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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Like, I know the general tales about how to banish/exorcise ghosts from European and American storytelling. Salt, giving peace, etc..

    I don't think I remember a story with a Japanese style ghost (the Grudge, the Ring) getting banished or exorcised. Except maybe House in the Woods, but we only see the ending, not a real explanation as to how it happens.

    Any Japanese ghost stories aficionado knows about that? 😅

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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Generally speaking it is a case by case basis on how you actually beat them. Yokai are kinda esoteric and feature a lot of "gotcha" traps to deal with. Otherwise, go to a Shinto shrine and just kinda hope someone there can help.

    Like just off the top of my head, various different unique spirits are beaten by "don't pick up that baby", "ask for no toilet paper", and my personal favorite of "just kinda walk away".
    Last edited by LaZodiac; 2020-11-26 at 09:43 PM.


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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    What about Onryō? Any story where one is defeated, or its kind of a fatalistic thing?

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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    You're gonna need a monk with a sword who can recite prayer under pressure and even then that's gonna be difficult. They're Big Deals, asking to exorcise one of these is like asking "how do I prevent an earthquake"?

    You kinda don't. You survive it.


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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cikomyr2 View Post
    What about Onryō? Any story where one is defeated, or its kind of a fatalistic thing?
    Depends on the Onryo. If you can appease it, say completing its count so it's convinced that the plates it was supposed to protect are all there, then it can go away. However, if you can't figure out why they're still around or can't fix it then... ya, you just die.

    Onryo suck.
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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Its largely because European ghosts come from a monotheistic religion. God can beat anything and with that mentality exorcisms and cleansing and moving onto heaven because a matter of how, not if.

    Japanese is an animistic/polytheistic culture, so to them various yokai are part of the fabric of nature. Sometimes being polite saves your life, (against a Kappa, bow) sometimes being polite gets you killed, (telling a Kuchisake that, yes, youre pretty will get your face cut off). Because nature is weird and strange. Its a maze to be navigated, not an obstacle to be overcome.

    Generally with Yokai, "Dont get involved" is the golden rule. Once you are, you're pretty much buggered.

    One of the reasons ive never like Japanese ghost films. Since the ghosts dont have much definition to their existence, i find myself asking why its bothering to be all spooky when it could just instantly kill them all no consequence. Most of them aren't phobophages, so "it wants them to be scared" isnt a good reason like with Pennywise
    Last edited by Lvl45DM!; 2020-11-26 at 10:19 PM.
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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Not exactly against ghost, but avoiding the number 4 or any other word that sounds like death ("shi") seems to be a way to avoid unlucky encounters.

    As far as malevolent ghosts themselves, they're usually taken care of by more benevolent punch-ghosts, samurai ghosts, or a secret society of bowmen dressed in white tunics.
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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl45DM! View Post
    I (telling a Kuchisake that, yes, youre pretty will get your face cut off).
    From what I know, telling her she's pretty will actually save your life. She'll cut up your face, but you'll survive. Saying she isn't will get you killed.

    The way to 'win' is to get kinda pedantic (saying she's average, saying you don't like woman with a feature she has, but acknowledging that most people will consider her pretty and so forth) or throwing something valuable at her, and booking it (either hard candy or money)
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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
    From what I know, telling her she's pretty will actually save your life. She'll cut up your face, but you'll survive. Saying she isn't will get you killed.

    The way to 'win' is to get kinda pedantic (saying she's average, saying you don't like woman with a feature she has, but acknowledging that most people will consider her pretty and so forth) or throwing something valuable at her, and booking it (either hard candy or money)
    I thought it was to say that you're very sorry, but you're late for an important engagement and must leave.

    Or is that another spirit? Or was I being pranked?
    Man, mythology's a mess.
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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strigon View Post
    I thought it was to say that you're very sorry, but you're late for an important engagement and must leave.

    Or is that another spirit? Or was I being pranked?
    Man, mythology's a mess.
    I'd say look at it from the point of view of the culture.

    So "finding a very polite way to deny and deflect someone' s attention and demands without giving them an opening to be offended" can be somewhat of an art form in certain Japanese interaction and media. So it makes sense that their ghosts react to this.

    In a way, i suppose this also explains why you can't beat these ghosts. There are beings in this world more powerful than you, and will kill you if you draw their ire, and there's nothing you can do to fight them. At beast you get away with your life. It doesn't matter if these beings are Kings, Samurai or ghosts.

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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Dealing with Japanese ghosts is mostly preventative. Purify the area (salt is also significant, as in Western mythology), pray, set up charms and other superstitious protections, and ask benevolent spirits to protect you with more prayers and offerings.

    Otherwise you're mostly expected to by studious and learn all the old wisdom to make sure you know what to do when you might encounter something malicious. Like LaZodiac said, every spirit has it's own M.O. and your safest route is to recognise them before you interact with them, which will inevitably incur their wrath. There's a vague implication that, if you're being attacked by a Japanese ghost, it's because you've done something to deserve it (even if that thing is arbitrary, unfair or obscure) and so if you didn't take the proper steps to avoid it, it's on your own head to get yourself out of this mess.

    Should you find yourself duelling with a spirit, then as before the only thing that will save you is to know their weakness and immediately exploit it. This might involve a tested tactic like challenging the spirit to a sumo wrestling match - in the case of a Kappa, it won't be able to resist and as it bows before the fight, this tips the water out of it's head and thus it has to return to it's home or die.
    Other times, you just have to be cunning an improvise - as mentioned above, finding the exactly right way to use a phrase in order to mollify them into leaving you (more or less alone), or in some cases by posing a riddle that forces them to stop and solve it, or to find a hiding place where you can stash their torso and they can't find it again.

    Western ghosts are an enemy - you actively fight them off with faith and ritual. Japanese ghosts are individuals, and you protect yourself by being smart, following good advice, and being a good student of folklore.
    Last edited by Wraith; 2020-11-27 at 10:55 AM.
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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    I would say your best bet on average is talking to a shinto priest/ess and begging them for help. Trying to memorize the entire laundry list of dozens, if not hundreds of types of supernatural beings you might face in japanese mythology and the best ways to counter them is best left to the professionals. Obviously that revolves around being able to go find a priest to help which may not always be an option but really, they are all different beings, often wildly different. There is no one size fits all solution. If you had to survive in a japaense supernatural everything is real world, I would suggest focusing on memorizing the creatures that you HAVE to deal with directly right then and there and how to appease/bind/escape/defeat them, and if you dont recognize it, run and consult a priestess. Maybe kagome can make them sit.
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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    I know there have been a bunch of Anime about this.

    https://recommendmeanime.com/top-20-...hosts-spirits/

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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Thanks to video games and pop culture, I know it involves writing something on paper and slapping that paper on either the ghost or yourself... And then you didn't write the right thing or didn't use the right paper so you lose anyway... Would writing Elbereth on the ground and standing on it work in this situation?
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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Well, for one, you need to define what you mean by "ghost" becuase the term "Yokai" is a term that refers to basically anything trange or unusual but not of alien(in the sense of "foreign," not "from outer space," though it's foreign in a spiritual sense than a physical one.)

    In pretty much any culture, there's a big difference between dealing with a ghost, dealing with a fairy, and dealing with a demon. Yokai can be used to refer to any and all of those things.

    In general, make sure that you are spiritually clean, do the same to your environment, and be the appropriate amount of polite to everyone incase they're yokai in disguise.

    Most of the advice is aimed towards yokai, but if we're talking ghosts(yurei) specifically then there are some general commonalities.

    Yurei are, like western ghosts, considered to be the spirit of the dead who have been denied a peaceful afterlife for some reason. They died suddenly and violently such as murder or suicide, traditional funerary rites were not preformed or performed improperly, or if they were filled with strong desires at the time of death, such as important unfinished business or a desire for vengeance.

    They can often be laid to rest by performing the appropriate rites and ceremonies or by concluding their unfinished business, just like with western ghosts. Bring the killer to justice, find out why they felt the need to end their own life, tell their story, return the item they are protecting to it's rightful owners, and so on and so forth.

    Exorsims are also possible.

    However, some kinds of ghost have specific rules and the like.

    An Ubume is mostly harmless: They're a woman who died in childbirth, they'll wander around, offer you their baby, and disappear and then it turns out the baby they gave you is a bundle of sticks. Th similar Obo, however, the baby may in fact be part of the spirit and try to bite your neck so if you're not sure throw a piece of cloth and run like hell.

    Funayurei can be appeased by tossing onigiri into the sea,

    Zashiki-warashi are the ghost of children and are usually mischievous at the worst. Sometimes, they can be beneficial: If you keep them in your home and treat them well, you'll be blessed with wealth and fortune.

    but the Onryo was mentioned by name... And...

    In some works of fiction, there's the idea that a particularly powerful or vengeful ghost could become a demon? The Onryo is pretty close to that. The Onryo is the Big Bad Grand Mommy of Malevolent Ghosts.

    When they say Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned, this might be the woman they're talking about.

    An Onryo is the host of someone who died as a direct consequence of, or shortly after, being deeply wronged by someone. Usually, a woman who was wronged by a man, but anyone can become an Onryo if the wrong left them angry enough. They want revenge not only on those that wronged them but on the world in general and they will never be satisfied.

    Onryo can place deadly curses on you, they can cause earthquakes, fires, floods, storms, pestilence, plage. Demonic possession. If an Onryo kills you, they take your soul for... Reasons I am not certain of but can't possibly be anything good.

    (Actually, interestingly enough, Freddy Krueger might be considered an Onryo by some metrics: While he definitely had it coming, he came back as a ghost as a direct consequence of being murdered, came back for revenge, has continued to kill long after completing his vengeance, has powers far beyond those of anything found among the living, is sometimes considered to be a demon more than a vengeful ghost, and steals the souls of anyone he kills. It's probably a coincidence, but...)

    Sometimes, appeasing them or righting the original wrong can set them at rest and some stories have them being destroyed or exorcised while they're still "fresh," so to say, but otherwise... You can't beat them. You might be able to escape by turning their wrath on someone else. (For example, showing someone else the Tape in the Ring.)

    It's telling that, when the original Japanese Ringu and Ju-On franchises did a crossover movie, the gut response of how to deal with two Onryo was to try and get them to destroy each other.

    (It didn't work. All it did was make it much, much, much worse.)

    In particular, the Onryo's curses can often spread and bring suffering far beyond the initial recipient, like an infectious disease, and even in cases where the Onryo is destroyed or laud to rest it's not on common for the curse to persist and continue to spread and bring misfortune long afterward.
    Last edited by Rater202; 2020-11-27 at 02:02 PM.
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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strigon View Post
    I thought it was to say that you're very sorry, but you're late for an important engagement and must leave.

    Or is that another spirit? Or was I being pranked?
    Man, mythology's a mess.
    It could be. I've heard a bunch of different answers that supposedly work. I think the key is giving an answer that isn't yes or no.
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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    (Actually, interestingly enough, Freddy Krueger might be considered an Onryo by some metrics: While he definitely had it coming, he came back as a ghost as a direct consequence of being murdered, came back for revenge, has continued to kill long after completing his vengeance, has powers far beyond those of anything found among the living, is sometimes considered to be a demon more than a vengeful ghost, and steals the souls of anyone he kills. It's probably a coincidence, but...)
    Considering John Carpenter was partially inspired by a series of strange deaths that occurred in the southeast Asian refugee community post-Vietnam war (the story goes he read an article where a guy forced himself to stay awake for days because he was terrified of something in his dreams and died the same night his family got him asleep) I wouldn't be surprised if he was at least partially aware of what an Onryo was.

    Like, I doubt it was conscious but I wouldn't be shocked.
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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    For a variety of reasons, individuals who go round combatting ghosts in Japanese folklore are few and far between (running up to the Shinto shrine and asking for help has been mentioned, but there's also the Buddhist shrine just around the corner and onmyoji have been known to combat evil spirits on occassion). Generally though, in Japanese folklore, ghosts are something you try to survive, much like a natural disaster.

    It's odd as just across the sea, Chinese ghostbusting is far more prevalent and Taoist exorcist monks/practioners are two a penny.

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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Interesting... it seems like there's less of a sense of 'do this thing, and this monster is unable to harm you' (salt, crucifixes and such) as 'do this thing, and the monster may choose not to harm you'. You're not really preventing it from acting so much as giving it other priorities.

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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Guard View Post
    Interesting... it seems like there's less of a sense of 'do this thing, and this monster is unable to harm you' (salt, crucifixes and such) as 'do this thing, and the monster may choose not to harm you'. You're not really preventing it from acting so much as giving it other priorities.
    It's less 'may choose not to harm you' and more 'gets distracted and either forgets or fails to notice you'. To offer an opinion, the prevalence of natural disasters in Japan (typhoons, earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruptions), let alone manmade ones (disease, war, famine) has significantly influenced Japanese mythology, including how to deal with immensely powerful things beyond one's control.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2020-11-29 at 06:25 AM.

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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    I don't know about any 'canonicity' of it, but I rewatched Cabin in the Woods recently, and it had a group of girls 'exorcise' what seemed to be an angry ghost and maybe turn it into a happy frog.

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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    Funayurei can be appeased by tossing onigiri into the sea,
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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Celestia View Post
    Oh, shoot. And all I have are these jelly-filled donuts.
    Perhaps a submarine sandwich?

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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Celestia View Post
    Oh, shoot. And all I have are these jelly-filled donuts.
    Don't forget to pair it with a healthy pour of 'tea.'

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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    I should mention the anime Ghost Stories , which is a reasonably forgettable show in the sub but has one of the most outlandish dubs ever. South Park style immaturity and adult verbal humor. You have been warned. Still should see it just once, as a testament to voice actors when they're given permission to take the translation wherever they want, provided it stays true to the original story.

    Anyways, in pretty much every story young teens discover some haunting in their town, and in almost every case they seal it or bind it with a spell. There are a couple of stories when the ghost or spirit is instead appeased or given rest by solving whatever bound it to wander the world without rest until the problem is solved.

    In the first episode, binding a demon instead traps it in the protaganists' house cat, with the result that we have a talking cat with cynical, sarcastic observations for most of the rest of the show.

    The spoken or written word seems to have power in these stories far beyond what you would expect. Certainly the cynical Game of Throne's observation that "words are wind" doesn't work in these stories at all.

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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Isnít trapping Japanese spirits in trees and animals a popular way of dealing with them?

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    I should mention the anime Ghost Stories , which is a reasonably forgettable show in the sub but has one of the most outlandish dubs ever. South Park style immaturity and adult verbal humor. You have been warned.
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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Quote Originally Posted by LaZodiac View Post
    Generally speaking it is a case by case basis on how you actually beat them. Yokai are kinda esoteric and feature a lot of "gotcha" traps to deal with. Otherwise, go to a Shinto shrine and just kinda hope someone there can help.

    Like just off the top of my head, various different unique spirits are beaten by "don't pick up that baby", "ask for no toilet paper", and my personal favorite of "just kinda walk away".
    So is the toilet paper hand ghost that keeps showing up in Zelda games some kind of reference I've never heard of before?

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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Secrets View Post
    So is the toilet paper hand ghost that keeps showing up in Zelda games some kind of reference I've never heard of before?
    Yup! It's a reference to that specific spirit who asks for some red or blue paper.


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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    I think the bigger thing is that Japan has its own conventions and tropes for telling ghost stories, which would then provide a foundation for their subsequent horror culture in media. I'm hardly rich in scholarly insight as to make broad assessments on said conventions, but my own experience is they tend to want to leave you with a lingering unsettled feeling by their conclusion.

    There's a latent expectation when moving into the realm of Western cinematic/television horror that there's an adversarial hero/villain dynamic at play. Which, even if horrifying events transpire around them, you want to see the hero win in the end. Sure, you can point to a number of examples where that doesn't happen - I think it happens more often than not with The Other Limits twist endings for example, to the point where it's no longer shocking - but that's intent on undermining those assumptions the audience has going into it.

    A lot of Japanese horror I've seen just doesn't care about that, it wants to convey the horror as it's own kind of specific catharsis and not see a character you empathize inevitably overcome the horror in some fashion.

    I would include - somewhat tangentially - to that, that folk and fairy tales of Japan were not Disney-ized as such. Made to conform to evolving sensibilities of what children and youth should be exposed to - or what public morals deem acceptable to evade censorship - as they were adapted by mitigating the darker elements over the decades into centuries. There's a lot of stories with unsettlingly dark elements to them and rather dour conclusions from European fairy tales and folklore, but were changed significantly to be far... softer over time. I think this has contributed to a certain mindset for both writers and their audiences in general, reinforced by what would inevitably become successful in the realm of - less niche - horror.

    Of course this is speaking in broad generalities. The trend of found-footage horror movies going back to The Blair Witch Project's extreme success on a infinitesimal budget led to a number of Apocalyptic Log - to borrow a reference from TV Tropes - style horror stories where you know the supernatural force is going to win in the end whatever any exorcist or similar figure might do, since the audiences clearly didn't care and you can make your actors completely disposable there wasn't any reason for Hollywood not to drive the whole thing into the ground with dozens of similar works.
    Last edited by Kitten Champion; 2020-12-03 at 04:31 AM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: How do you beat Japanese ghosts?

    If there's one thing that Erma has taught me it's that the Power of Friendship will also work on yokai. (Mostly just a plug for a webtoon I like, but the latest arcs have been delving pretty deeply into yokai in general rather).
    Quote Originally Posted by Darths & Droids
    When you combine the two most devious, sneaky, manipulative, underhanded, cunning, and diabolical forces in the known universe, the consequences can be world-shattering. Those forces are, of course, players and GMs.
    Quote Originally Posted by OgresAreCute View Post
    Realism, the natural predator of D&D mechanics.

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