The Vampire Cat of Nabeshima


The story about the Vampire Cat of Nabeshima became a part of the tradition of the Nabeshima family (Hizen daimyo) and was passed down from generation to generation.  Considering that the Sengoku Era was dated 1568-1615, it is surprising that the tale managed to survive up to the new generation.

The story started with the Prince of Hizen that was cursed by Vampire Cat of Nabeshima owned by one of the retainers.  In the house of the Prince reside a lady named O Toyo who possess an unbelievable beauty, it was said that no other beauty in the land could match hers.  One day the Prince and O Toyo went into the garden to enjoy the scent of the flowers.  They failed to notice the time and they stayed there until sunset when suddenly they noticed a cat was following them.  O Toyo went to her room on that night and retired to sleep. 

O Toyo woke up on the wee hours of the night and noticed the presence of a huge cat in her room.  She tried to scream for help, but the devious cat attacked her on her throat that ends her life. The cat buried the body of O Toyo under the verandah and took her identity.

The Prince continued her relationship with his mistress not knowing that she is the evil Vampire Cat of Nabeshima that slain O Toyo.  She would engage in sexual activity with the prince and drain his energy.  Days passed by and the strength of the prince withered away.  The council sought the help of a doctor to help them reviving the strength of the Prince. They prescribed medicines to the Prince, but the more that he took those medicines the more he became ill.  The event was followed by succeeding nightmares.  Council then decided to assign guards in front of his room to make sure of his safety.  But during those nights the guard would feel an unexplainable drowsiness and would eventually fall to sleep.


O Toyo would then enter the room and torment the Prince for a number of nights.  There came a point when the three guards decided to protect the room at the same time, but the same thing happened again.  The Chief apparently said "This is a marvellous thing, that a guard of a hundred men should thus be overcome by sleep. Of a surety, the spell that is upon my lord and upon his guard must be the work of witchcraft. Now, as all our efforts are of no avail, let us seek out Ruiten, the chief priest of the temple called Miyô In, and beseech him to put up prayers for the recovery of my lord."

Other councilors were convinced that it is a work of an enigmatic entity and they sought the help of a priest to rejuvenate the Prince strength.  The priest was helped by one of the guards named Ito Soda.  The man pledged his loyalty and asked if he could at least guard the Prince for one night.  His request was granted but when the clock strikes 10 he also felt the same drowsiness experienced by the other guards.

As he was feeling sleepy, he thrust a knife into his thigh and the pain kept him awake.  He then noticed the door slide open and a beautiful woman walked inside.  She tried to bewitch the Prince but whenever Ito would glare at her, the creature would lose its concentration; eventually she decided to retire to her room.  Ito was successful in guarding the Prince for two nights; he then devised a plan to kill her.  He pretended to be delivering a message on the Prince when she struck her with a dagger on her back.  The creature felt that she was not matched with Ito and decided to shape shift into a cat and leave the place.  By the time that the Prince regained his full strength, he was already aware of what really happened to his concubine.  He arranged a massive hunt against the alleged creature to avenge his mistress.  The people managed to destroy the presence of the Vampire Cat of Nabeshima.


The tale was also published on July 14, 1929 on the Sunday Express.

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