mushi (literally," worm" or "bug")

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Jan 19, 2012 12:53
The word "mushi" is used in a number of idioms to describe emotions or feelings. When a person is depressed, he is said to be "possessed by the worm of depression"(fusagi no mushi). When a person is in a bad temper " the worm is in the wrong place"(mushi no idokoro ga warui). When a person persists in anger,it is because "the worm in his abdomen has not calmed down "(hara no mushi ga osamaranai). When a man is suddenly tempted to have an extramarital affair, it may be explained as the result of "the worm of fickleness" (uwaki no mushi).
If a child has violent temper tantrums, the mother may take the child to a shrine to have "the worm of tantrums (kan no mushi)sealed off".
It might be that the Japanese, in their traditional reluctance to hold an individual responsible for impulsive behavior, attrribute such behavior to an external agent, the "worm", Which has made its way into his body.
The mushi can always be "sealed off" and the "victim" can then return to the community without too much guilt.

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