Sometimes ghosts are missing body parts. Headless specters abound (looking at you Nearly-Headless Nick). There are even ghosts with several arms or legs. Yet in Japan, we have a ghost who is only a foot. A giant ghostly foot that desires you to clean it — the Ashiarai Yashiki.
Nocturnal Foot Washing
The Ashiarai Yashiki appeared suddenly in front of the door of a house. The occupants heard a booming voice shout out:
“WAAAASH MY FOOOOT!”
The ceiling splintered as a gigantic foot smashed though. This massive foot was covered in bristly thick hair and terribly filthy.
If the people refused to wash the foot, the yokai would stomp around, causing earthquakes and other natural disasters until its demands were met.
A Deceased Merchant
According to some variations of the legend, the Ashiarai Yashiki is actually the spirit of a wealthy merchant who was so obsessed with cleanliness, he would force his servants to wash his feet every night. When he died, his spirit was unable to rest and took on the form of the giant foot, continuing to demand that people wash it.
Maybe You’re Guilty of Something
The Ashiarai Yashiki could also be a play on words. In ancient times, “to wash one’s feet” meant to be cleared of crimes and allegations. This would suggest that a visitation by the Ashiarai Yashiki meant the occupant was guilty of some crime. The yokai came to punish the criminal for their misdeeds.