Rokurokubi: The Rubber-Necked Woman

Today, I’m over at Part Time Monster, sharing the origin of Rokurokubi, a Japanese monster. This is the first in a monthly series of posts examining the female monsters of Japan, and I am honored to have been given the slot. I hope you’ll check it out and join in the discussion over there!

Part Time Monster

If monsters are deviants––if they represent the abnormal, the Uncanny, and the deep-seated fears of society, then the monsters of Japan are a complex looking glass into the psyche of their creator. Most famously, perhaps, is the monster Godzilla, a metaphor for the nuclear bomb.

With Japanese monsters, several components come into play: the country has a complicated religious history, practicing Shinto (a belief that all things, even inanimate, have spirits that can curse, control, or reward) and Buddhism alongside each other, as well as accepting, rejecting, and then accepting Christianity again. That rejection of Christianity also resulted in one of the most famous events in Japanese history: a two-hundred year seclusion from the rest of the world that ended when Commodore Perry demanded trade be opened again, under threat of cannon fire. (You can see why the U.S. and Japan have had a pretty tumultuous relationship.) That seclusion meant…

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3 thoughts on “Rokurokubi: The Rubber-Necked Woman

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Thanks so much, Linda! Yes, it’s quite the same idea as an Indian man marrying a cow so that the cow can catch all the bad luck, before he marries his real bride.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. mbarkersimpson says:

    Thanks, Alex. I loved learning more about the Rokurokubi. It fascinates me too, the way society punishes that which they create in the first place. There are so many colourful, intriguing monsters who are merely fulfilling a roll they were forced into; the saddest part is when those monsters have to hide their true identity and are punished regardless 😀


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