The Japanese author Miyazawa Kenji is one of the most famous authors in all of Japan and has created a lot of stories. He is so popular that you could say that at least one of his books will be in the recommended section of any elementary school library. You may wonder if any of his stories are scary? Well, there is one that all Japanese people know, "The Restaurant of Many Orders", which we would like to introduce to you in this article.
The Start of this Literary Work was Something Similar to Folklore
2 young gentlemen took their hounds out into the mountains to hunt. However, as the evening came they were unable to catch a single thing, after being separated from their guide, their hounds collapsed. Once they did, suddenly an amazing restaurant appeared before their eyes called "Yamanekotei".
On the sign was written "Both fat and young very welcome!". Seeing this, the pair thought "We are both young and fat so surely they will welcome us with open arms", and entered the restaurant. However, no matter how much they walked through the building it would just get wider and wider, they couldn't seem to reach the dining room.
An Interesting Development - The Orders Keep Increasing
As they continued to walk suddenly there were lots of orders such as "Brush your hair and make sure to wash out any dirt", "Please leave your guns", and "Please take off your coat, hat, and shoes". The pair understood this as "There must be some quite amazing people that come here" and followed the orders.
However, the order that came next was quite a strange one, "There is cream made from milk inside of this pot, please rub it on your body".
And finally another strange order "We apologize for all of the detailed orders. This is the final request we have. If you would just rub this salt onto your body from within this pot."
At this point it was quite obvious to the pair that they were being prepared to become the meal rather than eat one.
The Scary Point You Notice at the Very End
The pair heard some very interesting sounding voices from the other side of the door.
"The plan has failed. They've realized. Seems as though they won't rub salt onto their bodies."
"As expected. The boss' writing was bad. There was too many requests, it was silly to apologize for the orders as well."
"I don't really care either way. It's not like he will share even the bones with us."
"Obviously. But, if they enter here, don't forget that it's our responsibility."
The two talked excitedly whilst waiting.
They Safely Made it Home... However?
Just as they thought there was no way to be saved, their hounds burst through the door, as they did "Yamanekotei" disappeared as if it was never there in the first place. They reunited with their guide and the 2 relieved gentlemen cried profusely as they returned home with scrunched-up paper-like faces. However, even though they were able to return to Tokyo, no matter how many times they tried to wash their faces, they would never return to normal. They would have scrunched-up paper-like faces for the rest of their lives.
The Orders were from the Restaurant!
During the story, the creatures that were trying to eat the 2 men were not drawn, however, we can understand that they seem to be some sort of monster cat. There are many hints layered throughout the story such as the name of the restaurant being "Yamanekotei" with the literal translation being "Mountain Cat Restaurant" as well as the milky cream which cats would love. Across Japan there are various folklore tales of a "Nekomata" (mythical two-tailed monster cat). If cats live a long life, it is said that they become able to speak human language, open and close doors, as well as other such actions. Depending on the country this may not be scary at all? Maybe it's more fantasy than horror?
Why Did Their Faces Change?
It's very to scary to think about the faces of the 2 gentlemen never healing.
The author wants happiness for the entire world, and is seemingly strongly denying any style of living that sacrifices others.
It's "Criticism towards human arrogance". Within this story, cats are trying to eat humans. Normally we are the ones doing the "eating", and are typically never the ones being "eaten". And as such, it is seen that taking lives is normal for eating. However, if you think carefully about it, it should not be the standard at all.
You could also see this story as one that shows punishment being given to those who forget the preciousness of life.