Gensuke was a victim to the practise of Hitobashira in 1608.
This event occured at the Matsue Ohashi Bridge. Attempts were being made to construct a bridge over the Ohashi river here, however, the pillars kept being washed away. A sacrifice was chosen (this being the next soul to walk passed the construction site) and so this man was taken and sacrificed. After this the construction went ahead with no more problems.
“Upon moonless nights… a ghostly fire flits about [Gensuke’s] pillar – always in the dead watch hour between two and three; and the colour of the light was red, though I am assured Japan, as in other lands, the fires of the dead are most often blue.”
Every year a festival is held for Gensuke called the Gensuke Matsuri which occours in late October which starts in Gensuke Park at the foot of the bridge. The festival involves a 30 minute Buddhist purification ritual before the festivities begin.1
1. Yoda, H & Alt, M. (2012) “Yurei Attack: The Japanese Ghost Survival Guide” Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing.
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