Who needs Santa when there are Japanese demons to scare kids straight?
With Christmas and the New Year in the past, many young people tend to simply fall back to their old tendencies, making the excuse that they still have time to change. Adults claim that they need to have some discipline and receive the right “encouragement.” Well, the Japanese have a tradition involving demons that will help set things straight for the new year.
The 51st Namahage Sedo Festival was held over three days in February in Oga City, Akita Prefecture. The purpose of the festival is to welcome powerful deities, who in turn bring good luck to the new year.
Part of the traditional ritual involves the namahage, demon-like beings played by men wearing oversized ogre masks and traditional straw capes, carrying books of who is naughty and who is nice from each house gathered before the event. The namahage then reprimand children to behave better based off of the information given earlier. Here is a video from the 50th Namagake Sedo Festival. The little girl's reaction sums it up for all children.
Santa Claus was way less intimidating any way.