the online database of Japanese ghosts and monsters

Suppon no yūrei

By on May 22, 2019, in Aichi, animal, Chubu, Niigata, onryō, Patreon, priest, turtle, yōkai

鼈の幽霊
すっぽんのゆうれい

TRANSLATION: softshell turtle ghost
ALTERNATE NAMES: suppon no bakemono
HABITAT: places where softshell turtles are eaten
DIET: none; thrives solely on vengeance

APPEARANCE: Suppon is the Japanese word for the Chinese softshell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis). Suppon no yūrei are the vengeful ghosts of softshell turtles who appear in order to get revenge on the humans who ate them. They usually appear as gigantic ghosts with long, legless bodies, and prominent, pointed lips just like a softshell turtle.

BEHAVIOR: Like kitsune, tanuki, and other animals, suppon were believed to have powerful magical abilities. In addition, suppon were known for their tenacity. It was said that if one bite you, it would never let go. Accordingly, their ghosts were believed to be particularly tenacious, and their curses were especially hard to break.

INTERACTIONS: Suppon no yūrei haunt humans who are involved in the catching, selling, and eating of suppon. Their victims are usually people who have eaten a great amount of suppon meat, or else the owners of bars and restaurants who have served large numbers of suppon to their customers.

There are a number of ways in which a suppon no yūrei can haunt its victims. One common method is to manifest as another yōkai—a gigantic monk called a taka nyūdō—and repeatedly terrorize the offending human. Another common method is to possess their victim and cause them to take on facial and body features resembling a softshelled turtle.

ORIGIN: Suppon have been a delicacy in the far east for thousands of years. In addition to being used for food, suppon are also believed to have restorative and invigorative powers, and are used in traditional Chinese remedies as well as modern energy drinks, fad health supplements, and other pseudoscience.

LEGENDS: One particularly tragic story tells of a man who made his living by catching and selling suppon. The deep and long-last grudge of all of the dead suppon manifested as a taka nyūdō over thirty meters tall, which haunted him night after night. On top of that, his own baby was born disfigured and resembling a softshelled turtle. The child had hair longer than his body. He had webbed fingers and toes. His eyes were large, round, and sharp. His lips were long and pointed. Because of the shape of his mouth, he could not eat regular food, and his parents had to feed him worms.