the online database of Japanese folkore

Kakuran no mushi


Translation: vomit and diarrhea bug
Habitat: the stomach

Appearance: Kakuran no mushi is a parasitic yōkai which lives in the stomach. It has a black head and a red body. It has tiny legs interspersed across its long body. Its facial expression resembles that of a person who is about to vomit; its mouth is open and its eyes are tiny pinpoints.

Interactions: People infected with kakuran no mushi suffer symptoms similar to food poisoning: frequent diarrhea and vomiting. This infection can be cured by taking goshuyu, a medicine made from a dried, unripe fruit (Tetradium ruticarpum).

In one record of a kakuran no mushi infection, this yōkai’s head was briefly visible in its host’s mouth during a particularly violent bout of vomiting. A friend of the victim grabbed the kakuran no mushi’s head to try to pull it out, but when he did, the victim became very weak and seemed as if he was about to lose consciousness. The friend let go of the head, and the kakuran no mushi retreated back into its hosts body. Afterwards, the victim died. When an autopsy was performed, the doctor found the kakuran no mushi wrapped up around its host’s liver so tightly that he couldn’t remove it. The doctor ground up shazenshi (Plantago asiatica) and mokkō (Saussurea costus) and sprinkled it on the kakuran no mushi, and the creature disappeared.

Alphabetical list of yōkai