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Sketchbook: Gregory Stoffel

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  • Gotferdom
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    Hanzaki

    鯢魚

    はんざき

    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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    Mekurabe

    目競

    めくらべ


    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


    蛸入道

    たこにゅうどう


    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

    見越入道

    みこしにゅうどう


    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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    Nyoijizai

    如意自在

    にょいじざい

    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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    Chimi

    魑魅

    ちみ


    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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    killnpc interpolator

    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

    恥っかき

    はじっかき


    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

    足洗邸

    あしあらいやしき

    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:

    “WAAASH MYYY FOOOOOOT!”

    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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    Kotobuki

    寿

    ことぶき


    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.

    Jami

    邪魅

    じゃみ


    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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    Jūmen

    充面

    じゅうめん


    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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    Mōryō

    魍魎

    もうりょう


    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.


  • Gotferdom
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    Maikubi

    舞首

    まいくび


    Translation: dancing heads

    Habitat: the sea around Sagami Bay

    Diet: none; they are driven solely by anger

    Appearance: Maikubi are a trio of severed samurai heads which appear on the surface of the sea at night.

    Maikubi dance around in circles above the waves trying to bite one another. They spit flames from their mouths, making them especially visible at night. Their dancing creates large waves shaped like tomoe–a symbol that looks like a large comma.

    Maikubi bring bad luck as they dance on the sea. Shipwrecks and other sea disasters are said to occur more frequently when maikubi are nearby.

    Maikubi come from the local folklore of Manazuru, in Kanagawa Prefecture. They are also depicted in the illustrated Edo period ghost story collection Ehon hyakumonogatari.


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    Makuragaeshi

    枕返し

    まくらがえし


    Translation: pillow flipper

    Alternate names: makura kozō

    Habitat: bedrooms

    Diet: none


    Makuragaeshi are a kind of zashiki-warashi: a child ghost which haunts specific rooms of a house. They are found all over Japan, though details about them vary from region to region. They take the form of a small child dressed as a Niō, a monk, or a samurai, and appear in bedrooms late at night.

    Makuragaeshi gets it is named for its primary activity: flipping pillows. People who sleep in a room haunted by a makuragaeshi often wake up to find that their pillow has been flipped and is now at their feet. Makuragaeshi are also known for other minor pranks, such as running through ashes and leaving dirty footprints around the rooms they haunt.


    While most stories about makuragaeshi present them as harmless pranksters, there are a few stories that describe scarier powers. Some don’t flip the pillow, but lift up and flip people instead. Others pick up entire tatami mats that people are sleeping on and bounce them around. Still others are said to sit on their victim’s chest while he or she sleeps, pressing down hard and squeezing the wind out of the lung. They occasionally cause kanashibari, or sleep paralysis. The most extreme stories say that anyone who sees a makuragaeshi loses consciousness, after which the makuragaeshi steals their soul, leaving them dead.

    There are as many theories as to where makuragaeshi come from as there are variants of zashiki-warashi. Most often they linked to the ghosts of people — particularly children — who died in the room they come to haunt. As makuragaeshi are generally lower in rank than zashiki-warashi, they are often the result of ghosts which died tragically, such as murder victims. However, some makuragaeshi have also been attributed to shape-shifting, prank-loving yokai such as tanuki or saru. Others still have attributed this spirit to the actions of monster cats such as kasha.


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    Appossha

    あっぽっしゃ


    Translation: from a phrase meaning “give me mochi”

    Habitat: underwater, in the Sea of Japan

    Diet: omnivorous


    The appossha is a scary monster which appears in the village of Koshino in Fukui prefecture. It resembles a red oni, with a large head and dark, kelp-like hair. It wears the clothing typical of a workman.

    Appossha live in the Sea of Japan off of Fukui prefecture. They appear on land once a year, on Koshōgatsu—a holiday celebrating the first full moon of the lunar new year. On this night, the appossha crawl out of the sea and wander the village streets, banging iron tea kettles and chanting, “Appossha!” The travel from house to house, demanding food and threatening children. They ask each house if there are any ill-mannered children living there that they can take back to the sea with them. Once a household’s children have been thoroughly scared, the parents give a gift of mochi to the appossha and it leaves.


    Origin: The appossha tradition is said to come from long ago, when a sailor from a foreign land was shipwrecked and swam ashore in Fukui prefecture. He traveled from door to door begging for food. The name “appossha” is thought to be a heavily accented variation of the foreigner’s words, asking for some mochi to eat: “Appo (mochi) hoshiya (want).”


    The appossha is part of a family of oni-like yōkai which are found all over Japan, but especially along the Sea of Japan coast. The namahage of Akita Prefecture are the most famous example. In nearby Ishikawa and Niigata Prefectures, similar yōkai named amamehagi can be found. In Yamagata they are known as amahage. Although the minor details (such as where the yōkai come from) differ, the key parts of each story are the same: these yōkai come from the wilderness around the new year, scare young children, and leave once offered a gift from the villagers.


    Appossha are an example of a type of creature called a marebito. In Japanese folk religion, marebito are divine spirits—demons, gods, or otherwise—which come from the world of the dead to visit our world at set times. Some deliver prophecies or bring gifts, others bring disaster. The strange foreign spirit is welcomed as a guest, fed, sheltered, and treated kindly and respectfully. Sometimes they are revered as gods. Their coming is often welcomed in the form of festivals and rituals. Although the marebito folk religion is no longer practiced today, aspects of it are still a visible part of Japanese culture. Yōkai like the appossha and namahage, and festivals like Obon have preserved many of the elements of this ancient folk religion.


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    Kawa Tengu

    川天狗

    かわてんぐ


    Translation: river tengu

    Habitat: riverbanks

    Diet: fish


    Appearance: Kawa tengu are tengu which make their homes along riverbanks and lakesides in eastern Japan. They look like other tengu–vaguely birdlike, with dark feathers. They usually remain invisible to humans, but are sometimes spotted on cloudy or rainy days wearing beautiful kimono and carrying umbrellas.


    Behavior: Kawa tengu spend their days alone on the riverside, sitting on the rocks and watching the water as if deep in thought. At night they catch fish. They create magical fireballs called tengubi which float above the water and act like lures. They are fond of creating auditory hallucinations, and are more often heard than seen. The sound of nonexistent rapids or waterfalls coming from valleys is often the work of kawa tengu.


    Interactions: Kawa tengu enjoy playing pranks on humans, but rarely do any real harm. They use magic to scare people away if they get too close. If a fisherman casts his net near where a kawa tengu is fishing, it will create illusionary torchlights and the sounds of crowds of people to draw them away. If children play too close to where a kawa tengu is sitting, it will scare them away with illusions–for example, a giant, black monk emerging from the forest chanting, “Children, children!”


    If a person purposefully goes looking for a kawa tengu, the pranks can become more direct. Someone leaning over a riverbank looking for a kawa tengu will suddenly lose their footing and stumble head-over-heels into the river. They also create illusory bridges, causing people who try to cross them to tumble and suffer injuries.


    Some villagers leave offerings of freshly caught fish by the riverside, or wash the large boulders along the banks. After doing this, the kawa tengu leave them alone.


    Legends: Along the Tama River in western Tōkyō, there was a kawa tengu who could be seen every day sitting by a deep pool, lost in contemplation. One spring, however, he mysteriously vanished. In the fall of that year, the kawa tengu returned to his rock, although now he was accompanied by a beautiful young female tengu. A villager offered the pair a nice bowl and tray set as a wedding gift, and the tengu thanked them by teaching them how to make an effective fever medication from worms.


    A fisherman was walking along the Tama River, returning home after a day’s work. His pack was filled to the brim with fish. Suddenly he heard a strange sound like a person splashing in the water behind him. He put down his heavy pack to investigate. There was nobody there. After deciding he must have been hearing things, the fisherman shouldered his pack and continued on his way, but it was much lighter than it had been a moment ago. He looked inside, and all of the fish were gone. He had caught so many fish that he angered a kawa tengu, who took them all back.


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    Makuwauri no Bakemono

    真桑瓜の化物

    まくわうりのばけもの


    Translation: oriental melon monster


    Makuwauri no bakemono is a bizarre and mysterious yokai found in the Buson yōkai emaki. It looks like an oriental melon (Cucumis melo) with the body of a samurai sprouting from it.

    Buson yōkai emaki is a famous yōkai picture scroll painted by Yosa Buson, a poet and artist who lived from 1716 to 1784. He is considered one of the greatest poets of the Edo Period. In the 1750’s, while studying painting at Kenshōji in Miyazu, Kyōto, Buson painted a scroll containing eight graffiti-like doodles of bizarre yōkai. His doodles are presented as pictures with names and no stories, so the true origin of these yōkai remains a mystery. They are believed to be based upon local legends that Buson picked during on his travels.


    The illustration of this yōkai in Buson’s painting notes that it comes from the river ferry in what is today Yamashiro village in Kizugawa City, Kyōto. Whatever specific connection this yōkai had with the area is unfortunately lost. The region was historically famous for it’s melons, so it is only natural that it may have had melon yōkai as well.


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    Mikari Baba

    箕借り婆

    みかりばば


    Translation: winnowing basket borrowing hag

    Alternate names: mikawari baba, mekari baba (“eye borrowing hag”)

    Habitat: villages in Eastern Japan

    Diet: whatever scraps they can steal


    Appearance: Mikari baba are greedy yōkai from the Kantō Region who look like old women missing one eye. They often wear dilapidated old straw hats and coats, and carry a flaming torch in their mouths. They appear in the winter and creep into villages to steal raincoats, winnowing baskets and eyes from people.

    Behavior: Like many one-eyed yōkai, mikari baba are afraid of objects that have many holes in them. This includes things like bamboo sieves and woven cages. It is thought that the holes resemble many eyes, so the mikari baba with its single eye is afraid of them.

    Mikari baba are one of the few yōkai which are known to work together with other yōkai. They often appear together with the small one-eyed yōkai hitotsume kozō. The two of them travel from house to house during the winter, writing the names of families in a ledger which they present to the gods a few weeks later. The gods then use this report to mete out sickness and misfortune to people as they see fit.

    Interactions: Mikari baba go from house to house like beggars, asking to borrow a coat, or a winnowing basket, or even just a few grains of rice. They are so greedy that they will scour gardens for every single last grain of rice. In doing so they put their faces so close to the ground that the torch they carry in their mouth can ignite fires. They will even try to “borrow” an eye from a person’s head.

    In Chiba, Kanagawa, Tōkyō and other places where mikari baba are said to appear, villagers stay at home and remain quiet on these days. Loud voices, lighting lamps, hairdressing, and bathing are avoided. Leaving the house after dark and entering the mountains are forbidden. Measures are taken to discourage mikari baba from approaching the house. Bamboo baskets, sieves, and other woven objects with many “eyes” in them are hung outside of houses or placed on tall bamboo poles throughout villages in order to scare mikari baba away. Fallen grains of rice on the floor and in the gardens are gathered and made into a dango, which is then placed in the doorway to show that there is no rice left to pick up. If even a single grain of rice is left on the ground, it will attract a greedy mikari baba.

    Mikari baba only appear on fixed dates during the year. The dates vary from tradition to tradition, but usually fall on the eighth day of the second or twelfth month of the lunisolar calendar. These dates are rooted in ancient religious practices surrounding new year rituals, and are referred to as kotoyōka–”eighth day events”–although most places have their own name for these special dates.


  • Gotferdom
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    Gotferdom polycounter lvl 6

    Keukegen

    毛羽毛現

    けうけげん

    Translation: hairy, fluffy sight; alternatively, rare and dubious thing

    Habitat: damp homes, dirty gardens, moldy closets, under floorboards

    Diet: mold, dirt, and garbage

    Appearance: Keukegen are filthy monsters commonly found in populated areas. They are the size of a small dog and appear as a mass of long, dirty hair. Keukegen make their homes in cool, damp, dark places; they are particularly fond of living under floorboards and around run-down homes, where stuffiness, moisture, and lack of human activity create the perfect breeding place for sickness.

    Behavior: Despite their apparent cuteness, Keukegen do not make good pets. They are actually a kind of minor spirit of bad luck, disease, and pestilence. They bring sickness and bad health to those whom they live near. Being shy by nature, they try to avoid human contact and are rarely seen. Those who claim to have seen them are often accused of overactive imaginations. However, their proximity is apparent when members of a household mysteriously fall sick or have a run of bad luck. Keukegen are easy to avoid, however. Just clean your house. Keukegen keep away from clean, kempt houses.


  • Gotferdom
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    Happy Thanksgiving :grinning:

    Here's Inugami, Yokai No60 in the collection and last minor Yokai.


    I will now take a little break to attend to some commissions and other personal projects.

    Will be back on those Yokai probably beginning of January.

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    Inugami

    犬神

    いぬがみ


    Translation: dog god, dog spirit

    Alternate names: in’game, irigami

    Habitat: towns and cities; usually in the service of wealthy families

    Diet: carnivorous, though they are usually starved on purpose


    Appearance: Inugami are a kind of familiar, or spirit of possession, which are found in Kyushu, Shikoku, and elsewhere in West Japan. In public, an inugami looks identical to an ordinary dog in order to blend in with society. However, its true form is that of a desiccated, mummified dog’s head, often dressed up in ceremonial trappings. This is kept safe (and away from prying eyes) in a secret shrine in its owner’s house.


    Behavior: Inugami have much in common with other familiars, such as shikigami and kitsune-tsuki. Inugami are more commonly used in areas where foxes are not found, such as major population centers. There is even evidence of an ancient tradition of Inugami worship stretching from Western Japan down to Okinawa. Powerful sorcerers were said to be able to create these spirits through monstrous ceremonies and use them to all sorts of nefarious deeds. Inugami serve their masters loyally, performing tasks just like a faithful dog. They are loyal to one person or one family only, and unless seriously mistreated they remain loyal forever; these spirits can be passed down from generation to generation like an heirloom.


    The technique for creating these fetishes was passed down along bloodlines, and such families are known as inugami-mochi. These families would keep their inugami hidden in the back rooms of their houses, under their beds, in dressers, or hidden among water jars. It is said that a family owned as many inugami as there were members of the household, and when a new person joined the family, they too received their own familiar. Inugami were treated like family members by inugami-mochi families, and most of the time would quickly run out to do their master’s bidding any time their master wanted something. However, like living dogs, occasionally a resentful inugami might betray a master that grew too abusive or domineering, savagely biting him to death. And while inugami, like other familiar spirits, were created to bring wealth and prosperity to their families, occasionally they might also cause a family to fall into ruin.


    Interactions: Like other tsukimono, or possession spirits, inugami are beings of powerful emotion and are very good at possessing emotionally unstable or weak people. They do so usually by entering through the ears and settling into the internal organs. People who have found themselves possessed by an inugami — or even if it was only suspected that a person might be possessed — were in for some serious misfortune. The only way to be cured of inugami-tsuki is to hire another sorcerer to remove it. This could take a very, very long time and involve a lot of money. Signs of inugami possession include chest pain, pain in the hands, feet, or shoulders, feelings of deep jealousy, and suddenly barking like a dog. Some victims develop intense hunger and turn into gluttons, and it is said that people who die while possessed by an inugami are found with markings all over their body resembling the teeth and claw marks of a dog. Not only humans, but animals like cows and horses, or even inanimate objects, can be possessed by inugami. Tools possessed by such a spirit become totally and completely unusable.


    Practicing this sort of black magic was illegal and strongly frowned upon, although that didn’t stop the aristocracy from dabbling in sorcery, known as onmyōdō. If an inugami-mochi family was even suspected of cursing another family, the accused person would be forced to apologize and leave his comfortable estate to live on the outskirts of town, secluded from family, friends, and the comfortable aristocratic life. Even if the alleged victim was eventually cured of his possession, the accused (and all of his offspring for all generations to follow) usually had to maintain a solitary lifestyle, outcast from the rest of society, to be viewed by others as wicked and tainted.


    Origin: How long the practice of creating inugami begun is unknown. However, by the Heian period (some 1000 years ago, at the height of classical Japanese civilization) the practice had already been outlawed along with the use of other animal spirits as tools of sorcery. According to legend, the creation of an inugami is accomplished like this: the head of a starved dog must be cut off (often this was accomplished by chaining a dog up just out of reach of some food, or else burying it up to its neck, so that it would go berserk out of desperate hunger and its head could be cut off at the point of greatest desperation). Then, the severed head is buried in the street — usually a crossroads where many people pass. The trampling of hundreds or thousands of people over this buried head would add to its stress and cause the animal’s spirit to transform into an onryō (a powerful maleficent spirit). Occasionally these severed heads were said to escape and fly about, chasing after food, animated solely by the onryō’s anger — such was the power of the dog’s hunger. The head was then baked or dried and enshrined in a bowl, after which the spirit could be used as a kind of fetish by a wicked sorcerer, doing whatever he or she commanded for the rest of time.


  • Gotferdom
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    Gotferdom polycounter lvl 6

    Here's a look at the current collection. 40 more to go :sweat_smile:


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