Listen to Rokurokubi
What are Rokurokubi?
Starting in the Edo period, tales were written about people’s necks stretching when they were asleep. Classical Japanese literature describes tales of people witnessing and encountering floating heads during the night.
Rokurokubi (ろくろ首, 轆轤首) is a type of Japanese yōkai. In Japanese folklore, yōkai, are a class of supernatural entities or spirits. The word “yōkai” originates from the kanji words for “attractive; calamity” and “apparition; mystery; suspicious.
During the day they look almost completely like humans. Then at night, the Rokurokubi neck stretches whilst another, the Nukekubi, whose head detaches completely and flies around freely. The Rokurokubi appear in classical spiritual tales, known as kaidan. It has been suggested, that the idea of Rokurokubi may have been created for scaring people into staying in past midnight.
In the late Edo period there were illustrated novels, known as yomihon, one of which being Rekkoku Kaidan Kikigaki Zōshi (列国怪談聞書帖) by Jippensha Ikku. In it, Ikku suggests the elongated necks of Rokurokubi originate through the spiritual principle of karma.
Why the “Rokurokubi – EP”?
In 3 long nights in the studio, sincewestbrook and Xióng Bāshí (me) made the Rokurokubi – EP.
Through the sample sounds I had recorded from the four countries of Kyrgyzstan, France, Japan, and Brazil, sincewestbrook and I travelled from country to country.
Akin to the Rokurokubi, our necks became long as our heads began to wander to the locations of Terek-Suu, Paris, Kyoto, and Rio de Janeiro.