Japanese youkai are not just natural creatures, but the majority of those species are extremely close to humans. From objects, animals and even ourselves.
2020 is the year of the Rat, so what are you still afraid to learn about the demon monster Tesso (Iron Mouse) – one of the famous Japanese species of youkai?
Tesso is the “starling Hamelin player” of the youkai world. Tesso stories date back to the Heian period in Japanese history, more specifically during the reign of Emperor Shirakawa, who ruled from 1073 to 1087.
As a giant mouse, Tesso has enough power to deal fatal damage with teeth and iron claws. However, it is fortunate that it is not a ferocious type of monster for oranges, when it only likes to gobble up books, bibliographies, Buddhist scriptures or paintings.
According to legend, Tesso in the past used to be a Buddhist monk named Raigo, who practiced at Mii Dera Temple, located in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture. At that time, he was ordered to pray for the birth of a son in exchange for the promise of an extension of the temple if the prayer were granted. But when the boy was born, the reward he expected was denied. Angered by his betrayal, because of political conflicts that upset his plans, Raigo went on a hunger strike and died.
Mii Dera Temple that Raigo used to practice.
He revived as a Tesso – a monstrous creature created by humans and rodents whose mouth was filled with iron teeth and formidable destructive power. Basically, he became a giant iron rat mouse about the size of an adult, but most frighteningly, Tesso possessed the ability to summon and control mice at will.
Raigo transformed into Tesso.
After that, Tesso led an army of mice (according to a record, the Tesso command of the mice at that time was up to 80,000) to sweep the library in Raigo’s rival temples, most notably Enryaku Temple in Kyoto. With her minions, Tesso devoured countless Buddha statues, Buddhist scriptures, and other important religious texts.
Tesso and the army of mice are gnawing on scrolls and bibliographies.
A number of records have confirmed that Tesso and the army of mice were eventually slipped into a pit and buried alive. Others say the calamity dissipates on its own, meaning Tesso has stopped and is hiding somewhere to this day.