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Translation: none; this is her name

Appearance: Kakehashi appears in Baika hyōretsu, by Edo Period novelist Santō Kyōden. She brutally murdered her husband’s mistress, and in turn fell victim to the curse of the mistress’ vengeful ghost, and her own karma.

Legends: Kakehashi was the beloved wife of the samurai Karakoto Urazaemon. Kakehashi was unable to become pregnant, so Urazaemon kept a mistress named Monohana. Kakehashi and Monohana got along very well. But while Urazaemon was away on business, his neighbor Furutori Sabunta plotted against him. He laid a trap for Kakehashi. Toying with her emotions, Sabunta made Kakehashi believe that Urazaemon and Monohana were planning to murder her. He showed her letters from her husband to his mistress describing their plan. Then Sabunta seduced Kakehashi. He convinced her to kidnap and torture Monohana, then finally drown her in a goldfish tank. Afterwards, they stole Urazaemon’s valuables, ran off into the mountains together.

Kakehashi and Sabunta ran into a gang of bandits, who stripped them of all of their stolen goods. Penniless and wanted for murder, Kakehashi and Sabunta had no choice but to hide away in the mountains. They survived by becoming bandits themselves. Sabunta dressed up as a yuki onna, scaring and robbing travelers in the snowy mountain pass. He amassed a large amount of wealth, and eventually became a powerful bandit leader himself.

Meanwhile, Kakehashi was tormented by the spirit of Monohana. She suffered terrible dreams in which she was attacked by countless goldfish which bit her all over. When she woke up, she was covered in painful bruises in all of the places she dreamed the goldfish had bit her. Kakehashi put ointment on the wounds, but it only caused the pain to increase. Eventually, the pain was so great that she became bedridden.

Kakehashi’s symptoms worsened day by day. Her face began to swell. Pustules erupted all over her body. Her skin split, and became streaked with rivers of pus and blood. The pain and the itching were unbearable. The stench was nauseating. As her symptoms worsened, her cheeks inflated like balloons. Her lips and nose rotted and fell of, permanently exposing her teeth. Her inflamed eyes pushed out of their sockets.

Kakehashi could no longer swallow food, and began to starve. She could barely drink water, and even that caused her great pain. Her belly became distended like a taiko drum. Her arms and hands shriveled up until they looked like skin and bone. She now looked like a giant, grotesque goldfish. No doctors were able to diagnose her illness, but Kakehashi knew that it was the curse of Monohana’s ghost.

Consumed by suffering, Kakehashi lashed out at Sabunta. “You brought this curse upon me! You turned me into an adulteress. You made me kick Monohana’s pregnant belly until it split open. You made me kill her unborn child! Don’t think I will ever forget it!” Kakehashi’s pain caused her mind to snap. She alternated between spitting curses at Sabunta, and cuddling her pillow like a child, singing lullabies to it.

If Kakehashi wished for death, Monohana’s curse did not grant it to her. Letting Kakehashi die would be too merciful. Monohana wanted her to suffer. And so Kakehashi slowly recover from her illness. But while her pain and her insanity gradually subsided, but her physical deformities never healed. She was cursed to look like a monster for the rest of her life. After that, Sabunta returned home less and less often. Kakehashi became increasingly jealous. She was terrified that Sabunta would leave her because of her disfigurement.

One day, after Sabunta had not returned for several days, Kakehashi grew tired of waiting. She went looking for him herself. She found him drinking sake in his camp, with his arms around a pair of beautiful young women. Kakehashi was furious. She stormed over and grabbed both women by the hair and snarled at Sabunta, “Wherever you hide, don’t think I won’t find you!”

Without hesitation, Sabuta drew his sword to Kakehashi’s neck. He revealed the truth to her: “Everything I said to you was a lie. Your husband never betrayed you; I forged those letters just to manipulate you. I never loved you, I just used you to get Urazaemon’s money. You are the one who killed Monohana. How dare you begrudge me for your sins! Everything that happened to you is your fault, because you were dumb enough to believe my lies!”

Kakehashi regretted everything she had done to her husband and to Monohana, but it only fueled her rage. Her eyes flared with anger. Her fangs snapped in her lipless mouth. Her long hair flew about wildly. Gripping the two girls by their hair, she screamed. “If you kill me, I will find you. Alive or dead I will find you. I will hunt you down you across the six realms and the four directions. And I will have my revenge.” Sabunta laughed. Holding his sake in one hand and his sword in the other, he mocked Kakehashi. Then he cut Kakehashi’s head from her body.

Suddenly the sky grew dark. A gust of wind blew and the earth began to shake. Kakehashi’s severed head shot up into the sky. Her eyes burned white-hot and stared at Sabunta. Flames leapt from her mouth. The screaming head spiraled around him in circles. And then, it suddenly vanished. Sabunta looked back at Kakehashi’s body. Her dead hands were still gripping the hair of the two girls. Sabunta cut her arms from her body to free the girls, but it was two late. They were both dead.

From then on, Sabunta was haunted by Kakehashi’s vengeful ghost. Everywhere he went, Kakehashi found him and tortured him relentlessly. She inflicted him with sickness and madness, and like Kakehashi his disease left him disfigured. And just as Monohana had done to her, Kakehashi never killed Sabunta. It was Urazaemon’s brother Takijiro who eventually tracked Sabunta down and took revenge upon him.

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