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Sketchbook: Gregory Stoffel



  • Gotferdom
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    Translation: Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus)

    Hanzaki are monstrous versions of the Japanese giant salamander. These animals normally grow up to one and a half meters long, however the yōkai versions of this animal can grow much larger. They have rough, mottled, brown and black skin, tiny eyes, and enormous mouths which span the entire width of their heads. They live in rivers and streams far from human-inhabited areas.

    Hanzaki and humans rarely come into contact with each other. When they do, it is usually because the hanzaki has grown large enough to eat humans or livestock and is causing trouble to nearby villagers.

    The name hanzaki is a colloquialism for the Japanese giant salamander. They are called hanzaki for their regenerative powers; it was believed that a salamander’s body could be cut (saku) in half (han) and it would still survive. The call of the salamander was said to resemble that of a human baby, and so the word is written with kanji combining fish (魚) and child (兒).

    Legends: There was once a deep pool in which a gigantic hanzaki lived. The hanzaki would grab horses, cows, and even villagers, drag them into the pool, and swallow them in a single gulp. For generations, the villagers lived in fear of the pool and stayed away from it.

    During the first year of Bunroku (1593 CE), the villagers called for help, asking if there was anyone brave enough to slay the hanzaki. A young villager named Miura no Hikoshirō volunteered. Hikoshirō grabbed his sword and dove into the pool. He did not come back up; he had been swallowed by the hanzaki in a single gulp! Moments later, Hikoshirō sliced through the hanzaki and tore it in half from the inside out, killing it instantly. The slain creature’s body was 10 meters long, and 5 meters in girth!

    The very day the hanzaki was slain, strange things began to happen at the Miura residence. Night after night, something would bang on the door, and something screaming and crying could be heard just outside the door. However, when Hikoshirō opened the door to check, there was nothing there at all.

    Not long after that, Hikoshirō and his entire family died suddenly. Strange things began to happen through the village as well. The villagers believed the angry ghost of the dead hanzaki had cursed them. They built a small shrine and enshrined the hanzaki’s spirit as a god, dubbing it Hanzaki Daimyōjin. After that, the hanzaki’s spirit was pacified, and the curse laid to rest.

    A gravestone dedicated to Miura no Hikoshirō still stands in Yubara, Okayama Prefecture. The villagers of Yubara still honor Hanzaki Daimyōjin by building giant salamander shrine floats and parading them through town during the annual Hanzaki Festival.

  • Gotferdom
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    Little break from the Yokai. 

    Here's "Power Glove", figure i have sculpted from an illustration of Ten hundred, an artist on Youtube with a very special style. Check out his work:

    [His website](https://tenhundredart.com/)

    [His Youtube](https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh-ArhaGOqFsBPrR2yQd42w)

    Sculpted in Zbrush, rendered in Keyshot and Photoshop. Then 3d printed on a Creality ender 3 with PLA at 0.2. It's about 20cm tall.

  • Gotferdom
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    Translation: staring contest

    Alternate names: dokuro no kai (the phenomenon of skulls)

    Mekurabe are giant mounds of skulls and severed heads which stare at people. They begin as masses of individual skulls, which roll around and around. Eventually they clump together and form into a massive skull-shaped mound.

    Mekurabe are only known for doing one thing: staring at people. If you win the staring contest, the skulls will vanish without a trace. If you lose the staring contest, what happens is not recorded.

    Origin: Mekurabe are famously described in The Tale of the Heike. Their name was invented later during the Edo Period, and mekurabe appears in Toriyama Sekien’s Konjaku hyakki shūi.

    Legends: Taira no Kiyomori, the young general who had just recently conquered all of Japan, stepped out into his garden one morning to see an uncountable number of skulls rolling about, glaring at him. The surprised Kiyomori called for his guards, but nobody heard him.

    As Kiyomori watched, the skulls began to gather together in the middle of the garden. They clumped together, rolling up on top of each other, and formed a single giant mass. The pile of skulls was shaped like an enormous skull close to 45 meters in size.

    The mass of skulls glared at Kiyomori out of its countless eye sockets. Kiyomori took a breath and steadied himself. He glared back at the skulls with all of his resolve.

    Finally, the mass of skulls crumbled apart. The skulls melted like a snowflake in the sun, and vanished without a trace.

  • Gotferdom
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    Tako Nyūdō

    Unagihime, Takonyuudou



    Translation: octopus priest

    Alternate names: tako bōzu

    Habitat: Sea of Japan; particularly near Shimane Prefecture

    Diet: carnivorous

    Tako nyūdō is an octopus yōkai which takes on a vaguely humanoid form. It has a bulbous octopus-like head with the face of a bearded old man. It has eight tentacles, and wears human clothing. It looks like an old, bald priest, hence the name.

    Little is known about the natural behavior of tako nyūdō. A famous scroll called the Bakemono Emaki, painted in 1666 by Kanō Munenobu, depicts a tako nyūdō dangling a fish above the head of an unagi hime. It appears to be teasing or perhaps seducing her, however no description or story accompanies the painting. Like the regular octopus, this yōkai octopus’s natural habitat is hidden from the human world, leaving its lifestyle a mystery.

    In Shimane Prefecture, tako nyūdō are feared by fishermen who live along the Sea of Japan. They are said to attack boats, grabbing fishermen off of them and dragging them down beneath the waves.

    The phrase tako nyūdō is sometimes used to mockingly refer to bald-headed old men, as their smooth scalps resemble the heads of octopuses.

  • Gotferdom
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    Mikoshi Nyūdō



    Translation: anticipating priest

    Alternate names: mikoshi, miage nyūdō, taka bōzu

    Habitat: bridges, roads, streets; especially at night

    Diet: omnivorous; prefers travelers

    Mikoshi nyūdō are fearsome yōkai who appear late at night to lone travelers on empty streets, intersections, or bridges. They appear to be harmless traveling priests or monks, no taller than an ordinary person; but in an instant they grow abnormally tall, with long claws and hair like a wild beast.

    As soon as a person raises his eyes to look upon a mikoshi nyūdō, the giant grows to an immense height—as tall the observer is able to raise his eyes, and just as fast. This causes the person to look up so high and fast that they lose their balance and tumble backwards. That’s when the mikoshi nyūdō lunges forward and bites their throat out with its teeth.

    Those unfortunate enough to meet this cruel yōkai usually do not live to tell the tale. Much depends on the person’s reaction. If they try to ignore and walk past the mikoshi nyūdō, the angry giant will crush them or pierce them with bamboo spears and branches. The same fate is met by those who turn and try to run away. People who stare at the mikoshi nyūdō frozen in fear will drop dead on the spot, overcome by its presence.

    The only possible escape is to anticipate the mikoshi nyūdō (thus its name). Meet it face-to-face, eye-to-eye, and show no fear. Then, look from its head down to its feet, rather than starting at the feet and looking up. If done properly, the giant’s power to grow will be sapped. Telling the giant, “You lost! I anticipated your trick!” causes it to vanish in anger, leaving the traveler to pass safely along.

    Other forms: Mikoshi nyūdō is a popular form of some shape-shifting animals. In particular, itachi and tanuki transform into these giants in order to hunt humans. Kitsune and mujina are known to occasionally take this form as well, though less often. When a mikoshi nyūdō is result of a transformation, it carries a bucket, a lantern, or some other tool. This tool is where the shape-shifter’s true body is stored. If you can snatch the object away from the giant before it attacks, the spell is broken and the transformed yōkai will be at its captor’s mercy.

  • Gotferdom
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    Translation: a pun meaning both “free staff” and “exactly as you please”

    Nyoijizai is a nyoi, a kind of priest’s staff, which has turned into a yokai after existing for many many years. It also bears a very strong resemblance to a mago-no-te, (literally “granchild’s hand”) a backscratcher. Its only power is its ability to scratch that itchy spot on your back which you just can’t seem to reach, no matter how hard you try.

    Nyoijizai’s name is a play on words. While nyoi is a term for a priest’s staff, it can also mean “as you wish;” and jizai means “freely” or “at will.” While this name evokes an animated staff, its also literally means, “exactly as you please.” Thus, nyoijizai is an animated back-scratching staff that allows you to freely scratch any place you wish, exactly as you please.

  • Gotferdom
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    Translation: mountain spirit

    Alternate names: sudama

    Habitat: mountains, forests, and other wilderness across Japan

    Diet: varies, includes humans

    Chimi is a general term for the monsters that live in the mountains, forests, swamps, stones, and other parts of nature. They have human-like faces and bestial bodies. They feed on the bodies of the dead — particularly the innards — and sometimes bring disease and other evil things with them wherever they go.

    Chimi tend to be nasty, or at least mischievous, when it comes to humans. They trick humans who are wandering in the mountains, and cause them to lose their ways. Once isolated in this way, chimi can attack, often killing their victims.

    The name chimi is derived from the ancient Chinese history known as The Records of the Grand Historian: Chi is the name of a tiger-like mountain god, while Mi is a swamp god with the head of a boar and the body of a human. Over time, the names of these gods combined and became a term for all kinds of monstrously shaped nature spirits. In Japan, chimi are considered to be a kind of mountain kami.

  • killnpc
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    these concepts are a lot of fun, really love this latest one.

  • Gotferdom
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    Thank you @killnpc i'm having fun making them.

  • Gotferdom
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    Last Yokai before i'm off for a couple of weeks holiday/




    Hajikkaki are pathetic looking yōkai with plump, white, hairless blobby bodies. They have round eyes and protruding fangs. They frequently cover their heads with their hands in a display of shame or embarrassment.

    Hajikkaki appear in a number of old yokai scrolls, such as the Bakemono tsukushi emaki. Like most of the yōkai found in scrolls, all that is recorded is a name and an illustration. Everything else about them is entirely speculation, added on later by storytellers and folklorists.

    Although nothing is written about hajikkaki, its illustrations are based on a Chinese spirit called the shahyōchū (謝豹虫). In Chinese folklore, shahyōchū are frog-like bugs which are born from the souls of people who died while feeling embarrassed. They are so shy that they spend their entire lives buried under the ground. If you should dig one up, it will bestow a curse of shame on you, and something terribly shameful or embarrassing will happen to you. Because hajikkaki’s name evokes the same feelings of shame, it’s possible that it was meant to be an artistic interpretation or reinvention of shahyōchū.

  • Gotferdom
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    Back from holiday and recharged. Double release of Yokai this week. Got a couple of commission so the next one might take some time.

    Ashiarai yashiki



    Translation: foot washing manor

    The ashiarai yashiki was a bizarre phenomenon which took place during the Edo Period in the neighborhood of Edo known as Honjo (present day Sumida Ward, Tōkyō). It is known as one of the “Seven Wonders of Honjo.”

    Long ago lived a hatamoto (a high-ranking samurai) named Aji no Kyūnosuke. One night at his manor in Honjo, a loud, booming voice was heard heard. It echoed like thunder:


    Just then there was a splintering crack, and the ceiling tore open. An enormous foot descended into the mansion. The foot was covered in thick, bristly hair, and it was filthy. The terrified servants scrambled to gather buckets, water, and rags. They washed the foot until it was thoroughly clean. Afterwards, the giant foot ascended up through the roof and disappeared.

    The following night, and every night thereafter, the same thing occurred. A booming voice would demand its foot be washed. A giant foot would crash through the roof. And the dutiful servants would wash it clean.

    A few nights of this was all that Aji no Kyūnosuke could take. He ordered his servants not to wash the foot anymore. That night, the foot crashed through the ceiling and demanded to be washed as usual. When it was ignored, it thrashed around violently, destroying vast swaths of the mansion’s roof in the process.

    Kyūnosuke complained to his friends about the nightly visitor and the destruction it was causing. They were very interested. One of them wanted to witness the event so badly that he offered to swap mansions with Kyūnosuke, and Kyūnosuke quickly agreed. However, after his friend moved in, the giant foot never appeared again.

    There’s no definite conclusion as to what caused this strange occurrence. It’s often blamed on a mischievous tanuki, for they have magical powers and they love playing tricks on people. On the other hand, “washing your feet” is also a Japanese idiom for rehabilitating a criminal. A culprit whose “feet have been washed” can be said to have paid his debt to society. One interpretation of this story might be that Aji no Kyūnosuke was doing something illegal, and this yōkai appeared to punish him.

  • Gotferdom
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    Translation: congratulations, long life

    Habitat: unknown

    Diet: unknown

    The kotobuki is an auspicious chimera whose body contains parts from all twelve animals of the zodiac. It has the head of a rat, the ears of a hare, the horns of an ox, the comb of a rooster, the beard of a sheep, the mane of a horse, the neck of a dragon, the back of a boar, the shoulders and belly of a tiger, the front legs of a monkey, the rear legs of a dog, and the tail of a snake.

    The kotobuki was first documented in the Edo period. Woodblock prints of it were popular gifts. Almost no explanation about the creature was included in these prints, other than that it was said to come from India, it could understand human speech, and was called kotobuki. Merely possessing an image of the kotobuki was thought to be enough to protect a person from sickness and disease.

    Good luck charms featuring the animals of the zodiac were popular during the Edo period. Even without a description, customers would recognize the twelve zodiac signs hidden in this beast. Further, the name kotobuki is a celebratory and congratulatory word, which makes this creature instantly identifiable as a powerful and auspicious creature

  • Gotferdom
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    Yokai No50, half way there.




    Translation: wicked mountain spirit

    Jami is a general term for evil spirits. They are a subset of of chimi, or mountain spirit, though they are much more renowned for their nastiness. The term is not a clearly defined one, but in general they are manifestations of the ill will of the mountains and forests, awoken in order to do harm to humans.

    Jami are truly wicked and harmful towards people. Because there are so many different wicked spirits that can be considered to be jami, there isn’t one particular behavior or danger specifically ascribed to all jami. However, one common trait is that jami are accompanied by sickness. They are capable of possessing and inhabiting human bodies, infecting sickness and disease upon their human hosts.

    Along with chimi and mōryō, jami first appear in ancient Chinese histories describing the nature spirits that roam the land. As Chinese culture began to influence Japanese culture, these ancient books became known to Japanese scholars, who incorporated their teachings into their own works. When these creatures were included in Japanese bestiaries and records, they became associated with various Japanese evil spirits.

    In the ancient Chinese hagiography Biographies of Divine Transcendents, a wise sage named Ōyō was able to cure sick people by drawing an image of a prison on the ground. He would then call the evil spirits out of the body of his patients. When the spirit came out, it would become trapped in the prison and the patient would be instantly cured of his sickness. The evil spirits trapped this way were said to be jami.

  • Gotferdom
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    Translation: unknown; possibly grimace

    Jūmen is an ugly yōkai which looks like a human male, except for a few key features. His ears are wide, protruding, and somewhat elephantine. He has red rings around his eyes, giving them a bloodshot, glaring look. His mouth is stretched wide, and his lips are fat and fishy. He is mostly bald, but has a bristly goatee, sideburns, and a mustache.

    Jūmen comes from the Bakemono tsukushi emaki, a scroll containing twelve yokai which are not found in other locations. Like the other yokai in that scroll, he is presented with a name and illustration only, leaving everything else about him up to the viewer’s imagination. His name is a mystery as well, with no meaning in it as written. However, when written with different kanji, the word jūmen could imply a bitter or sullen grimace. It is possible the artist name this yōkai with a play on words based on his ugly and sullen face.

  • Gotferdom
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    Remember my Twitch animation rendered in Unity a couple years ago?...Here's my Unreal Engine 5 version after a few weeks playing with it.

  • Gotferdom
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    Translation: mountains, trees, streams, and rocks spirits

    Alternate names: mizuha

    Habitat: streams, rivers, mountains, forests, graveyards, and wild areas all over Japan

    Diet: humans, particularly corpses

    Mōryō is a general term, like chimi, for a large number of nature spirits that live in the wilderness. In particular, while chimi refers to mountain and swamp spirits, mōryō refers to water spirits. They are said to look like children about three years old, with red or black skin, red eyes, long ears, and long, beautiful hair.

    Mōryō feed upon the bodies of dead humans. As such, they like to rob graves, digging corpses up out of the ground to feast upon the rotting innards. They also interrupt funerals, using magic to distract the attendees and stealing the corpses from their coffins while nobody is looking. Because of these behaviors, they are especially troublesome, and so special methods have been invented to prevent such disturbances to the deceased.

    Mōryō are afraid of oak trees and tigers. As a result of this, in ancient China it was common to plant oak trees in graveyards, and to adorn the roads leading into and out of graveyards with stone tigers. Additionally, prior to interring a casket in the ground, a servant would enter the grave hold and prod around with a spear to make sure no mōryō were hiding in the grave. These practices did not catch on in Japan.

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