Hidetake is the hero of a popular folktale involving Dosojin, the Shinto god of travellers. The tale is recorded on a famous emaki (scroll) entitled Fukutomi Zōshī, or The Story of Fukutomi. It is one of many folk stories that combine myth with humour.
Hidetake was an old man. One night he had a dream that Dosojin gave him a small bell. Unsure what the dream meant, he went to an interpreter who predicted that Hidetake would become rich, thanks to a voice that would come from within himself.
The voice turned out to be the sound of his own flatulence. Hidetake learned how to dance to these noises and soon became famous. Nobles gave him gold and other riches for his performances. Meanwhile, Hidetake’s neighbour Fukutomi became jealous of Hidetake’s wealth and success. But he hid his envy and managed to convince Hidetake to take him on as a student. Fukutomi poisoned Hidetake with morning-glory seeds, which gave Hidetake diarrhoea.
Hidetake’s next performance was a disaster, and his career ended with severe beatings.
The theme of jealous neighbours is repeated in several folktales and legends. Among the best known is “The Man Who Made Trees Bloom,” a folktale with Buddhist elements.
Japanese Mythology A-Z – Second Edition – Written by Jeremy Roberts – Copyright © 2010 by Jim DeFelice – Publisher : Chelsea House Publishers