the online database of Japanese folkore



Translation: Yazaimon octopus
Habitat: oceans
Diet: carnivorous

Appearance: Yazaimondako is a one-legged giant octopus who lived off the coast of Kagawa Prefecture. It became famous after an incident with a man named Yazaimon, from whom it got its name.

Origin: Yazaimondako comes from the folklore of Kagawa Prefecture on the island of Shikoku.

Legends: Long ago, a gigantic octopus was taking a nap on a large boulder off the coast of Kagawa. A fisherman named Yazaimon happened to pass by, and when he saw the enormous octopus his mouth began to water. Yazaimon climbed up onto the boulder and carefully cut off one of the octopus’ legs while it slept.

The following day Yazaimon passed the same boulder. The giant octopus was there, once again taking a nap. For a second time, Yazaimon climbed up onto the boulder and cut off one of the octopus’ legs.

This happened every day for a week. Finally the octopus had only one leg left. On the eigth day, Yazaimon climbed the boulder with the intention of killing the octopus and taking its last leg. But this time, the octopus woke up. It was furious. The octopus wrapped its remaining leg around Yazaimon and slid down to the bottom of the sea, dragging Yazaimon down with it. Then it resumed its nap.

Afterwards the giant, one-legged octopus was dubbed Yazaimondako, after the man who took seven of its legs.

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