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Sketchbook: Gregory Stoffel

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  • Gotferdom
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    Back to share a new wip i m currently working on, something different than my usual work, a realistic game ready model of a riot police officer. Working on detailling the cloth and armor. The shoes are still very wip.
  • Gotferdom
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    After a couple of weeks off, time to get back to work.
    Here's a wip of a game model of Goldorak/Grendizer rendered in Marmoset Toolbag.
    Actarus is coming soon too ;)
    And i'm also still working on the riot policeman....

  • Gotferdom
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    My take on Goldorak/Grendizer as a game model. One of my favorite anime growing up.
    Modeled/Sculpted in 3dsMax and Zbrush and textured in Substance Painter
    https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/goldorak-11900b5e3ac2490ead757797196c3323
    model


  • Gotferdom
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    I wasn't too happy with the render of my Cthulhu so i gave it another shot, this time rendered in Unity in HDRP.

  • Gotferdom
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    Hi everyone, 

    Here's my latest character "Ao Bouzu" a japanese yokai.
    I've always been interested in japaneses mythology and when i saw this yokai, i thought he could be a good candidate to sculpt and 3d print.
    This sculpt have been made for 3d printing in mind, but i thought i would made an illustration with him as well.

    The 3d printing is basically done, i'm doing the cleaning,sanding parts at the moment and will post it here once its done.
    Sculpted in ZBrush and rendered out of Keyshot with compositing in Photoshop

    Hope you like it.

  • Gotferdom
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    Hi everyone, new sculpt/illustration done in a couple of days after looking at some oni masks during the week-end.
    Zbrush/Keyshot/Photoshop for the sculpting and post.

    Hope you like it.


  • Gotferdom
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    Hi everyone,
    Here's my latest illustration made with Zbrush and rendered in Keyshot and some adjustment in Photoshop.
    I was going for a 70's retro sci fi style for this one.
    Hope you like it.

  • Gotferdom
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    I enjoyed making Ao Bouzu, the Yokai a few month ago so much, that i have decided to make a serie of these guys, i'm just  not sure how many i'm going to make...All will be sculpted in Zbrush and rendered in Keyshot and made ready for 3d printing as i'm planning to have this collection sitting on my shelf.
    Here's the new ones in the collection:

    Abura Sumashi


    Ao Andon


    Akaname


  • Gotferdom
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    New yokai in the collection: Amefuri kozō

    Rainfall priest boy
    Their task it to cause rainfall.
    Usually shy and rarely interact directly with people, they are known to enjoy stealing people's umbrellas and wearing them as hats, they then cause rain to fall upon their victims.

  • Gotferdom
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    Aka Shita
    赤舌
    あかした
    Translation: Red mouth
    Mysterious spirit which takes the form of a dark cloud with sharp claws, hairy face and a long red tongue.
    Its body is hidden inside the dark clouds in which it lives.
    Appears during the summer months, when rain and water are at their highest demand and the water is carefully controlled and distributed equally to farmers.
    Some farmers would siphon above the allotted amount of water for their personal fields which was a great crime and could cost neighboring farmers their livelihood.
    The perpetrators of this crime would be punished by Akashita who would appear and swallow them, scooping them up with its giant red tongue.

  • Gotferdom
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    Amabie
    アマビエ
    あまびえ
    The origin of its name is a mystery. There is only one record of amabie in existence, and it appears very similar to another yokai with a similar name: amabiko. 
    Mermaid like yokai with a mixture of human and fish features, a  beak-like mouth, three legs or tail-fins and long hair.
    It glows with a bright light that can be seen from the shore.
    It emerges from the sea, prophesies either an abundant harvest or an epidemic.
    Keeping a picture of this Yokai can protect you from disease.

  • Gotferdom
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    Bake ichō no sei
    化け銀杏の精
    ばけいちょうのせい

    Translation: monster ginkgo spirit

    Bake ichō no sei are the spirits of ginkgo trees. They are very tall, with bright yellow bodies the color of ginkgo leaves in autumn. They wear tattered old black kimono and carry small gongs.
    They appear near very old ginkgo trees and strike their mallets. It’s not known whether there is some purpose to this other than making those who hear them feel strange or shocked.

  • Gotferdom
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    Bakezōri
    化け草履
    ばけぞうり

    Translation: ghost zōri (traditional straw sandals)

    When the straw sandals known as zōri have been mistreated and forgotten by their owners, they can transform into sandal-yōkai called Bakezōri.
    These sandal-shaped yōkai sprout arms and legs from their bodies and a single, large eye in their centers. They run about the house at night, causing mischief and making noise. Bakezōri have a favorite chant, which they sing as they run about the house on their tiny feet:

    Kararin! Kororin! Kankororin! Managu mittsu ni ha ninmai!
    Kararin! Kororin! Kankororin! Eyes three and teeth two!


  • Gotferdom
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    Betobetosan
    べとべとさん
    Translation: from the sound of footsteps
    Betobeto-San is a yôkai that follows travellers at night, making the sound "beto beto" with its wooden sandals. It cannot be seen; only heard.
    People who walk the streets alone at night might encounter these harmless, but nonetheless disturbing, yōkai. They synchronize their pace with walkers and follow them as long as they can, getting closer and closer with every step. For the victims, this can be traumatic. The haunting sound of footsteps follows them wherever they go, but when they turn around, there is nothing there.
    Though betobetosan can be disconcerting, they are not dangerous. Once you realize you are being followed by a betobetosan, simply step to the side of the road and say “After you, betobetosan.” That is enough to escape from this yōkai. The footsteps will carry on ahead and soon vanish from earshot, allowing you to continue in peace.

  • Gotferdom
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    Amanojaku
    天邪鬼
    あまのじゃく

    Translation: heavenly evil spirits

    Amanojaku are wicked monsters which have been known since before written history in Japan. They are described as evil kami, minor oni, or yōkai who cause mischief and perform evil deeds. In particular, they are known for provoking humans into acting upon the wicked, impious desires buried deep within their hearts. They spread spiritual pollution wherever they go.

  • Gotferdom
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    Furuōgi
    古扇
    ふるおうぎ

    Translation: old folding fan

    Furuōgi is a squat, hairy yōkai with an old, worn out folding fan sprouting from its back.
    Furuōgi appears in some of the earliest Hyakki yagyō emaki, pictures scrolls of the night parade of one hundred demons, along with a number of other tsukumogami. Early yokai scrolls did not give names or descriptions, so nothing about furuōgi is known other than its appearance. Even its name was added much later.

  • Gotferdom
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    Gangi kozō
    岸涯小僧
    がんぎこぞう

    Translation: riverbank priest boy


    Gangi kozō are hairy, monkey-like water spirits which inhabit rivers. They live along the riverbanks, where they hunt fish. Their bodies are covered in hair, and the hair on their head resembles the the bobbed okappa hair style once popular among children in Japan. Their most notable features are their webbed hands and toes, and their long teeth which are sharp and jagged like files. They are close relatives of the much more well-known kappa.

    Gangi kozō are not encountered outside of the riverbanks, according to one theory, they are a transitional form of kappa. 
    Gangi kozō normally stay away from people, but occasionally encounter fishermen along the rivers they inhabit. 
    When meeting a gangi kozō, fishermen often leave their largest, cheapest fish on the riverside as an offering.


  • Gotferdom
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    Fukuro Mujina
    袋狢
    ふくろむじな

    Translation: bag badger

    Fukuro mujina look like mujina (badgers; however this word sometimes refers to tanuki as well) dressed in human clothes and make up resembling ancient noblewomen. A very large sack is slung over their shoulder.

    Mujina are known to be tricksters, dressing up in various human costumes and masquerading as people. However, because this yōkai originally appears in a collection of tsukumogami, it is likely that fukuro mujina are actually haunted bags which take on the appearance of mujina, rather than mujina pretending to be humans.


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    Garappa
    ガラッパ
    がらっぱ

    Translation: a regional corruption of kappa

    Garappa are river spirits found on the islands of Kyūshū in southern Japan. Close relatives of kappa, they resemble them in many ways. The two are often confused with each other, although there are a number of important differences. 
    A garappa’s limbs are much longer than those of a kappa. When garappa sit down their knees rise high above their heads, unlike the stubby kappa’s knees. 
    Because of these longer limbs, garappa are taller than kappa when standing upright. Garappa also have slightly longer and more streamlined faces.

    Garappa are shyer and more elusive than kappa. They tend to avoid populated areas and instead, wander back and forth between the rivers and mountains. 
    Garappa live in smaller groups, or by themselves. Because of their shyness, garappa are more often heard than seen. They have two distinctive calls: “hyō hyō” and, “foon foon foon.”

    While garappa encounters are much rarer than kappa, they share a similar relationship with humankind. 
    Extremely fond of pranks and mischief, garappa love to surprise people on mountain paths, or trick travelers into losing their way. 
    Like kappa, garappa are physically stronger than humans and are easily capable of overpowering grown men larger than themselves. They are extremely fond of sumo wrestling, at which they are highly skilled. 


  • Gotferdom
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    Little break from the Yokai collection to finish this statue.

    Krombopulos Michael sculpted in Zbrush and printed in PLA on a Creality Ender 3 V2 
    My biggest statue so far, made for a friend's birthday, obviously fan of Rick and Morty.

    Krombopulos Michael is 37 cm high and is composed of 11 parts
    Each Mr Meeseeks is between 23-25 cm and composed of 2 parts to fit the bed of the printer.
















  • Gotferdom
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    Back on the Yokai collection with one of the weirdest so far:
    Gyōchū
    Gyouchuu, Kitai, Mimimushi
    蟯虫
    ぎょうちゅう

    Translation: intestinal worm; pinworm


    Gyōchū are infectious yokai with six arms and long red tongues. They are extremely fond of chatting and gossiping. 
    They live and reproduce in the sex organs, making them a sexually transmitted yōkai. Gyōchū reproduce in the sex organs on Kōshin night, a holy night which occurs every sixty days in the esoteric Kōshin religion. 
    Gyōchū leave their hosts on these nights and visit Enma Daiō, the king of hell and judge of the damned. 
    They tattle on their hosts, telling all of their dreams, desires, and sins to Enma, who will inflict his divine wrath on them accordingly.

    There is no treatment for a gyōchū infection. The only way to keep safe from this infection is to avoid any chance of contracting an infection by abstaining from sex on Kōshin night. 
    Traditionally, Kōshin night is reserved for praying. Believers gather together and refrain from sleeping for the whole night, so faithful practitioners should have no problem avoiding contracting gyōchū. 
    People who have sex on these holy nights are committing a grave sacrilege, which the gyōchū will report to King Enma. 
    During the feudal era, terrible diseases (leprosy, for example) were believed to be divine punishments for those who disrespect the gods.

  • Gotferdom
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    Ippondatara
    一本踏鞴
    いっぽんだたら

    Translation: one-legged bellows
    Habitat: mountains
    Diet: unknown, but kills humans one day per year

    Ippondatara has one thick, trunk-like leg and a single saucer-like eye. It lives deep in the mountains of Japan. It is especially well-known in the mountains bordering Wakayama and Nara Prefectures (old Kii and Yamato Provinces), though sightings have been reported in other neighboring prefectures as well.

    Ippondatara is a shy yōkai, and tends to stay away from inhabited areas. It moves about by hopping around and doing somersaults. It avoids humans, though on winter days it is not uncommon to find the unique prints of this yōkai’s large, single foot in the snow.

    While it is mostly harmless, once per year on December 20th, the ippondatara turns violent. Those entering the mountains on that day who run into the ippondatara are squashed flat under its powerful foot. Because of this, December 20th is considered an unlucky day in the areas where this yōkai lives. People stay out of the mountains then.

    The name ippondatara comes from tatara, the bellows that a blacksmith would use in the old days. This yōkai is said to resemble a master blacksmith who lost the use of one eye from years of starting at the intense flames, and lost the use of one leg from years of heavy work pumping the bellows.

    There are many theories about the origin of this yōkai. In some villages, it is considered to be a cousin of a certain breed of kappa called gōrai which—every winter—transform from river spirits into mountain spirits called kashambo until they return to the rivers in spring. Ippondatara is said to be a kind of kashambo.

    Other explanations describe the ippondatara as the ghost of a woodcutter who cut off one of his legs in penance for some crime. Or it may be the ghost of a famous one-legged, one-eyed robber named Hitotsudatara who lived in the mountains of Wakayama and had supernatural strength. It may even be the ghost of a giant boar who used to roam the mountains killing hunters. A high priest was able to bind the boar’s spirit and keep it from harming people, but the conditions of the magic that binds this ghost allow it to roam free one day per year—on December 20th.

    It has also been suggested that it is a kind of mountain kami which was corrupted over the ages and became a yōkai. A single eye is a common feature among mountain spirits, and other one-eyed yōkai (such as hitotsume kozō) originated as mountain kami as well.


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    Hyakume
    百目
    ひゃくめ

    Translation: one hundred eyes

    Like their name suggests, hyakume are covered from head to foot with countless blinking, yellow eyes. Underneath those eyes are fleshy, roughly man-sized bodies. With their eyes closed, they resemble pink lumps of flesh, and are nearly indistinguishable from nuppeppō (which live in a similar habitat).
    Hyakume make their homes in old temples, guarding them from would-be thieves during the night. During the day, the sky is too bright for their many sensitive eyes. They only come out at night, spending the lighter hours in dark and shadowy buildings where few humans ever go.
    Hyakume are shy and try to avoid human contact. Should a human come within a few meters of a hyakume, one of its eyes will detach from its body and fly towards the person. The eye sticks to the person’s body for as long as he or she is in the area, keeping an eye out for criminal activity. Eventually the eye will return to the yōkai when they perceive there is no danger. When hyakume feel threatened, they jump out of the darkness in a menacing manner. 
    They are not particularly violent and rely on their size and fearsome appearance to scare humans away.

  • Gotferdom
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    Yokai #20 in my collection:
    Karakasa kozō
    唐傘小僧
    からかさこぞう

    Translation: paper umbrella priest boy

    These silly looking yōkai are transformations of Chinese-style oiled-paper umbrellas. They have a single large eye, a long, protruding tongue, and either one or two legs upon which they hop around wildly.
    Karakasa kozō are not particularly fearsome as far as yōkai go. Their favorite method of surprising humans is to sneak up on them and deliver a large, oily lick with their enormous tongues—which may be traumatic even though it isn’t dangerous. Caution is advised, however. There are other umbrella tsukumogami which are dangerous to humans, and care should be taken not to confuse them with this more playful spirit.

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    Kawauso
    かわうそ

    Translation: river otter

    River otters can be found in the wilds all over Japan. They are under a meter in length, cute and furry, and well-loved for their shy, playful nature.
    As with most wild animals in Japan, kawauso develop magical powers upon reaching old age. They are particularly skilled at shape-changing and accurately copying sounds. Kawauso love alcohol, and are usually only seen in human areas trying to acquire sake. They are playful yōkai, well known for their tricks and mischief, but rarely dangerous.
    Kawauso are fond of playing pranks on humans, especially by mimicking sounds and words. They enjoy calling out human names or random words at strangers walking in the street and watching their confused reactions. They are fond of magically snuffing out lanterns in the night and leaving travelers stranded in the dark. Kawauso sometimes even transform into beautiful young women and try to seduce young men—only to run away laughing when the men take the hook.
    Occasionally, kawauso commit more violent deeds. In a few instances near castles in Ishikawa, a kawauso dressed up as beautiful young woman and lured young men to the water’s edge in order to catch and eat them, discarding the half-eaten bodies into the moat. But stories like this are rare.

    Other forms: A kawauso’s favorite disguise is the form of a young beggar child wearing a big straw hat. They use this child form to sneak into towns and try to buy alcohol from shops. The ruse often falls apart when the disguised creature is asked who it is, or where it came from. Caught off guard, the kawauso simply repeats the last word spoken to it, or makes funny nonsensical noises. This ruins its disguise and gives away its supernatural nature.

  • Gotferdom
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    Koto furunushi
    琴古主
    ことふるぬし

    Translation: old koto master

    The Koto furunushi looks like a koto—a long, harp-like instrument that is the national instrument of Japan—transformed into a wild beast.
    A koto which was once played frequently but later forgotten about and stored away can transform into the koto furunushi. These yōkai may look like wild beasts, but they remember every song that was ever played on them. Koto furunushi play when no one is around, causing everyone to wonder where the music is coming from. They prefer to play old, forgotten tunes that have fallen out of style and vanished from people’s memory.

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    Isogashi
    いそがし

    Translation: busy

    Isogashi is a blue-skinned monster with floppy ears, a big nose, and a massive tongue which flops out from its mouth. It runs about frantically, as if it had a million things that it needs to do. It is a type of tsukimono, a class of yōkai which possess humans.
    Humans possessed by isogashi become extremely restless and unable to relax. They constantly move about, doing things. However, this is not an unpleasant feeling. On the contrary, people possessed by isogashi feel a sense of security in getting things done. Sitting around and doing nothing at all makes them feel as if they are doing something wrong.


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    Hiderigami

    ひでりがみ

    Translation: drought spirit
    Alternate names: batsu, kanbo (“drought mother”), shinchi
    Habitat: mountains
    Diet: moisture

    Hiderigami is a grotesque, hairy humanoid which stands between two and three feet tall. It has a single eye on the top of its head. It only has a single arm and a single leg, although it can run as fast as the wind. All hiderigami are female.
    Hiderigami are rarely encountered by humans. They live deep in the mountains and only rarely travel out into human-inhabited lands, but when they do their presence can be strongly felt over a wide area. A hiderigami’s body exerts such a strong heat that everywhere it goes the ground dries up, clouds fail to form, and rain cannot fall. Despite the incredible danger that they pose, it is said that throwing a hiderigami into a toilet will kill it.
    Hiderigami originated in southern China, and come from a goddess. Their origin is recorded in some of the oldest ancient Chinese records. When the legendary Yellow Emperor of China fought the warlord Chi You, he summon a powerful goddess named Batsu to aid him in battle. Batsu contained an supernatural heat inside of her, and when she released her power, the battle was quickly and decisively won in the emperor’s favor; however, she had used so much of her power up that she was unable to return to Heaven or contain her heat. While Batsu was nearby, the waters all dried up and rain would not fall, and so her presence became a terrible problem for the emperor. Unable to kill her or to send her back to heaven, the emperor exiled the goddess to a far-away mountain and forbade her to return. Whether Batsu became the mother of the hiderigami or became corrupted and transformed into this yokai herself is unknown.
  • Gotferdom
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    Hahakigami

    箒神
    ははきがみ

    Translation: broom spirit

    A hahakigami is a tsukumogami which takes up residence in a broom. They can sometimes be seen on cold, windy late autumn mornings, sweeping wildly at the blowing leaves.
    Long ago, brooms were not household cleaning tools, but actually holy instruments used in ritual purification ceremonies. They were used to on the air in a room or area in order to purify it and sweep out any evil spirits and negative energy that might be lingering there. Like any tool used for many years, a broom which reaches a very old age becomes a perfect home for a spirit — perhaps even more so in the case of a hahakigami because of the ritual nature of its origin.
    Hahakigami are used also as magical charms for safe and quick childbirth. Because brooms are used to “sweep out” evil energy, a hahakigami acts as a sort of totem to “sweep out” the baby from its mother safely. They are also used as charms to keep guests from overstaying their visit. Anyone who has stayed beyond their welcome might also be “swept out” by the power of the hahakigami.

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    Hitotsume kozō
    一つ目小僧
    ひとつめこぞう

    Translation: one-eyed priest boy

    Child-like and mischievous, hitotsume kozō are little one-eyed goblins that are well-known in all parts of Japan. They wear shaved heads and robes, like tiny Buddhist monks. They have long red tongues and a single, enormous eye.

    Hitotsume kozō are relatively harmless as far as yōkai go. Their most alarming trait is appearing suddenly and surprising people on dark streets. They seem to enjoy startling people; hundreds of encounters have been reported over the years, most of them very similar to each other.

    Aside from their startling play, hitotsume kozō have one serious job. In East Japan, it is said that every year on the 8th of December, hitotsume kozō travel the land, recording in ledgers the families who have been bad that year. They use this information to decide each family’s fortunes for the coming year. Hitotsume kozō take their reports to the god of pestilence and bad luck, who then brings appropriate misfortune on those deserving families. However, hitotsume kozō leave their ledgers with the guardian deity of travels for safekeeping until February 8th. In a mid-January ceremony, local villagers burn down and rebuild that deity’s roadside shrines in hopes that the fires will also burn the hitotsume kozō’s ledgers before they come to pick them up—thus escaping disaster that year.


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    Biwa bokuboku
    琵琶牧々
    びわぼくぼく

    Translation: takes its name from a particular legendary biwa

    A biwa is a kind of lute, frequently used to sing stories and poems. The biwa bokuboku is a biwa that has grown a human body and is dressed like a blind priest, wielding a cane.

    A biwa of extremely fine construction, upon reaching an advanced age, transforms into the self-playing biwa instrument known as a biwa bokuboku. This musical tsukumogami wanders playing music in the street for money.

    These tsukumogami get their name from a legendary biwa named Bokuba. This magnificent instrument was said to magically play on its own when nobody was looking. And not just any music—Bokuba played music beautiful enough to charm even an oni.
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    Kotengu
    小天狗
    こてんぐ

    Translation: lesser tengu (“divine dog”)
    Alternate names: karasutengu (“crow tengu”)
    Habitat: mountains, cliffs, caves, forests, areas surrounded by nature
    Diet: carrion, livestock, wild animals, humans

    Kotengu resemble large birds of prey with human-like characteristics. They often wear the robes of the ascetic and mystical hermits called yamabushi, and sometimes carry fine weapons or other items stolen from human homes or temples.
    Kotengu behave like savage monsters. They live solitary lives, but on rare occasions band together or with other yōkai to accomplish their goals. They accumulate hoards. Kotengu collect and trade trinkets and valuable magical items. When angered they throw tantrums and go on destructive rampages, taking out their anger on anything near them.
    Kotengu have little respect for humans. They feast on human flesh, and commit rape, torture, and murder for fun. Some of their favorite games are abducting people to drop them from great heights deep into the woods, or tying children to the tops of trees so all can hear their screams but none can reach them. Kotengu kidnap people and force them eat feces until they go mad. They especially revel in sacrilege. They torment monks and nuns, rob temples, and try to seduce clergy.
    Kotengu’s greatest weakness is overconfidence. There are countless folk stories about kotengu being duped into trading powerful magical items or giving up valuable information in exchange for worthless trinkets. Foolish kotengu overestimate their own intelligence when trying to trick humans, and end up being tricked themselves.
  • Kaia2049
    Hey! Absolutely adorable work! Good luck! I wish you all the best!

  • Gotferdom
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  • Gotferdom
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    I needed a little change from my Yokai and i saw a post from Lora Zombie's Instagram to "Draw in your style" one of her image, i thought it happened right on time.
    All sculpted in Zbrush, rendered in Keyshot and final composition made in Photoshop.
    Both the bear and the girl models are ready to be 3d printed. I will update this post when the prints are done.
    Hope you like it.

  • Gotferdom
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    Finally, here’s the print after a few failed print due to a cheap filament, learned my lesson and order some white bone filament from esun, printed with a creality3D ender 3 v2.
    The bear is about 20cm and the girl 10cm.
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    Yokai 29/100

    Wa nyūdō
    輪入道
    わにゅうどう

    Translation: wheel priest
    Habitat: Hell; encountered on roads and mountain passes, and occasionally villages
    Souls; occasionally snacks on babies

    Wa nyūdō appear as giant, fearsome men’s heads trapped within flaming ox-cart wheels. Their heads are shaved like monks’ in penance for sins during life.
    Wa nyūdō are servants of hell, but spend most of their time on earth patrolling for the wicked. They are in constant suffering from the flames and the wheel, and take a sadistic pleasure in inflicting pain on others. When they capture a victim—ideally a wicked criminal or a corrupt priest, but often enough just an ordinary person—they drag their victim back to hell to be judged and damned. Then the wa nyūdō return to earth to continue their work, until the sins of their former lives have been redeemed.
    When a wa nyūdō is sighted, smart townspeople keep off the roads and stay away from all doors and windows to avoid any notice by this demon. The extra-cautious decorate their homes with prayer charms in hopes that the monster will be repulsed and stay away. Merely witnessing the wa nyūdō is enough to bring calamity upon a whole family. Their souls are torn from their bodies and brought to hell by the wheel.
    One famous story from Kyōto tells of a woman who peeked out her window at a wa nyūdō as he passed through town. The demon snarled at her, saying, “Instead of looking at me, have a look at your own child!” She looked back at her baby, who was screaming on the floor in a pool of blood—both of its legs had been completely torn from its body. When she looked back at the wa nyūdō, the child’s legs were in its mouth, being eaten by the mad, grinning monster.

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    Happy new year everyone.

    Back in my Yokai collection for the #30: here's Shachihoko

    Shachihoko

    しゃちほこ


    Translation: fish-tiger

    Habitat: oceans

    Diet: carnivorous


    Shachihoko are fearsome sea monsters. They have the body of a large fish and the head of a tiger. Their broad fins and tails always point towards the heavens, and their dorsal fins have numerous sharp spikes. Shachihoko live in colder, norther oceans. They are able to swallow massive amounts of water with a single gulp and hold it in their bellies. They are also able to summon clouds and control the rain.

    Shachihoko are often found adorning the rooftops of Japanese castles, temples, gates, and samurai residences. They are placed facing each other on opposite ends of a roof. They serve as protector spirits, similar to the oni roof tiles also commonly found on castles. It was believed that in the event of a fire, the shachihoko could protect the building by summoning rain clouds or by spitting out the massive amounts of water they had previously swallowed.

    Shachihoko as an element of construction evolved from shibi, large, ornamental roof end tiles. Shibi originated in China during the Jin dynasty and were popularized in Japan during the Nara and Heian periods. During the Sengoku period, when castles rapidly began appearing all over Japan, shibi were reimagined as large fish, and the image of the shachihoko was popularized. From them on, shachihoko remained popular elements of Japanese roof construction.


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    Back from the new year holidays. Let's continue the Yokai collection.


    Otoroshi

    おとろし


    Translation: a regional corruption of osoroshii, meaning “scary”

    Alternate names: odoroshi, odoro odoro, keippai

    Habitat: shrines, temples, and homes; found above gates and doors

    Diet: small animals and wicked people


    Otoroshi are known by many regional names, most of them being wordplays denoting this monster’s fearsome appearance and wild, course mane that covers its body. Otoroshi appear as hairy, hunched, four-legged beasts with fierce claws and tusks. They have blue or orange skin.

    Though its existence has been known of for centuries, little is known about this rare and mysterious creature. Otoroshi are masters of disguise and are rarely seen except for when they want to be. They are most commonly spotted in high places like roofs. Other favorite places are the torii archways at shrines and the gates above temples that separate the physical world from the realm of the gods.

    Otoroshi act as a kind of guardian of these holy places. They eat the wild animals found in shrines and temples—particularly pigeons, sparrows, and other birds. Otoroshi attack humans only rarely: when they spot a wicked or imprudent person near a holy place—or when one tries to enter through the gateway they are guarding. Otoroshi attack by pouncing on their victims from above, tearing them to shreds, and devouring their remains.


    Origin: While its name implies ferocity and its appearance is quite grotesque, it is only known to be dangerous to the wicked. The name otoroshi, while not a word itself, appears to be derived from variations in regional dialects. It is generally accepted to be a corruption of osoroshii, meaning “scary.” Nothing is known of its origins; it is speculated to be related to a similar yōkai, the waira, due to their common habits and environment.


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    Shumoku musume

    撞木娘

    しゅもくむすめ


    Translation: hammer girl

    Habitat: mountain passes

    Diet: unknown


    Appearance: Shumoku musume has a head which resembles that of a hammerhead shark or a snail. She has large eyes which extend out from the sides of her head. She wears a furisode kimono, usually worn by young, unmarried women.


    Origin: Shumoku musume is not a major yōkai, yet her image is fairly well known. This is because she was included in obake karuta, a yōkai-themed version of the popular card matching game karuta. Although no story accompanies her in obake karuta, her card says that she appears on the Usui Pass, which separates Gunma and Nagano Prefectures.


    The word shumoku refers to the wooden hammers used to strike temple bells. It is not clear if shumoku musume is a tsukumogami of a bell hammer, or if her name merely refers to the fact that her head resembles a wooden hammer’s head.

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    Nurikabe

    塗壁

    ぬりかべ


    Translation: painted wall

    Habitat: coastal areas; encountered on dark streets and alleys

    Diet: unknown


    Little is known about the true appearance of nurikabe because these yokai are usually said to be invisible. During the Edo period, however, artists began to illustrate this creature, giving it an appearance somewhere between a grotesque, fantastic beast and a flat, white wall. Modern representations of the nurikabe depict it as a plain, gray, bipedal wall with vague face-like features.

    Nurikabe appear mysteriously on roads late at night. As a traveler is walking, right before his or her eyes, an enormous, invisible wall materializes and blocks the way. There is no way to slip around this yokai; it extends itself as far as to the left and right as one might try to go. There is no way over it either, nor can it be knocked down. However, it is said that if one taps it near the ground with a stick, it will vanish, allowing the traveler to continue on his or her way.

    Origin: The true nature of the nurikabe is surrounded in mystery. Based on its name, it seems to be related to other household spirits known as tsukimogami. It has also been suggested that the nurikabe is simply another manifestation of a shape-shifting itachi or tanuki. Mischievous tanuki are said to enlarge their magical scrotums into an invisible wall in order to play pranks on unsuspecting humans.


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    Biron

    びろ~ん


    Biron are elongated, white, ghostly-looking yōkai with drooping features, protruding teeth, and long tails. They have soft and flabby bodies with a gelatinous consistency reminiscent of konnyaku jelly.

    Biron aren’t particularly harmful yōkai. They enjoy scaring humans by caressing the heads and necks of their victims with their long tails. They can be easily dealt with by throwing salt at them, which causes them to vanish.


    Biron’s origins are shrouded in mystery. Supposedly, it is the result of a magical mishap. It tried transform into the shape of a buddha by chanting, “Biro! Biro! Biro~n!” But the spell failed, resulting in biron’s strange appearance.

    The oldest written record for biron is a 1972 yōkai encyclopedia by Satō Arifumi. Along with its illustration and description, he notes that it is also called nuribotoke. During an interview late in his life, Satō claimed that biron and its magical spell were recorded in a Heian or Edo Period picture scroll. It was later reproduced in an Edo Period booklet containing reproductions of Toriyama Sekien and other artists’ yōkai illustrations. Unfortunately Satō could no longer remember the name of his source book or its whereabouts, and ultimately he was not able to shed any light on its origins before his death. Other yōkai researchers have never found the book he described. Additionally, the ~ character in biron’s name was not used during the period in which it was said to have originated, adding some mystery to his claim. With no surviving older sources, biron is thought to be a creation of Satō Arifumi.


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    There's a lot of fun stuff going on here!

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    New Yokai : Nuppeppō

    Let's just all agree he looks like a mushroom Mmmkay...

    Nuppeppō

    ぬっぺっぽう

    Translation: a corruption of the slang for wearing too much makeup

    Nuppeppō are bizarre and creepy yōkai found in ruined temples, overgrown graveyards, and other dilapidated areas. These creatures are known for their revolting appearance and smell; they give off a strong odor of rotten meat. They look like large, flabby, roughly humanoid chunks of flesh about the size of child, with lumpy, undeveloped hands and feet, and vaguely indiscernible facial features.

    Nuppeppō appear usually only at night, and are not known to cause any particular harm or mischief—other than being disgusting. They seem to enjoy the nauseating effect their smell has on passersby. They frequently cause chaos and havoc by running around and disgusting people, and outrunning angry villagers who would try to chase them down and kill them.

    Nuppeppō are very rare yōkai. There are only a few recorded sightings, even though their grotesque form is well-known. Accounts usually describe lords sending hosts of warriors to chase the creature out of a castle or a temple, only to have it outrun the guards and escape, causing some of them to swoon and faint from its odor. Though they are passive and non-aggressive, they can move quickly and are notoriously hard to catch.

    According to the records of Edo period pharmacists, its flesh imparts incredible power on those who eat it (providing they are willing and able to keep it down), and it can also be made into a powerful medicine with excellent curative properties.

    Nuppeppō’s origins are mysterious. They are believed to be a distant relative of nopperabō. Some scholars suggest that nuppeppō may in fact be botched transformations of inexperienced shape-shifting yōkai, such as a mujina or tanuki. The origin of their name is equally mysterious. It is thought to be derived from slang for wearing too much makeup, painted so thickly that facial features become indiscernible—just as nuppeppō’s features are barely discernible on their fleshy, fatty faces.


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    Hihi

    狒々

    ひひ


    The hihi is a large, monkey-like beast which lives deep in the mountains. It has long, black hair and a wide mouth with long, flapping lips. Old legends say that a monkey which reaches a very old age will transform into a hihi.

    Hihi can run very fast and primarily feed on wild animals such as boars, battering them down and snatching them up just as a bird of prey snatches up small animals. The hihi gets its name from the sound of its laugh. When it sees a human it can’t help but burst into laughter. letting out a loud, “Hihihihi!” When it laughs, its long lips curl upwards and completely cover its eyes.

    While hihi primarily feed on wild beasts, they will also prey on humans if given the opportunity. They are known to catch and run off with human women in particular. If a hihi catches a human there is only one way to escape: by making it laugh. While it is laughing and blinded by its own lips, it can be taken down by striking it in the middle of the forehead with a sharp spike.

    Hihi are sometimes confused with other monkey-like yokai that live in the mountains, such as yamawaro and satori. The hihi is much bigger, more violent, and far more dangerous than these. Some stories say that, like satori, hihi have the ability to speak human words and read human hearts and thoughts. They are valued for their blood, which is a vivid, bright red. If used as a dye, the bright red color will never fade or run. If drunk, the imbiber is said to gain the ability to see demons and spirits.

    The hihi’s origins lie in ancient Chinese mythology, where it was believed to be a supernatural monkey that lived in the mountains. It was brought over to Japan by folklorists during the middle ages. In modern Japanese, hihi is the word for baboon, which takes its name from its resemblance to this yokai.


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    Kanazuchibō

    金槌坊

    かなづちぼう


    Translation: hammer priest


    Kanazuchibō is an odd-looking yōkai which appears in some of the earliest picture scrolls. It is depicted in a number of different ways by different artists, but in most depictions it has long, flowing hair, big, buggy eyes, and a beak-like mouth. Some paintings portray it more bird-like, while others portray it in as a grotesque, misshapen goblin-like creature. It’s most identifying feature is the large mallet it carries. It is usually portrayed holding the mallet over its head, ready to strike another yōkai.

    A mallet-weilding yōkai appears in many of the earliest picture scrolls of the night parade of one hundred demons. In its oldest depictions, kanazuchibō appears with no name or description. Names like kanazuchibō and daichiuchi were added much later, during the Edo period. However no description of its behavior were ever recorded. Many artists and yōkai scholars have made guesses at its true nature.

    It has been suggested that kanazuchibō may be a spirit of cowardice. His posture and his hammer evoke the proverbs “to strike a stone bridge before crossing” (meaning to be excessively careful before doing anything) and “like a hammer in the water” (meaning to always be looking at the ground and watching your step; picture a hammer in a river, with its heavy head sinking below the surface, but its wooden handle floating upright). Perhaps this is a yōkai which haunts cowards, or which turns people into cowards when it haunts them.

    Kanazuchibō is also known as ōari, or giant ant. In prehistoric Japan there was a culture which built large earthen burial mounds known as kofun. It has been suggested that in the Kofun people’s religion, ants were revered as divine creatures since they build earthen mounds. As the Kofun religion died out, those creatures formerly worshiped as kami grew resentful and warped into these ant-like yōkai. While it’s an amusing story, there’s no evidence to suggest the Kofun people actually worshipped ants. This explanation was almost certainly made up by modern storytellers.


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    Narigama

    鳴釜

    なりがま


    Translation: ringing kettle, crying kettle

    Alternate names: narikama, kamanari

    Habitat: kitchens


    Narigama are a tsukumogami of kama, iron kettles or cauldrons used to cook rice in old Japanese kitchens. They have long arms and legs. Their bodies are covered in dark hair as if wearing an animal’s pelt. Flames lick the sides of the kettle which either serves as their head, or which they wear like a helmet.

    Little is known about the true nature of narigama, however a number of theories exist. They are often depicted cavorting with other tsukumogami in illustrations of the night parade of one hundred demons.

    A narigama’s most amazing talent is the ability to predict the future. As its name suggest, it begins to emit sounds when it is heated over a fire. When the water inside begins to boil, a narigama will begin to ring or cry like an animal. Depending on the sound that it emits, it is possible to know whether the weather will be rainy or fair. An onmyōji or a priest can even divine good and bad fortunes based on the sounds the narigama makes as its contents are boiled.


    Origin: 

    Illustrations of narigama appear in some of the oldest hyakki yagyō emaki picture scrolls, although they appear without a name or description. Later, Toriyama Sekien included it in Hyakki tsurezure bukuro along with a brief history. According to Sekien, the narigama was first described in the Hakutaku zu, a record of all the supernatural creatures in the world describing their strengths and weaknesses. The entry in the Hakutaku zu explains that the narigama’s ability to to “ring” is connected to an ancient oni named Renjo.

    The Edo Period book Kansō kidan also describes Renjo as haunting kettles. According to this book, when a narigama begins acting up if you stand three shaku (about nintey centimeters) away from it and loudly say the name “Renjo,” the fires will descend into the earth, beneath the house. The haunting will end, and from then on the household will be blessed with good fortune.


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    Akateko

    赤手児

    あかてこ


    Translation: red child’s hand

    Habitat: Japanese honey locust (Gleditsia japonica) trees

    Diet: unknown


    The akateko appears—just as the name implies—as a red, disembodied hand belonging to a child. It is found hanging in Japanese honey locust trees.


    Akateko drops down from trees as people pass underneath them. Aside from giving its victims a nasty surprise and the general creepiness of a disembodied red child’s hand, it is not known for causing any great harm.


    Some people have seen the figure of a furisode-wearing beautiful girl of 17 or 18 years standing underneath an akateko’s tree. Those who witness her are immediately struck with a powerful fever. It is not clear what relationship she has to the akateko, if she is part of the same apparition or another spirit entirely.


    The origin of akateko is usually given as a certain tree in front of an elementary school in the city of Hachinohe in Aomori Prefecture. However, there are local versions of it in Fukushima and Kagawa Prefectures as well. In these prefectures, akateko sometimes work together with another yokai called aka ashi. They grab at the feet of pedestrians, causing them to stumble and fall. It has also been suggested that akateko and aka ashi are two forms of the same yokai.


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    Shīsā

    Shiisaa

    シーサー

    しいさあ


    Translation: the Ryukyuan pronunciation of shishi, another name for komainu

    Habitat: shrines, castles, graveyards, villages; found on rooftops in particular

    Diet: carnivorous


    Shīsā are small, lion-like yokai which are found throughout Okinawa, in close proximity to humans. While they are very similar to Japanese komainu, there are a few notable differences. Shīsā are native to Okinawa, and are thus only found on the Ryukyu archipelago and the southernmost islands of Japan. Shīsā are smaller and more dog-like than their Japanese (medium sized dog-lion hybrids) and Chinese (large and very lion-like) cousins.

    Lion-dogs are commonly depicted in East Asian sculpture as guardian deities. Komainu and shishi are nearly always found in pairs, yet it is common to find solitary shīsā perched on the roofs of houses that they guard. Chinese shishi are usually used as imperial guardians, Japanese komainu are usually used as shrine guardians, and Ryukyuan shīsā are usually used as house or village guardians, perched on rooftops, village gates, castles, or gravesites.

    Shīsā are also depicted as shrine guardians, with male/female pairs representing the “a” and “un” sounds. This behavior was likely imported from Japan after the Ryukyu islands were conquered. However there is disagreement over the genders. In most depictions, the right, open-mouthed shīsā is the male, beckoning good luck and fortune, while the left, close-mouthed shīsā is the female, protecting the village from natural disasters and evil spirits. In other depictions, the open-mouthed shīsā is the female and the closed-mouthed shīsā is the male.


    Shīsā are very close relatives to komainu, and share the same ancestor: China’s imperial guardian lions. However, while komainu arrived in mainland Japan via Korea, shīsā were imported to the Ryukyu islands directly from China, before Okinawa was part of Japan. In fact, the name shīsā is actually the Ryukyuan pronunciation of their Chinese name, shishi, which is also sometimes used for komainu in Japanese.


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