The Legend of the Kosodate Yūrei

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late every night a woman clutching a child would come to a certain amazake dealer to buy the sweet sake from him, which she would then give to her child to drink. The sake dealer, sensing something mysterious about this woman, followed her from his stall one night and watched her as she made her way towards the main hall of the temple, where she disappeared like a blown-out candle. When she vanished, the sake dealer could hear the cry of a baby coming from somewhere in the cemetery. Tracking the sound to a freshly-dug grave, the sake dealer enlisted the help of some others to dig up the grave, and when opening the coffin discovered a crying baby nestled in the arms of its mother’s corpse.


Recently I was invited to participate in a Halloween gallery group show, which I got very exited about. After pondering what subject to choose and searching for creepy legends, I got inspired by a tale of the Kosodate Yūrei, the child raising ghost.
Here’s the initial sketch/drawing of my “modern-ish” take on the ghost mother (her dress, buys candy instead of sake), which will be the basis for an oil painting.  

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Author: Rudy Faber

This post has 1 Comment

  1. Kim on October 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm Reply

    I remember this story from childhood – not sure that the feeling of unease I got from that reading has ever left me. When I became a mother, this tale returned to me in the form of a dream and I have associated it more with motherhood and personal sacrifice than with death ever since. Poor gal – will she never be able to rest?! I love the halloween spin you have put on the tale with the candy. I always knew this tale as an English folk legend and did not realize it was of Japanese origin. Beautiful depiction so far. Thank you.

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