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Monday, January 19, 2015

Samebito - Japanese Mythological Creature

Ever heard of a Samebito? It's supposed to be a Japanese shark-man... who could cry jewels.

Jewels? I wish one was here right now - I'd make it cry for hours if it heard my life story... or if it heard how this blog is now barely getting 1,000 hits a day... down about a thousand. Melancholy sigh. Only a thousand people love me.

It's like the more people find out about my blog, the fewer readers I get. Yeesh. I guess my writing sucks. Oh well... par for the course.

Sorry... my tears are obliterating my keyboard.

From the mists of Japanese mythology - that's right, the Samebito does not really exist - the Samebito (pronounced 'sah-may-bee-toe') has a black body, a stringy beard and glowing green eyes... and despite having those sexy eyes, it was supposed to be a horrible and scary-looking monster.

Always reading, I only heard about this creature in a Grade 4 library book my son brought home on Sharks.

Anyhow... it's all from a fairy tale called:

The Gratitude of Samebito
A long time ago, in a distant province in Japan, there lived a young man named Tawaraya Totaro.

Totaro worked hard everyday and lived in nice home in relative comfort. While he had many friends, he longed for a wife and family of his own.

One day while Totaro was walking across a bridge from town, he noticed there was something crouching in the shadows. A monster peered back at Totaro from under the bridge. Totaro was about to flee, when he realized how pitifully the monster gazed at him. Totaro summed up his courage and asked the creature what it was doing there.

The monster was a Samebito, a shark-man, that had once lived in the great dragon palace under the sea. The Samebito had accidentally offended his lord, and was banished to the land above.

Totaro took pity on the poor creature, and allowed Samebito to stay in the fish pond outside his home.

Half a year went by, and Totaro went to a local festival. Amongst the crowd of festival goers; Totaro found the woman he wanted to marry.

Her named was Tamana. She was kind, beautiful, and had a voice like a nightingale. She was still unmarried, as her family demanded from any suitor a betrothal gift of ten-thousand jewels. No one had been able to meet these demands.

Totaro had no way to procure such an outlandish betrothal gift, so the lovesick man fell into despair over his situation and became very ill. Samebito stayed by his friend’s side and attempted to help anyway he could.

Alas, Totaro became so weak he was soon at death’s door.

Totaro knew this was the end, but his thoughts were on the safety of his friend. Softly Totaro said, "I am not afraid of what is to happen to me. My only concern is for you. If I pass, you will have no where to live and no one to give you food. How I wish things could have ended differently for us."

Totaro’s concern touched the sharkman’s heart. Samebito began to sob uncontrollably. Blood red tears formed in his eyes, and upon hitting the ground the tears turned into rubies. For when creatures of the sea weep, their tears turn to precious gems.

Samebito - image by AnnT33k. Nice.
Samebito cried until piles of rubies surrounded him. Meanwhile, Totaro sat staring wide-eyed at his friend. Amazed by the miracle, Totaro jumped out of bed and hugged his friend.

"I am cured, I am cured!" Totaro cried with glee.

Totaro explained the circumstances of his illness, and how Samebito held the cure. If only Samebito could cry ten-thousand tears, Totaro would never fear falling under love-sickness again.

Unfortunately, Totaro was feeling better now and Samebito felt no need to cry. Before Totaro could fall into despair, Samebito came up with a plan to help his friend get enough jewels for the betrothal gift.

The next day, the pair sat on the bridge where they first met. The bridge over looked the ocean and combined with the radiant colors of sunset, it was a beautiful sight. But to Samebito it was painful to behold, and he spoke of how homesick he was with his friend. These deep thoughts caused Samebito to cry. With the aid of some sake’, Totaro soon had gathered enough rubies for his betrothal gift.

When it was all done, the two leaped and shouted in joy; Totaro happy to be able to wed Tamana and Samebito just happy for his friend.

At the same moment, a distant music could be heard coming from the sea.

Samebito sprang up in glee. He explained to Totaro, that the sound was from the King of the Ocean. It was a declaration that Samebito was forgiven because of his kind act, and he could now return to the Palace under the waves.

Samebito bid his friend farewell. He dived into the river and was never seen again.

Totaro and Samebito had gained much from their friendship, parting better off than they had been before. Samebito returned home, and Totaro blissfully wed.

And there you have it, the story of Samebito - a nice Japanese mythological story for a change.

The drawing within the story is by AnnT33k. Her website can be found at

Needless to say, but there are very few images of a Samebito... and fewer still drawn with it looking more SHARK-like, as opposed to dragon-like. Fewer still of the creature crying. Well done AnnT33k for capturing the very essence of the story.

I have NO idea who drew the image at the very top - but it does show the initial meeting of Samebito and Totaro, though in this instance ON the bridge, rather than seeing Samebito UNDER it. Artists... just follow the story.

Andrew Joseph

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