Yosuzume (夜雀 "night sparrow" ) is a legend of a spectre of a bird that is passed down in various areas:

in Kōchi Prefecture in Tanokuchi Village (currently Kuroshio Town) and Toyama Village (currently Nakamura Town) of Hata District; in Kitagawa Village of Aki District; in Minamiuwa District of Ehime Prefecture; in Hongu Village (currently Tanabe Town) of Higashimuro District of Wakayama Prefecture.

Summary of Yosuzume

Yosuzume is a spectre in the form of a sparrow that emits a "Who, who, who" verse. It is said to appear at night to people walking on mountain paths.

As for Tanokuchi village, being possessed by a Yosuzume is considered an ill omen.

In Toyama village, it is said that one must recite a magic formula to remove the evil eye. In addition, it is said that one will get sick with hemeralopia if one recklessly catches a Yosuzume.

In the village of Kitagawa in the Aki District, it is not considered a bird, but resembles a black butterfly, which while making "Chaa, chaa", enters the chest of the victim and prevents him from walking.

However, if it calms down, it is said to end up disappearing into nature. In Ehime Prefecture it is also equally regarded as a kind of moth, said to herald the appearance of a wild dog that, swooping down from the sky, no longer allows one to walk along the road.

In Hongu Village of Wakayama Prefecture, it is said to be something that stubbornly follows you everywhere while emitting a wail of "Chichichi..." without being able to see its figure in the dark mountain path.

Also in Wakayama Prefecture, unlike the legend of Kōchi Prefecture, it is not a considered an ill omen, in fact during the time when you are possessed by Yosuzume it is said that a wolf can protect travelers from the devil creature.

Similar story of Yosuzume

As a story of a specter resembling Yosuzume, the legend of Okurisuzume (送り雀 "flight sparrow") is passed down in Nara Prefecture and Wakayama Prefecture.

On the other hand, in Higashitsuno village (currently Tsuno town) and Tsunoyama village, both of Takaoka District of Kōchi Prefecture, Kubokawa village (currently Shimanto) of the same district and Jouhen village (currently Ainan) of Minamiuwa District of Ehime Prefecture, that of Tamotosuzume (袂雀 "sparrow of the sleeve") is handed down.

Tamotosuzume of Tsunoyama village, much like the sparrow, chirps "Who, who, who" and is said to follow people on all sides, but even if more than two walk, it is not known why often among those only one hears it.

Similarly is the foretelling of the appearance of a wild dog or a wolf, when these appear if you recite a magic formula and, you raise three branches of a tree, Tamotosuzume will not follow you and it is said that the wild dog or the wolf will not appear either.

Instead of the Tamotosuzume of Kubokawa village, no silhouette can be seen, but a crystal clear "Chiri chiri" sound comes from behind the passersby.

In addition, if this enters the sleeve of passersby, it is considered an ill omen. When crossing the place where this appears, or if you are crossing in broad daylight, it is best to be careful about passing more than one person.

This when it does not happen it is advisable to walk tightly clutching the sleeve. Also in Higashituno in order not to be possessed by a Tamotosuzume, it is said that one should walk while tightening the sleeve.

As for Jouhen of Ehime Prefecture, it is said that the verse of a Tamotosuzume can prevent one from continuing to walk.

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