The tale of Shouki, a god who wards off plagues and natural disasters, has been
passed down for generations in China and Japan. His story is mentioned in the Bingo Fudoki, a record of the regional climate and cultures of the Bingo Province, as such:
"Once upon a time, a god, dressed as a pauper in rags, came upon a poor farmer's
home and asked if he might spend the night there. The farmer and his family welcomed him into their home and while they did not have much, they made their guest as
comfortable as possible and showed him the utmost hospitality. As a thank you for their kindness, the pauper presented the family with a gift: a belt made from the kaya
plant, commonly used for thatch roofs. He told them to wear the belts around their
waist, and then he was gone. But soon after, a terrible plague struck the village.
Sickness spread and the death toll rose, but the family was miraculously spared."
The kagura play "Shouki" is based off this and many other variations of this legend. In the kagura version, Susano-no-Mikoto, the younger brother of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, disguises himself as Shouki and goes to battle Daiekishin, the invisible god of plague, who has been terrorizing the people of Japan. With his left hand, Susano-no-Mikoto captures the elusive Daiekishin with a lasso made of kaya, and then he slays him with the
sword in his right.