Today was a busy day! I woke up early to do a cable TV interview at my studio, and it ended up taking 4 hours to finish. And all the rest of my day was spent doing this very detailed painting! I was worried I wouldn’t finish by midnight, and on the very first yokai of the month! But I managed to finish up with 30 minutes to spare. So without further ado, I bring you:
Our first yokai of the month comes from Kyushu, the third largest island of Japan, and the most southwesterly of the main four islands (excluding Okinawa). Isonade, whose name means “beach stroker” in English (and although it sounds like some of kind of summertime criminal pervert, the actual monster is much scarier than that), is a huge shark-like sea monster with barbed iron hooks on its tail which it uses to snatch sailors off of ships or to sink boats. It also uses its tail to strike the beach and snag people there as well, which is most likely where it got its name from.
If we were to analyze the myth, it might have originated due to the fact that Kyushu and the southern coast of Japan are highly vulnerable to typhoons and summer storms, which were be very destructive to ancient boats (there are stories of entire navies being swallowed up by the sea in Japanese history), which could have been responsible for the disappearance of sailors, swimmers, or even entire boats. Or who knows, there could be an actual giant, iron-barbed, man-eating shark-monster in the waters off of southwestern Japan!
Isonade prints will be available on my Etsy store soon. Check back again later this week! If you’re interested in buying the original, please send me an email via my contact form.