the online database of Japanese ghosts and monsters

Hajikkaki

By on May 30, 2019, in Bakemono tsukushi emaki, China, Patreon, shame, yōkai

恥っかき
はじっかき

TRANSLATION: embarasser, shamer
HABITAT: underground
DIET: unknown; likely feeds off its own shame

APPEARANCE: Hajikkaki are pathetic looking yōkai with plump, white, hairless blobby bodies. They have round eyes and protruding fangs. They frequently cover their heads with their hands in a display of shame or embarrassment.

ORIGIN: Hajikkaki appear in a number of old yokai scrolls, such as the Bakemono tsukushi emaki. Like most of the yōkai found in scrolls, all that is recorded is a name and an illustration. Everything else about them is entirely speculation, added on later by storytellers and folklorists.

Although nothing is written about hajikkaki, its illustrations are based on a Chinese spirit called the shahyōchū (謝豹虫). In Chinese folklore, shahyōchū are frog-like bugs which are born from the souls of people who died while feeling embarrassed. They are so shy that they spend their entire lives buried under the ground. If you should dig one up, it will bestow a curse of shame on you, and something terribly shameful or embarrassing will happen to you. Because hajikkaki’s name evokes the same feelings of shame, it’s possible that it was meant to be an artistic interpretation or reinvention of shahyōchū.