January 11, 2010

Blame it on the woman!

The bad girl in Yashakiden is a four-thousand year old vampire from China. "Princess" was the favorite concubine of Emperor Zhou (the "Chinese Caligula"), the last, doomed ruler of the Shang (or Yin) Dynasty. Her wanton ways led to the destruction of dynasty.

Kikuchi based this depraved lust-bunny on an historical character named Daji. The Wikipedia entry covers the material cited in the book. The Wikipedia writers (Japanese and English) and Kikuchi were clearly working from similar source material (the novel predates Wikipedia).

Pretty disgusting stuff. Curiously (or not), the fall of the Hsia (Xia), Shang and Zhou dynasties, covering a period spanning over 1500 years, are all blamed on amorous she-devils (Moxi, Daji and Baosi) seducing the emperor, who was supposedly a stand-up guy until she showed up!

Kikuchi makes them all the same person, and weaves into the mix an Indian crown prince and the story of Tamamo no Mae and the nine-tailed fox. (In Japanese folklore, the fox is usually a wily trickster, a slick Dean Martin often paired with a Jerry Lewis tanuki for comic relief.)

And speaking of blaming the woman, the best Sunday school lesson ever.

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