A-Yokai-A-Day: Yanari

We’re about 2/3 through the month now, and about 2/3 through the Kickstarter for The Hour of Meeting Evil Spirits! Any day now it looks like we’ll be reaching the 500% funding mark, which means… five extra yokai! Can’t wait to hear what they’ll be? Well, you’ll have to join the Kickstarter project for that!

Yanari (家鳴, やなり)

Yanari are the things that go bump in the night. In the West we might call them poltergeists or gremlins. They come out at night — especially in brand new, wood-construction homes which haven’t had time to be lived in. They bang the floors, bump the walls, knocking things over as they prance about. They are energetic and take their work very seriously, exerting every ounce of their tiny strength to make a chair squeak or a cup fall off of a table. They don’t really do anything bad, but some people might consider their pranks going too far if something precious and delicate gets smashed by a yanari (who is only doing his job, after all!).

Their name is a combination of 家 (house) and 鳴 (to chirp like a bird), so yanari could roughly be translated as “house squeakers” — I think this name is pretty befitting their status. Since the Edo period they have been depicted as tiny little oni (Japanese demons), wearing tiny animal skins and rough-spun tunics, carrying tiny mallets and iron clubs (known as kanebō).

Despite their mischief, they are considered cute and widely adored by Japanese yokai fans everywhere!

Yanari

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3 thoughts on “A-Yokai-A-Day: Yanari”

  1. Hi Yanarie! Your name is not likely related to this yokai at all, as the word Yanari is not written with kanji that would normally be used for a name. However, you can feel free to say that you are named for this yokai! 😉

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