The Hag of Adachi Moor

In Japan there is a folktale about a cannibalistic hag who lived alone on the Adachi Plain. One story tells of a Buddhist monk who arrived at her lonely cottage late at night and asked if he could shelter there. At first she said no, but he was able to finally persuade her to let him in. They sat and talked until late in the night. 

Utagawa Yoshitoshi

Eventually, the fire went out so the old woman left to gather more wood and told him that he must not look in the room at the back of the house. At first he sat patiently waiting for her but as she was gone so long he began to feel curious, and a little scared, about his strange surroundings. Unable to help himself, he went and peeked in the forbidden room.

Moon of the Lonely House - Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, ca. late 1880s.

To his horror, he saw piles of human bones, and the walls and floor covered in blood. He quickly left the house and began running away. On looking back, he realised the hag was chasing him with a bloodstained knife. Fortunately he was able to outrun her and get to safety. Some versions of the tale warn that the hag enjoys drinking the blood of unborn children and this fact is reflected in some of the many ukiyo-e prints inspired. by the Lonely House of the Hag of Adachigahara.

The Lonely House on Adachi Moor - Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1856.

The Lonely House on Adachi Moor -  Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1885.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

 The Lonely House at Asajigahara' - Utagawa Kuniyoshi, ca. 1850s.