Mekurabe (目競)

This month’s yokai is by far the most amusing to me and one of my favorites out there!

Have you ever had a staring contest? I will be the first person to admit that I am complete pants at them…..either my contacts get dry or I develop the most obnoxious eye twitch that absolutely demands I blink. Should I ever meet a Mekurabe, I’d be doomed for sure.

Mekurabe 2
Mekurabe (目競) drawn by Matthew Meyer

So what is a Mekurabe?  Simply put, a Mekurabe is a mound of skulls that stare at you.  Pretty creepy, right?  If you win the staring contest then the skulls just disappear.  If you lose, well, there’s not a whole lot that’s known about what happens.  Seems suitably ominous for a Japanese spirit I think.

Legend has it that Kiyomori, the head of the Taira clan, had recently conquered Japan when he stepped out into his garden one morning.  He was extremely taken aback to see a small horde of skulls glaring at him. He unsuccessfully called for his guards to no avail and watched as the skulls formed one massive clump.  So naturally, Kiyomori did what any sane person would do in the situation; he glared back at them.  This proved to be a good strategy as the skulls eventually melted away never to be seen by him again.

As entertaining as I feel it would be to have a mountain of skulls glaring at me, I’m afraid I’d end up finding out exactly what happens when you lose that staring contest.  What about you guys? How would you measure up to a Mekurabe?

~ Jordan

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