Okurisuzume (送り雀)

The okurisuzume (sparrow that sends off) is a specter handed down in Wakayama Prefecture and Higashi-yoshino Village, Yoshino County, Nara Prefecture. In Wakayama Prefecture, it is also called suzumeokuri. As the chirping sound of okurisuzume is compared with that of a real bird aoji (black-faced bunting), okurisuzume is also called aoji.

When a person is walking along a mountain road at night, there comes an okurisuzume chirping 'chi, chi, chi,...'
In Wakayama Prefecture, it is said that okurisuzume used to appear in Mt. Nachi (mountain). It is said that a wolf or a specter, okuri-inu (dog that sends off) appears after the chirping sound, and once the person stumbles, he or she will be immediately attacked by such animal or monster, thus those who heard the chirping of okurisuzume used to walk watching their steps not to fall.

Though it is said that okurisuzume has an appearance of a bird as its name represents, no one has seen its appearance.

[Original Japanese]