It’s hard to believe how fast this month is going by! I guess it’s true that keeping busy is the best way to lose track of time (is that a saying?). We’re nearing the 2/3 point of the month, and that means that the 2nd section of A-Yokai-A-Day will be coming to an end soon. First we looked at animalian yokai, then we moved into more monstrous and ghostly yokai, and in the next few days we will be gradually transitioning into phase three: scary women! To kick it off, today’s yokai straddles that border; she is both scary woman and horrible monster.
Literally “wet woman,” nure-onna is something you should hope never to run into. Normally she is a solitary yokai, but occasionally it is said she works together with one of the crab-like ushi-oni. She’s a clever shapeshifter and disguises herself as a beautiful woman in need to help — usually carrying a baby, waiting by a lake or a river or the sea, and sometimes baby-less and combing her hair by herself. When an unsuspecting human comes by and offers to help her, or disturbs her, she begins her attack! If she is carrying a baby, she will ask her would-be savior to carry it for her. Then, the baby will grow heavier and heavier until the human is unable to move under its weight. Examining the bundle will reveal it to be only a pile of rocks wrapped in clothes, but by the time her victim realizes this, it is too late. She will have revealed her true form: a huge, snake-like body up to 300 meters long, and a long serpentine tongue! The final blow comes from her tongue, which she uses to drain all the blood from her victim.
So let that be a warning to you: never to offer kindness to a lone Japanese woman in distress!
One more announcement: my Etsy store has been fully updated with a 2nd batch of yokai from this month’s creations. The prints are quite beautiful and make great Halloween presents at a very good price! Don’t forget to check them out!