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Hoichi was the main character of the Tale of Hoichi the Earless, one of the most popular stories collected in the Hyakumonogatari Kaidenkai, a comprehensive monogatari of popular Kwaidan. It was often performed as a puppet-play or a Kabuki play. 
Hoichi was a blind monk and a skilled musician who played the biwa on the beach near his temple, which was ruled by his friend, Kaimon the Abbott. One day a samurai ordered the monk to follow, and Hoichi was led through a maze to a court. A woman asked him to sing the tragic Battle of Red Snow, and amazed by his skill, requested to return every night for the next week, keeping it secret. The next night, Hoichi repeated the performance, but he was discovered by another monk during his return. The Abbot placed a guard who eventually heard the sound of a biwa coming from an old tomb which marked the grave of the tragic battle. Hoichi was surrounded for the spirits of the dead. The Abbot was reported, and wards were placed on every inch of Hoichi's skin. Everywhere were writ the protective wards, but not upon hisn ears. The ghostly samurai returned that night for the monk, but he only saw two ears, and took them to show his Lord as proof he had obeyed. Hoichi's ears were ripped from his skull by the spirit, leaving the monk earless. Hoichi survived and his story spread far and wide and made him famous. 
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