Hitaikakushi – The mysterious Japanese white cloth


A piece of white cloth that has no exact meaning, present in Japanese culture and with different interpretations. Hitaikakushi [額隠] is this uncertain element. The following is a summary of why it exists and its theories and how it emerged throughout the existence of Japanese folklore.

Eastern culture is very little explored by us westerners, far from our reality, the peoples Japanese, Chinese, Koreans and others, have a rich folklore. With many of elements present in our culture, the different conception and definitions of themselves, shows that our world is connected in several aspects.

A common point is the presence of ghosts in oriental culture, specifically in Japanese folklore. The yurei is one of these elements, present in the culture of the rising sun, which is analogous to the ghost in the west.

Hitaikakushi - the mysterious japanese white cloth

For the Japanese – in their traditional Buddhist culture, we human beings have souls. Or spirit for others. However, reikon is the name given to people’s soul or spirit.

Upon dying, a person’s reikon leaves the body and enters what would be similar to purgatory in Western Christian Jewish culture. And it is this spirit that adds value to Japanese mythology.

Hitaikakushi – Bandana of the Yureis

Yurei are the most common forms of appearance in ancient texts and books. Its appearance is, in a way, uniform. Marked by white kimono robes – reference of funerals of the Japanese Edo period – and long black hair.

Tradition says that person who died suddenly or violently, if the rites of life pass human to spiritual have not been performed correctly, or these are driven by feelings of hatred and revenge, the soul – reikon – turns into a yurei.

Hitaikakushi - the mysterious japanese white cloth

However, what is more interesting, is that some yuresis they have a kind of bandana, in the shape of a triangle, on the head. That cloth – also white – it’s called hitaikakushi.

Appearing during the heian period – Japan between the years from 794 and 1185, classic Japanese history – the books of the time show the Yurei wearing hitaikakushi. However, little is known about its meaning.

It is speculated that artists restructured the eboshi hat Pointed prop used by the Japanese in the Heian period, very popular at the time -. However, the practice of portraying ghosts with the triangular hat disappeared in the edo era.

With your reappearance in modern times, there was some more speculation about the presence of hitaikakushi in the yurei. The first: it is believed that ghosts have risen to the highest level, in terms of spirituality, received a crown. This crown, sometimes referred to as the crown of heaven, is called a tenkan.

Hitaikakushi - the mysterious japanese white cloth

The tenkan is placed on the head of the yurei to show their new state spiritual. The yurei ghosts are, traditionally, female characters who strive for revenge. Therefore, receive the tenkan, these spirits of women have achieved spiritual peace.

Hitaikakushi for protection

Another strand believes that hitaikakushi is a symbol whose function is to remove demons from their corpses. As the spirit has left the body, the bodies become an empty and soul.

The last theory – and complement to the one described above – believe that the bandana keeps the demons from enter the heads of empty bodies and prevent these diabolical beings resurrect the corpse. Therefore, the white cloth protects the body from the carnal transition and spiritual.

In fact, culture Japanese is rich in many aspects, having an immense mythology that is, still, mysterious. The meaning of the white triangular cloth on the heads of female ghosts have no convergent meaning. But we have to admit, in any case, it represents the rise of purity and decline of spirits evil.

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