Cristy Burne

Blending STEM, literacy and creativity to enthuse, engage and empower

You’ve heard of the headless horseman? How about the headless horse?


You’ve heard of the headless horseman, right? He’s a famous legend that grew from a character in a story published in America nearly 100 years ago.

But…have you heard of the headless horse?

The headless horse is the favourite method of transport for a Japanese ogre called Mr Yagyo, or Yagyo-san.

yagyousanIntroducing Yagyo-san

Mr Yagyo isn’t just a strange one-eyed creature who likes shorter-than-normal horses…

He’s also a ruthless killer with legs so hairy you could use them to grate cheese. He despises human beings and this hatred keeps a fire burning in his heart all year round.

Beware the spiky soybeanYagyo-san

On Yagyo Day – the day before Setsubun, the beginning of spring – Yagyo-san jumps on his horse and heads out to hunt some tasty humans.

If he sees you, he’ll throw a spiked soybean at you, aiming right for your eyes. (This is interesting because in Japan the next day is Setsubun, when the power of soybeans is reversed; you can protect your entire house from evil spirits like Yagyo-san by throwing soybeans on Setsubun.)

So, how can you survive?

Easy! Legends say that if you spend Yagyo Day lying face down on the ground with a pair of sandals on your head, Yagyo-san will pass you by. So don’t worry…You’re safe with sandals!

Author: cristyburne


3 thoughts on “You’ve heard of the headless horseman? How about the headless horse?

  1. Japan isn’t the only one with a monster like Yagyo-san! Brazil has the Headless *Mule*, “mula sem cabeça” in Portuguese.


    • A fire-spewing headless mule? Sounds awesome! Thanks vilajunkie!
      Any other horsey demons out there?

      The sagari (upside-down horsehead yokai) feature in Monster Matsuri and in the draft for book 4… I don’t know of any other Japanese horsey demons.

      Other cultures?


  2. Pingback: 5 Japanese demons you may know from books and movies – Cristy Burne « Christchurch Kids Blog

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