Thursday, July 7, 2016

Okinawan Folktake: Iejima Handu-gwa

Iejima, island, sunset, ocean, mountain

To the West of Okinawa Island



During the 18th Century, a prince from Iejima arrived in Hentona Village, Okinawa.

He met a beautiful girl with long black hair and, they fell in love.

One day, he informed her that, he had to travel north, to Japan, on official business.

He promised, he would return, to the love of his life, Handu-gwa but, never did.

After a long wait, she became anxious and decided to travel by boat, to Iejima.

She spoke with the captain about, going to find out what happened to her prince.

Captain Tamaki, warned her, not to visit the residence of the royal family.

She ignored his advice and, went anyway.

She would discover, her charming prince, had a wife and a child.

In despair, Handu-gwa climbed the only hill on the island, where she committed suicide.

She hung herself from a tree, using her long hair to strangle herself.

ghost, Handu-gwa,stillborn, baby, child, house
Sketch by Atsushi Maezato

Her Spirit Would Return


  The lord of Iejima and prince would soon die early deaths, from undetermined causes.

The royal family lost their fame and fortunes.

The Tamaki family became successful, wealthy and lived long, happy lives.

At times, the ghost of Handu-gwa, would appear outside the homes of the prince's descendants.

When she showed, on the occasion of childbirth, the babies would be stillborn.

There would be black marks of strangulation on the child's neck.

See the statue of Handu-gwa on Ie-jima


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