Only in Japan- Japan’s child-scaring demon the Namahage named on UNESCO’s cultural heritage list
Misbehaving child? Toddler tantrum? Maybe you need to give the world’s latest cultural icon — the Namahage — a call. Key points Ten Japanese deities in masks and costumes make UNESCO’s cultural heritage list
The Namahage rituals intends to scare Japanese children into behaving Other Japanese cultural practices recognised include Kabuki and washi paper.
This terrifying demon-like deity has just made the United Nations’ Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Wearing ogre masks and wielding huge knives, Namahage go from house to house shouting “are there are any crying or badly behaving children?” Invariably, the answer is yes and often the tears start before they even get inside, because ominous drumbeats herald their arrival.
What about the parents? Do they protect their children? No: they welcome them graciously with a special meal and sake, as the ritual acts as a blessing and invites good fortune for the region.