Narikama (鳴釜)

A Narikama (also called Narigama or Kamanari) is one of Japanese yokai (ghosts, spirits and monsters) that was portrayed in Sekien TORIYAMA's yokai art collection book: "Hyakki Tsurezure Bukuro" (The Bag of One Hundred Random Demons; the term 'hyakki' in its title is a pun on the usual hyakki, replacing the character for demon which is written as "鬼" in Japanese with a character for vessel written as "器," and sure enough, most of the yokais shown in this book are tsukumogami [a type of Japanese spirits that originate in items or artifacts that have reached their 100th birthday and become alive]). It is a kind of the tsukumogami (specters transmuted from objects).


Sekien portrayed the Narikama as a hairy yokai, putting a kama (a metal pot) on and holding a votive picture tablet in his hands as if it is doing fortune-telling. It is allegedly originated from the Narukama Shinji Ritual, practiced in Kibitsu-jinja Shrine in Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture. According to one legend, the ritual was started when an ogre named Ura or Onra, which had been killed by Kibitsuhiko no mikoto and become a deity to give divine messages to people through sounds of steam from an iron pot. Some say that the specter Narikama is this Ura portrayed as a tsukumogami of a kama based on the legend, thus depicting the kama as a specter.

In a similar way, there are other tales of divination by sounds from a kama. A farmer dug up an iron pot in a cist. When the farmer boiled water with the iron pot, it might sound, and whenever the pot made some sounds, it always rained on that day. Then it is said that the iron pot became famous as a weather forecaster.

Moreover, a kama yokai (metal pot specter) was portrayed in "Hyakki yagyo emaki" ('Night Parade of One Hundred Demons' picture scroll) in the Muromachi period, and the Narikama was supposedly modeled on it.

[Original Japanese]