Japanese Gothic Tales

By Izumi Kyōka; Charles Shirō Inouye | Go to book overview
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Osen and Sōkichi

(Baishoku kamonanban, 1920)

I'm embarrassed to say that the first thing that caught his eye was the scarlet of her crepe undergarment, bright as flame and dappled with cinnabar. Her skirts weren't folded back but hiked up high and held between her knees, allowing the crepe slip to flow softly down, hugging her white ankles, which were apparently being spared the kimono's unpleasant wetness. On her bare feet, so white they brightened the crimson around them, the woman wore thick, lacquered clogs, fastened with wisteria-colored thongs and splashed with mud. With one thigh twisted inward and feet slightly pigeon-toed, she sat in a corner of the waiting room as the rain continued to fall.

It was late in the afternoon, already past five, but the sky of that spring day was still bright above the platform at Mansei Bridge Station. Willows faintly glowing, cherry trees in bud, yesterday, today ... just as Tokyo turned so intently toward the height of spring, coming alive with greens and crimsons and pale mists of lavender, the city was suddenly engulfed in a rain too heavy for the season. The land, the people, even the boats on Kanda River were darkened and drenched with the downpour. It wasn't the crimson plum nor the scarlet peach but the flowering quince that suddenly bloomed, as if dripping with blood, startling those who saw it.


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Japanese Gothic Tales


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