The Giants: Gashadokuro

July 5, 2023 By arne hendriks Off

To know the small we must also understand the tall. Although contemporary man is himself a giant, The Giants is not about the Robert Wadlows, the Shaquille O’Neals or the Trijntje Keevers of this world. They were real people, albeit very tall. However The Giants collects, researches and reflects upon the imaginary tall. Giants, much like dwarfs and other small characters, were always present in our myths, our legends, our fairy tales and other stories. What did and do they represent and does it inform our ideas on the contemporary human body? Today we present the Gashadokuro, the ghostly Japanese giants.

The first Gashadokuro appeared in the tenth century summoned by an angry sorceress after the betrayal and death of her samurai father. The Gashadokuro are spirits that take the form of giant skeletons made of the skulls of people who died in the battlefield. Often left to decay without proper rites their anger ferments and turns into a grudge against the living. They’re believed to be 10 or more meters tall. Only the eyes protrude, and are described as burning yellow or green. Gashadokuro for some reason like to wander around at 2:00 a.m. and attack and eat humans. Shinto amulets are said to ward them off. Otherwise, a Gashadokuro will continue hunting its prey until its pent up anger is released, causing the bones to crumple and the Gashadokuro to collapse. Living death, collective anger, frivolous cannibalism, and black magic; we’re off to a good start.