Drypoint etching, 100×150, October 2020
Series: Japanese phantoms
This unusual bird appeared in Hirado, Hizen Province (now Nagasaki and Saga Prefectures) in the Edo period. It was said to have issued a prophecy as a divine messenger. The prediction was for a good harvest and the outbreak of an epidemic within seven years from the coming year. However, it said that people who saw this strange bird could escape from the disease and be blessed with many years of health and happiness, then it flew away. I couldn’t find a description of its special features, so I used the magpie that we commonly see in the Hizen area. It’s the prefectural bird of Saga, which is next to Nagasaki. It’s said to be a good-luck bird that leads to victory. I didn’t know this before, but apparently it’s used as the symbol of the Sagan Tosu soccer team! It’s also used for the school emblem of the high school I graduated from.