore

These stories have been handed down in Honmura district, where people have lived since ancient times.
These let us imagine the relationship between the history and the folklore.

Snake Pine Trees on Ishima Island

There are two desert islands to the north of Kuroshima.
The west one is Ishima.
There remains a sad story concerning pine trees called Hebi Matsu (snake pine trees).

Hebi Matsu (snake pine trees)

More than 300 years ago, Kiyo, one of the princesses of the Hirado lord, was accused of becoming Pregnant as a result of an affair and was exiled to Ishima island.
Ishima island was a desert one and had no water. Though Kiyo gave birth to a baby, they could not survive without water.
And soon, princess came grows pine seem to surround the snake place a small pine in and around the dead.
These pine trees were considered as the princes and the baby, and came to be called Hebi Matsu or Snake Pine Trees.
The coil-shaped one was called Oya Matsu of Parent Pine Tree and said the diameter of its trunk was same from the foot to the tree top and covered with the snake-scale-like bark.
It is said many Kuroshima’s Buddhists used to visit the island to pray for safe childbirth.
Since the trees died, they have been forgotten gradually and nowadays no visitors at all.

Consideration from written records

This story may have something to do with Takashima island, which was used as a prison island criminals were exiled to.
In the Takebe family documents, there is a record of prisoners who escaped from the island.
It was dedicated to the snake pine as the god of easy delivery also, bear witness that there was a private faith of Kuroshima.

Kappa Stone in Honmura

There is a big stone called Kappa Stone on the way from Kuroshima port.
Though stories differ from person to person, this stone seems to have something to do with Kappa that is believed to cause a lot of troubles. Kappa is an imaginary creature with a plate on its head living in the river and the sea.
The Kappa legend of Kuroshima is said to be based on the pirates that were often seen around the island.

Kappa Stone Story

Once upon a time, there used to be Kappas on Kuroshima and caused the island people a lot of troubles.
One day, a man of Honmura village found a Kappa in a rice paddy.
He worked out a plan and approached the Kappa in a familiar way.
He said ‘Hey, my dear fellow, let’s have a sumo wrestling’. The kappa replied ‘Why not?’.
After hearing Kappa’s reply, he brought ashes from his house and scattered them on Kappa’s head on purpose.
They started a sumo wrestling and surprisingly the Kappa was defeated very soon.
Because the ashes absorbed the water in the plate on the head. The man knew that if Kappa’s plate dried out, it lost its power.
He caught the Kappa very easily and took him to a big stone in the middle of the rice paddy. He said to the Kappa ‘If you promise not to cause troubles until this stone goes rotten, I’ll release you’. The Kappa accepted his offer and put a small stone shrine on the big stone instead of a signed paper.
Since then, there have been no troubles caused by Kappas.

Consideration from written records

The granite stone pagoda on the Kappa Stone is a center-style one made in the Kansai region (Osaka & Kyoto area) in the 14th to 15th century.
It is believed that it was brought in by the Tsuyoshi family, who controlled the island before the Nishi family.
Since many center-style stone pagodas were found in islands and peninsulas, they are considered to be related to Wako or Japanese pirates deeply.
There is a possibility that ‘Kappa from the sea’ indicates the Tsuyoshi family. The family was well known as pirates.
It is said no mischievous act happened after Kappas had been wiped out. This may indicate that the Nishi family drove out the Tsuyoshi family.
This story must have been derived from power struggles on Kuroshima.