Truth Behind The“Howling Village”
The actual history behind Inunaki Pass [犬鳴峠] in Miyawaka City [宮若市] of Fukuoka Prefecture and the possible origin of its infamous urban legends.
Aside from Slit-mouthed “Kuchisake-onna [口裂け女]” Woman Legend, the most popular Japanese urban legend told even to this day is about a nefarious village known as Inunaki Village [犬鳴村] deep within Mt. Inunaki [犬鳴山]. The legend of this village encompasses around a forgotten community which is isolated from the rest with residents who’re hostile towards outsiders due to sever class discrimination that the villagers faced during the Edo Period as they ruthlessly attack anyone going near their village especially via Old Inunaki Tunnel [旧犬鳴トンネル]. Including rumors of couples getting murdєrєd in the past and dєαd bodies disposed at the tunnel entrance to scare off trespassers. However, based on historical records of Mt. Inunaki’s chorography written during Edo Period such as “Chikuzenno-kunizuko-fudoki” [筑前国続風土記] (1709) by Ekien Kaibara [貝原 益軒] (1603 – 1714) and “Inunakiyama-kojitsu” [犬鳴山古実] (n/a), doesn’t confirm any of the description from the urban legend; let alone the existence of such village called Inunaki Village.
According to those two chorographies, instead of Inunaki Village, there was a village known as Inunakidani Village [犬鳴谷村] within the Inunaki Pass which was established by a dispatch group of the past Fukuoka Clan [福岡藩] during the Edo Period. In the early 1700′s, Inunakidani Village strive from producing ceramic products and steel manufacturing as the main sources of income as well as an important religious site for Japanese Zen Buddhists. Later, a commander from the Fukuoka Clan named Shishou Katou [加藤 司書] (1830 – 1865) also established a mining site in 1854 called Inunaki-nichigen-kouzan [犬鳴日原鉄山] and an inn called Inunaki-gobekkan [犬鳴御別館] in 1865; both in Inunakidani Village. With these historical accounts, even if Inunaki Village was/is referring to the old Inunakidani Village, the villagers were not ostracized due to class discrimination nor isolated from the rest of the society as the village clearly had visitors and exported locally manufactured produces.
Today, the village itself was flooded due to the construction of Inunaki Water Dam [犬鳴ダム] in 1970 and gone. So where did all the terrifying rumor of murdєrs and deaтн in the Old Inunaki Tunnel originated from? According to the news report via Mainichi-shinbun [毎日新聞] (1991), in 1988, a local teenage/young adult gang group from Fukuchi Town [福智町] in Tagawa District [田川郡] (Fukuoka Prefecture) were trialed and persecuted for kidnapping a factory worker then murdєríng him in the Old Inunaki Tunnel by burning him alive. Furthermore, due to the remote nature of its location, there has been countless cases of body disposal around the tunnel and pass in 2000. Thus, the urban legend describes how both Old Inunaki Tunnel and Inunaki Pass is a dєαdly place and give explanations for why the tunnel entrance is sealed; even though in reality, it’s only done in order to prevent further incidents/accidents.
Still, I’m really excited to watch “Howling Village” next year on screen and I highly recommend it to all of you!