Megami Buchigire - Chapter 52 - Demons Out, Fortune In
Chapter 52: Demons Out, Fortune In
God of pestilence.
The origin is said to have been passed over from China, an existence born out of the people attributing diseases that they can’t see to spiritual or demonic causes.
The normal reaction towards these gods of pestilence would be to fear and abhor them, but unfortunately, this is Japan we are talking about.
We made a festival to pray to these gods “don’t spread pestilence around please☆”, then made another festival to pray “we’ll throw you a great, big feast, so please go right back☆”, and in the end came to enshrine them same as any other gods.
One of Japan’s 3 biggest festivals, Gion Festival, is actually in honor of a god of pestilence called Gozu Tennou.
At first glance, it might seem bizarre, but it is the Japanese way not to resist nature but to compromise and exist alongside nature, so the idea behind this festival is truly Japanese-like.
Incidentally, there is a certain shrine where a god of pestilence is enshrined where the sacred tree is mercilessly beaten up everyday by visitors in order to chase said god of pestilence away.
In a certain way this makes sense, but the part where Japanese people think the god of pestilence pitiable is perhaps another reflection of the Japanese nature.
“Greetings. I’m a god of poverty.”
It is one form of the gods of pestilence, a god of poverty, that has for some reason suddenly showed up at Takamagahara where the heavenly gods reside.
Even the normally gentle Amaterasu-sama reacts with the same swiftness and decisiveness as when Susanoo approaches with his pointlessly loud footsteps.
“…… Though it is said that gods of poverty do not have a specific determined form, the one this time sure is an orthodox one.”
Just as Tsukuyomi-sama says, the god of poverty who showed up is in the figure of an old man wearing nothing but tatters.
It is the image that the general populace imagines a god of poverty to look like. Yep, exactly like how Shigeru Mizuki-sensei draws it.
“Hmph. For us, appearance holds no significant meaning. Isn’t it the same for you all as well?”
“That’s, well, I can’t deny that. But still, why are you here?”
“Amaterasu-dono said ‘the god of colds is so pitiful’ so here I have come in his place to get whatever it is that you have to give.”
“Oh gosh look what you have done!”
The topic was the god of colds but for some reason it was a god of poverty who brazenly came.
Then we have Tsukuyomi-sama shouting at Amaterasu-sama upon hearing that she was the cause of the visit. It is probably because he is flustered that his word choice has become like that of a mom’s.
“Despite how lax we might be here at Takamagahara, we absolutely cannot have a god of pestilence settling in. Kindly make yourself scarce before Ane-ue gets serious about purifying you.”
“Eh? I’m to do it?”
Tsukuyomi-sama issuing a stern warning even while relying on someone else’s strength gets a tsukkomi from Amaterasu-sama.
But if Tsukuyomi-sama is to personally fight…… even someone with a severe case of chuunibyou wouldn’t be able to imagine what his fighting style would be.
“Fuhahahaha! Gods are not to be underestimated. It is impossible to physically chase me away. Rather, I multiply when erased!”
Amaterasu-sama is surprised at the god of poverty being like something from a pest elimination video.
More like, just by having a god of poverty in Takamagahara, it’s unimaginable for Takamagahara to become poor, but let’s not worry about the insignificant details.
“Please calm down, Ane-ue. Monsters like this that cannot be taken down with a frontal attack always surely has some weakness that can be taken advantage of.”
“Who are you calling a monster.”
“I, I see. It is in times like these that we should turn to the internet……”
Upon receiving Tsukuyomi-sama’s words, Amaterasu-sama begins searching the web for countermeasures against gods of poverty.
The chief goddess searching on the internet for a method to exterminate a god of poverty. There seem to be something fundamentally wrong with this scene, but let’s just say that it’s Japan and leave it at that.
“Soo…… ‘when you build a fire in the hearth, the heat will cause them to leave’.”
“We don’t have a hearth. How about let’s just apply the fire directly?”
“Right, pouring kerosene should help the fire to start easier.”
“Are you guys demons or devils?”
The god of poverty shudders at listening to the brother and sister nonchalantly make plans to burn him alive.
“Ah, since we’re at it……”
Then after staring at the god of poverty for a short while, Amaterasu-sama makes a ‘pon’ gesture with her hands as if she’s thought of a great idea.
“Here I was thinking that it’s been a while since you two called me over but then what is this treatment?!”
Several minutes later.
There he stands, with firewood in both hands and a face that seems to be lamenting the unreasonableness of the world, the human torch, Kagutsuchi-sama!
“Hyaa it’s so hot! I can’t stand it anymore!”
“Ohh, the god of poverty really ran away. As expected of Kagutsuchi ani-ue!”
“You really are reliable when we need you most, Kagutsuchi onii-san!”
“Only now you two call me your older brother?!”
The heat emanating from Kagutsuchi-sama in human campfire (self-immolating) form causes the god of poverty to run away in fear.
Seeing this causes Amaterasu-sama and Tsukuyomi-sama to make a guts pose and extol Kagutsuchi-sama, but Kagutsuchi-sama himself seems quite annoyed, as indicated by the fire growing larger.
“In the first place, who do you guys take me fo-…… who is this?”
Kagutsuchi-sama is about to let the fire go to his head and launch into a barrage of complaints when he is struck speechless at seeing a chubby ossan suddenly appearing right next to him.
“Ah, greetings. I’m a god of fortune.”
“Where did YOU come out from?!”
The one who appeared turns out to be a god of fortune. The wealth of his stomach is such that it seems to reflect the wealth that he brings.
“Ah, I forgot, but it’s said that after the god of poverty runs away, a god of fortune would come to the hearth to warm himself.”
“That sounds auspicious indeed.”
“Wait, are they multiplying?!”
Just as Kagutsuchi-sama says, more and more gods of fortune are appearing and surrounding him while saying things like “fuu this sure calms me down” and “recently it’s air cons everywhere, not a trace of tastefulness anywhere.”
It’s exactly like cats gathering around a kotatsu.
“Waaa, Kagutsuchi is so popular.”
“Sure he is. Well then, let’s go back and grab something warm to drink.”
“Ah, I want some sweet red-bean soup.”
“Wait! Would you two do something about this lukewarm hell?!”
The gods of fortune continue showing up, to the point where Kagutsuchi-sama has been completely surrounded and can no longer move.
Today, too, Takamagahara is at peace.
1 “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi (鬼は外、福は内)” is a line recited during a Japanese festival called Setsubun, which is on New Year’s Eve. The highlight of this day is a ritual called Mamemaki (豆撒き, “bean scattering”), where participants chuck beans at someone acting as a demon to represent the chasing away of last year’s evils so that the fortunes for the coming year can come in.
2 “With origins as a spirit causing disease, Gozu Tennou was in time transformed into a tutelary that protected its worshipers from such epidemics…” (Ency. of Shinto)
3 It’s called Binbougami Shrine and is located in Iida in Nagano Prefecture. The idea is that the god of pestilence = your own weak heart, so by punching and kicking the sacred tree, you are ridding yourself of your weak heart. Already closed, apparently.
4 Here y’all go:
5 A Japanese gesture where you gently pound a fist into the open palm of the other hand that indicates you thought of a good idea or you finally understood something. Here’s an example: