Namazu – A to Z Blogging Challenge

Namazu, from the Tokugawa period.

Hidden, deep, deep in the slime and mud beneath the world, the namazu awakens, trembling.

Down, beneath the world, Kashima the thunder-god, dozes atop his mount. The catfish is stirring.

Aristocratic and noble, the giant catfish awakens. Kashima’s stone has slipped from his neck.

The namazu awakens.


In an eruption of mud and rock he breaks free, his giant tail trashing against the stone pillars holding up the roof of his great hall.

He took the blame, and begged forgiveness, begged forgiveness at the tip of his master’s sword.

Forgiveness was granted, in exchange for an act of contrition.

A warning.

In case of future misdemeanours.

Look, I know, I know – another Japanese monster for my series on Under-represented Monsters (written for the A to Z Blogging Challenge.) I grew up in Japan, and am currently on holiday in Tokyo, visiting my parents.  I not only think that Japanese monsters are awesome (just wait until the letters ‘S’ and ‘T’!) but I also think that in the West not many people know about them. AND there was just a rockin’ little earthquake here the other day, which prompted me to tell my little girls the story of Namazu, the giant catfish, cause of earthquakes. Kashima is the Japanese Thor, although he wields a capstone and a sword rather than Mjölner. And for some reason he’s responsible for the catfish. The last two lines are a little reference to the early warning systems employed by the Japan Meteorological Agency, which feature images of the namazu. And I kind of scored on the BeKindReWrite prompt Fishtail. Kind of.

Tell me what you think, I wrote this surrounded by noisy children and am feeling a bit distracted…hopefully the story worked…


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17 thoughts on “Namazu – A to Z Blogging Challenge

  1. Man, don’t apologise for focusing on Japanese monsters – this is the bit I like most. Another cool post!

  2. Great post. I’m going to have to come back and read up on all the under represented monsters of the world. Love the theme.

  3. Japanese monsters are awesome. Keep it up. =)

  4. dulzimordash says:

    Reblogged this on Nature’s Abhorred Vacuum.

  5. Stephanie says:

    Cool. I like the way you encompass a sort of chaos so great it is indescribable in the single word “violence.”
    I didn’t know you grew up in Japan! What brought you/your parents there?

  6. Carrie says:

    I wonder if the namazu could take on my rafael catfish…he’s pretty mean 😉

    Love the poem

  7. […] Namazu – A to Z Blogging Challenge […]

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