Japanese entry 4: Jorogumo

“How do I last? Bound to danger you say? Fufufu, oh my, what an interesting question. Well you see, one tends to last long when they ARE the danger and are the ones doing the binding!” In Japan, spiders are known to posess amazing supernatural abilities, with the jorogumo ( 絡新婦) or “whore spider” , being the most famous arachnid yokai. The legend goes that once a golden orb-weaver spider reaches the age of 400 years, they gain the ability to shapeshift and begins feeding on humans. Jorogumo are cunning, skillful deceivers who lure men looking for affection to the dens. They trap men in their impossibly strong webs and slowly poison them to weaken them. This process could last days at a time, letting the jorogumo enjoy her victims suffering slowly. Jorogumon are also known to control smaller fire breathing spiders as their minions. If she suspects someone might be on to her secret, she can stick a nearly invisible thread on to a victim as a means to have her minions follow them and burn down their house with the victim in it. Skillful they are at their craft that they are able accumulate hundreds of kills, even in human settlements. A jorogumo living in a bustling city could be at it for years and never be noticed. This concept of a killer spider in a bustling city really interested me, and I loved the idea of one taking up residence at the famous Yoshiwara red-light district of Edo. I also really enjoyed the idea of making her a courtesan, as the description is in her name “whore spider”.  How could a courtesan famous for her beauty and allure be racking kills over the span of years with no suspicion? It could explain as to why she is outliving all of her fellow Oiran in the other brothels. We simply do not know.