|Meaning||The three corpses|
Sanshi (三尸 or さんし, Sanshi) are green, black and white worms. Actually the "insects" looks like a man's leg with a cow's head on top, a dog-like beast and a man.
The sanshi are three spiritual worms found inside of humans. Each is about 6 centimeters long. These worms live in their hosts from the moment they are born to the moment they die. They work hard to cause their hosts to do evil things.
The names of the sanshi are Jōshi, Chūshi, and Geshi, meaning upper worm, middle worm, and lower worm.
Jōshi lives in your head and looks like a Taoist wise man. He is responsible for making your eyes grow weak, creating wrinkles, and growing white hairs. Chūshi lives in your torso and looks like a wild beast. He is responsible for damaging internal organs, making you overeat and overdrink, and causing bad dreams. Geshi lives in the lower half of your body and looks like a human foot with a cow’s head. He drains the will and shortens the life of his host.
The number 60 is an important number in Chinese astrology, and every sixty days the sanshi leave the body to visit the King of Heaven while their host human sleeps. They report their host’s wicked deeds for the year to king. Depending on this report, the King of Heaven shortens each human’s life span by a certain amount.
To escape the King of Heaven’s sentence, Kōshin practitioners do not sleep every 60th night, so the sanshi are never able to leave the body and give their report. Additionally, spells and charms are chanted to prevent any harm done by the sanshi. The following spell is said to defeat the sanshi’s power: ホウコウシ、ホウジョウシ メイコシ シツニュウヨウメイイチュウ キョリガシン.
Finally, if you find yourself drowsy and unable to stay awake, the following spell must be chanted before falling asleep to prevent harm: シヤムシハ、イネヤサリネヤ ワガトコヲ ネタレゾネヌゾ ネネドネタレルゾ.
- In the anime/manga series "Gegege no Kitarō," the Sanshi are called "San-chuu" and are parasitic yōkai emissaries of Enma-Daiō the king of Hell. The Sanshi appeared only in the "Nezumi-Otoko and Neko-Musume" story. They live inside every person and tattle to Enma if a person is really wicked. Then a red draft paper is send to a yōkai to kill that person. After hearing about the Sanshi, Nezumi-Otoko decides to construct a "church of longevity" and sell to the mass a fake pill to stop the Sanshi's power. But the Sanshi within Nezumi had tattle to Enma-Daiō and Kitaro was ordered to kill him. Of course, Kitaro did not have the heart to do it, so he ask Neko-Musume to "shake" him up a bit to repent. Of course in the 1968 anime version of the story, despite Kitaro and Neko-Musume getting Nezumi-Otoko to repent and give back the money to the people he duped, Enma had taken Medama-Oyaji because he (Kitaro) had failed to kill Nezumi-Otoko; also Nezumi's Sanshi had tattled. The only way to save both Medama-Oyaji and Nezumi-Otoko is that he (Nezumi) would fast for two weeks because according to Oyaji, the Sanshi, like normal parasites, live off the nutrients of their host. Take away the nutrients and the Sanshi would die.
- Sanshi on Yokai.com