We’ve been under the shadow of a typhoon for the past few days, which has given us a welcome respite from the sweltering heat and scorching sun we’ve had this month. Thinking of the typhoon always makes me think of the tropics, and of my college years in Florida, so I painted this tropical yokai, the Kijimunaa, a native of Okinawa.
Kijimunaa live in Banyan trees, which also remind me of Florida. Our campus had a huge old banyan tree that was great for climbing. You could climb up to the roof of the school in that tree as long as no security guards were around.
These yokai are the quintessential forest boys. They’re almost a South Pacific version of Link. They live in trees, often near human villages, and occasionally do good deeds for virtuous human beings. They are excellent fishers, and help fishermen bring in catches. They are also tricksters and magicians, and have a very short fuse — once you anger a Kijimunaa, it will hate you for the rest of its life. One way to anger it is to refuse to come out and play when it asks you, no matter what time of day or night. Another way is to fart in its presence, which they really hate!
Their favorite food is fish eyes, so if you happen upon a beach and find some dead fish with no eyes, that’s a sign Kijimunaa are around!