Kiyohime

Kiyohime In Japanese legend, a woman who destroyed the monk Anchin when he refused her sexual advances. Kiyohime was the daughter of an innkeeper at Masago at whose house Anchin, of the monastery of Dojoji, used to stay when on pilgrimage to Kumano. The monk petted the child, giving her a rosary and some charms, never thinking that her childish affection would one day develop into fiery love. However, the young girl’s immodest advances soon became the bane of Anchin’s life. As a result, her love turned to hatred, and Kiyohime called on the gods of the underworld to aid her in the destruction of Anchin. Once Kiyohime pursued Anchin into the temple, and he fled and hid in the great bell, which was ten feet high and weighed so much that 100 men could not move it. Approaching the bell, Kiyohime lashed herself into a frenzy. As she nearly touched it, the superstructure of the bell suddenly gave way, and the bell fell with a dull sound over the monk, imprisoning him. At the same moment the figure of Kiyohime began to change. Her body became covered with scales, and her legs joined and grew into a dragon’s tail. She wrapped herself around the bell, striking it with a T-shaped stick, and emitted flames from all parts of her body. Her blows rained on the bell until it became red hot and finally melted. Kiyohime fell into the molten mass, and only a handful of white ash could be found, the remains of the monk. The legend is used in a No play.

Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow – Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

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