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Thursday, January 29, 2015
The Curse Of Rice Stem Manikin (稻草人诅咒术)
Taoist sorcerers are not the only persons who like to use
rice stem manikin to perform rituals: healing or cursing the like. An old Taoist
once told me that the effect of rice stem manikin is much better than the paper
manikin or the like.
Likewise, Japanese Shinto sorcerers also make use of rice
stem manikins for their rituals. The ritual I am interested here is the curse
of rice stem manikin. Basically the Japanese style is pretty simple: a typical
form is to nail a 5” nail into the heart of the rice stem manikin and then into
a large tree trunk. This is a curse meant to bring disaster to an intended
person which is said to be in existence since 710AD, during the period of Nara
Era (奈良时代) until today.
It is believed that women at that time commonly employ this
type of cursing method to treat those who have jilted them. Perhaps this was
the only way to express their anger of that time.
The mode of operandi is quite similar though not all manikins
are made of rice stems; it could be carved out from wood too. The most important ingredient is of course is
the name and personal particulars of the person to be cursed must be inserted
into the manikin. After that the person must perform the nailing down of the
manikin between 2am~3am. This is the period of 'chou' (丑时), hence some people also call this ritual as 丑时的参谒or literarily “paying homage
during chou hours”.
The woman who wants to perform this ritual must wear all
white and she must go to a huge three beside a Shinto shrine. Then she shall
press the manikin onto the tree trunk and start cursing by singing out loud her
hatred. When she felt she has had enough of cursing, she shall take a 5” iron
nail and strike it into the heart of the manikin. This ritual must be performed
for 7 consecutive days.
Proponents believe that the victim shall suffer from extreme
bad luck and even death may entail. Until fairly recently, manikins can still
be found on some tree trunks at isolated areas in Japan.
Other variation is to nail a manikin on a Chestnut tree
trunk with iron nails shall kill a person in relative short time. Yet another
form is to throw cursed manikin onto or under the bed of the target; some even
nail the manikin on the main door; or another method I heard is that the image
of the person is drawn onto the floor and then nails are hit in the heart of
The above cursing method is meant on 1:1 basis; i.e. when
the target is known, there is yet another method meant for causing harm to an
unknown target or a group of people… We shall see later.