story, science, technology and creativity

Creative writing activity: Spooky writing stimuli from Kwaidan

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The demons in Takeshita Demons originated in Japanese mythology and ghost stories from many years ago.

Many spooky Japanese stories appear in Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, a book published in 1903 by a Greek-born journalist named Lafcadio Hearn. A resident of Japan for nearly 15 years, Hearn translated the stories from old books or transcribed them after hearing the stories told.

The story starters below are taken from Kwaidan. A PDF of this creative writing activity is available.


What to do:

  • Read the story starters and see if you can guess what happens next.
  • Write your own end to the stories, or discuss your ideas in a group.

The story starters

1) Of a mirror and a bell

Eight centuries ago, the priests of Mugenyama wanted to make a big bronze bell for their temple. They did not have enough bronze to make the bell, so they asked people to donate their bronze mirrors to melt into bell-metal. One young woman donated her grandmother’s mirror to the temple, but she immediately regretted her actions. She remembered all the happy smiles her mirror had reflected, and longed for a chance to steal her mirror back… … …


Read the complete story.

2) Mujina

Late one night an old merchant was hurrying up the Kii-no-kuni-zaka hill, when he saw a woman crouching by the moat, all alone and weeping bitterly. Afraid that she might try to drown herself, he stopped to help. The woman was well dressed and her hair was arranged like that of a young girl.

“Young lady,” he said. “Do not cry. Please tell me what the trouble is and I will try to help.”

But she continued to cry, hiding her face from him with her long sleeves… … …


Read the complete story.

Author: cristyburne


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