Sarayashiki was the Kabuki ghost play based mostly on an historic folktale a few servant named Okiku and her coldhearted grasp. When he tries to seduce her and he or she refuses him, the grasp pretends that one of his costly plates is lacking and accuses her of stealing it.

Okiku turns into frantic, counting and recounting the plates, trying all over the place to discover the lacking one. The grasp cunningly soothes the distraught servant and affords to neglect the entire thing if Okiku will simply turn out to be his lover. When she refuses, he turns into so enraged that he kills her by throwing her down a properly. After this, Okiku’s ghost rises nightly from the properly and wanders by means of the home in search of the misplaced plate, counting slowly from one to 9, however as she reaches “ten” she begins to scream and wail inconsolably. Someone lastly silences the ghost by calling out the ultimate quantity “ten,” which appears to soothe Okiku’s spirit.

The historical past of this folktale is an effective instance of how deeply such tales and superstitions about ghosts can play a unbroken function within the nation’s historical past, artwork, and day-to-day issues.
The folktale was made right into a well-known puppet play, Banshu Sarayashiki, first carried out in 1741 on the Toyotakeza Theater. This model is ready on the Himeji Castle. Okiku is engaged to Taketsune, an worker of the son and inheritor to the dying lord of the citadel. The inheritor plans to give a set of ten precious plates to the Shogun (who guidelines the dominion within the title of the emperor) so he will likely be allowed to take over the citadel.

Meanwhile, the lord’s chief retainer, Asayama Tetsuzan, is plotting towards the inheritor. He hires somebody to steal one of the plates and accuses Okiku of the theft. When she protests her innocence, Tetsuzan agrees not to arrest her if she helps him homicide the lord’s inheritor. She refuses. Tetsuzan tries to seduce her however she rejects him. He then opens the field of plates and forces Okiku to rely them. There are solely 9. He blames her for stealing the lacking one, bullies her, after which beats her. He ties her up and suspends her over the properly. When Okiku nonetheless refuses to assist him, he kills her together with his sword and dumps the physique down the properly. She rises up whereas he's cleansing his sword. He stares at her ominously because the curtain falls.

This in style puppet present influenced Japanese tradition in a number of methods. Many artists related to the theater painted their variations of Okiku’s haunted story in varied compilations of ghost tales and posters. The story even helped flip the true Himeji Castle into a well-liked vacationer attraction, the place guests come to see Okiku-Ido, or Okiku’s Well, which her ghost remains to be mentioned to hang-out.

In 1795, the story surfaced once more in response to a weird water Challenge in Japan: previous wells had been infested with worms that had segmented our bodies cov- ered with silk-like threads. When people drew water from these wells the worms got here up within the buckets. Someone linked the worms to the previous folktale of Okiku and shortly everybody was calling the worms Okiku mushi (Okiku bugs). Some people believed the worms had been a reincarnation of Okiku. An artist of that interval, Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), drew an illustration linking the folktale and the worm infestation collectively: his print exhibits an enormous segmented worm with the top of a feminine ghost rising out of an previous picket properly towards the midnight blue of the night time sky.

A extra romantic model of the story, Banchō Sarayashiki, was written in 1824 as a full-length Kabuki drama. (A shorter one-act model was additionally produced, however was not in style.) The fashionable, or Shin-kabuki, model by Okamoto Kido, produced in 1916, has a really totally different interpretation of the tradi- tional story: Okiku is a jealous lady engaged to a younger man who appears uncertain about marriage.

When Okiku discovers that he's contemplating marrying a wealthier lady, she intentionally breaks one of his household’s precious plates to take a look at his love. Leading him to consider the plate broke by mistake, Okiku succeeds in gaining her fiancé’s sympathy. But when a servant stories the reality, the fiancé kills Okiku and throws her physique down the properly.