This old postcard features a striking illustration of a monk (or similar holy man) sitting on a rock outcropping of a mountain and reading from a scroll. A flame-spouting dragon has appeared, and it carries the figure of a ghostly woman on its back. Other monks are praying and hiding their faces in fear.
So, what's the story with this bit of Japanese folklore?
I think we can solve this fairly easily with the help of someone who can read Japanese. Here's the text that's printed on the back of the postcard. Please pass this along if you know someone who can read this. Comments can be left below or emailed to chrisottopa (at) gmail.com.
Successful translation few key phrases from that passage should be enough to help us find the tale that this represents within Japanese folklore and its many magical creatures.
We're going to need human help, though. I tried running the image of the text through i2OCR, a free online Optical Character Recognition (OCR) program. I then plugged those results into Google Translate. The results were not very good. Some of the words and phrases gleaned from this method include rope, diamond, embroidery, tears, woman, "ice year," "living rope," pigeon, pike, eel, tooth, "deer rope" and swollen. Also, quite oddly, the word "turbocharger," which I'm fairly certain is not part of Japanese folklore.
Proper nouns from the OCR include Hanare, Tsukuba, RinHanare, Atsushi Me, Nirrana Tei, L Peng, Kaano, Ru Dea, Tsu Nawapa, Eshin and Sunrihokoraburu Homareko.
So I can definitely still use some help.
I'll revise this post and add feedback and updates as they roll in.
For now, I'll leave y'all with the image of the stamp box on this unused postcard.