It’s time to unveil my super-secret project that I have been planning in my head for months now, and should most certainly have preceded with more fanfare. I’ve been fascinated with Japanese monsters, yokai, for a very long time now, and October is my favorite month, for the weather, the smells, the sights, and of course, my favorite day of the year: Halloween. So in honor of Halloween, I’ve decided to make October a sort of yokai month. Every single day this month I am going to paint a yokai and post it here. It’s a big project, but it should be a lot of fun!
And that brings me too my first yokai-of-the-month: Nurarihyon. Nurarihyon is a great little guy. It’s said he is the most powerful of all yokai, and some also say he is the leader of the yokai. Nurarihyon looks like an old man with a gourd-shaped head. He sneaks into people’s houses and acts like he owns the place, drinking all their sake and smoking all their tobacco. I have no idea what happens if you walk in on a nurarihyon breaking into your liquor cabinet, but I imagine he’d just act like it was totally natural. The main reason I picked him is because he’s my wife’s favorite yokai, but there’s also something quite fun about painting wrinkly, stinky old men. Incidentally, my nurarihyon is drinking Kirin’s Aki Aji, my favorite beer (probably because of the beautiful can) which is only available in the fall.
This should be a fun project, so check back every day for more yokai. You can also look them up in Wikipedia and the Obakemono Project. And my favorite source for yokai-inspired artwork is Pink Tentacle, which frequently posts collections of old Japanese art.