Japan's Killing Stone
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
February 1, 2024 ·  3 min read

Japan’s “Killing Stone”, Said To Contain A Chaotic Demon for 1,000 Years, Splits In Half

I think we can all agree that 2024 has not been off to the best of starts. An event in Japan may have just signaled that we’re in for a whole lot more. An ancient stone said to harbor an evil demon inside of it, known as “the killing stone”, has recently split in half. Many in Japan are now fearing that the terrible spirit has been released into the world.

Japan’s Killing Stone Split In Half

There is a famous volcanic rock in Japan that is said to kill anyone who comes in contact with it. This rock is called the Sessho-seki, or the killing stone. The legend says the rock has been home to the spirit of an evil nine-tailed fox who attempted to assassinate the emperor in the 11th century. (1)

The legend says that there was an evil warlord who wanted to kill Emperor Toba, who was emperor from 1107 to 1123. The nine-tailed fox, or the kitsune, was an evil spirit who possessed that of a beautiful woman named Tamamo-no-Mae. The spirit then used her in his plot to kill the Emperor.

Two mythical warriors then hunted down the spirit. To escape the warriors, the kitsune embedded its spirit into the volcanic rock. That rock released a poisonous gas said to kill anyone that touches it.

In 1957 Japan registered it as a national historic site. A Buddhist priest came and performed rituals on the rock to make the spirit finally rest. Some say that the monk destroyed the stone and scattered its parts across Japan. Most, however, believe that the rock, which is now in two, is the one resting on the side of Mount Nasu. The rock is located in the Tochigi prefecture, near Tokyo. This area is famous for its sulfurous hot springs. 

Read: A golden chamber buried under a mountain in Japan contains water so pure it can dissolve metal.

Japan's Killing Stone, fully intact. January 6th, 2020
Japan’s Killing Stone, fully intact. January 6th, 2020.

Split In Two

Recently, that very stone split in two. Japanese social media users took to Twitter on Monday to express their concern over the rock. Many said that this signifies that Tamamo-no-Mae had been resurrected. Others, however, gave a more scientific explanation for it. One person if posted on Twitter that they felt that they were seeing something that they shouldn’t be seeing.

Local media reports said that cracks had appeared in the rock several years ago. This allowed rainwater to enter inside of the stone. The water that seeped in then weakened the structural integrity of the rock. This then eroded the rock from the inside out, eventually causing it to split in half.

Japan's Killing Stone, split in two
Japan’s Killing Stone, split in two. Image Credit: Lillian | Twitter

“I came alone to Sesshoseki, where the legend of the nine-tailed fox remains,” they wrote on Twitter. “The big rock in the middle wrapped around with a rope is that …It was supposed to be, but the rock was split in half and the rope was also detached. If it’s a manga, it’s a pattern that the seal is broken and it’s possessed by the nine-tailed fox, and I feel like I’ve seen something that shouldn’t be seen.” (2)

The stone has served as the inspiration for a play, a book, and an anime movie. Now, both local and national government officials have to meet to decide what will be done next with the killing stone. 

What Will Be Done With The Stone

The leader of one local volunteer guide group found it quite sad that the stone had split. They said that it was and has been a distinct symbol of the area for over one thousand years. This person did agree, however, that it appeared nature had simply taken its course. They seemed to think it was unlikely that an evil spirit had awakened and broken free from the stone.

One Nasu tourism official said that he hoped they would attempt to restore the stone to its original, whole form. Naturally, everyone hopes that the demon that supposedly sits within the stone will stay in there, as well.

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  1. Japan’s ‘killing stone’ splits in two, releasing superstitions amid the sulphur springs.” The Guardian. Justine Mc Curry. March 7, 2022.
  2. Twitter