Monday, January 28, 2013

The Picture of Evil

If you want to lay your eyes on the picture of pure evil, just visit my mother-in-law. That lady will show it you for sure. She has it stowed away in one of her jam-packed closets. It's a seventeenth, or maybe eighteenth, century calligraphy scroll depicting the Japanese kanji character for "evil." There used to be a second scroll, depicting the character for good, but it burned to a crisp in a terrible raging inferno over a century ago. Meant to hang beside each other in perfect balance, the works of art came with a stern warning. The caretakers of the scrolls were never to display one without the other, especially "evil," lest something awful befall those who gazed upon it. 

Now all my mother-in-law is left with is "evil," so she keeps it hidden away in a dark dank closet where nobody can find it unless they know exactly where to look. I've never seen it unfurled but I know exactly where it lies. It's buried under a huge pile of other useless crap and fortunately for me and everybody else my mother-in-law never displays it. 

4 comments:

  1. OMG, that sounds terrifying to be honest >_<

    By the way, I have my own blog which focuses on Asian culture and entertainment such as video games and I wonder if it is possible for you to view it and tell me what you think and how to improve my blog in the “About the Writer” page please: http://nynyonlinex.wordpress.com

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    1. Yes, visiting my mother-in-law is always a little terrifying for me. I also wish she would just get rid of that scroll. I think the family hangs on to it because they mistakenly believe it has or will one day have some sort of historical or monetary value.
      My sister-in-law airs it out once a year and invites me to gaze upon it but I'm just too scared to.

      And what are you kidding? I looked at your blog and I think it's great! I have a thing or two to learn from you! But I did leave a little comment anyway and will visit again to see some views on Japan and things Japanese from the UK - what I've seen so far was definitely good.

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  2. When I first started to read this post, I thought you were going to say your mother-in-law herself was evil, but was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case ;)

    The scroll sounds really creepy. I wonder what the full story is behind it, like where it was kept before, how your mother-in-law acquired it, and so on. It makes me feel strange just thinking about it.

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    1. Yeah, it is kind of creepy. My father-in-law's family, who were at one time well-to-do merchants, originally owned the scroll. When the family homestead in western Japan went up in flames, they pulled up stakes and moved east to Yokohama, bringing the surviving scroll and other possessions with them. It's been sitting in that closet ever since. I don't know if there is any connection but after the fire and move east they did lose the family fortune and there was also the pond incident (http://johntaro.blogspot.jp/2013/02/fish-out-of-water.html)... Someday I hope to summon the courage to find out the full story behind it but for now that's all I care to know.

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