KOYA HIJIRI


KOYA HIJIRI
   “Koya hijiri” (1900; tr. The Koya Priest, 1959–60) is Izumi Kyoka’s most famous story, combining strong Romanticist elements of Tokugawa period fiction with colloquial folklore. The gothic narrative features an itinerant young priest who takes a wrong turn at a crossroads on his journey over the mountains in the Japan Alps. As evening settles in, he finds himself seeking shelter at an isolated home that proves to be inhabited by a mysterious woman who appears to be able to talk with animals. The priest, though tempted by her beauty, does not yield and endures a raucous, haunted night. On his arrival back in civilization, he determines to abandon the priesthood and return to live with her, but then learns that she is a sorceress who turns humans into animals after they succumb to her charms.
   See also WOMEN IN LITERATURE.

Historical dictionary of modern Japanese literature and theater. . 2009.

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