A-Yokai-A-Day: Kosamebo

The Kickstarter rolls along, having completed one full week. Today, a new stretch goal has been unlocked: double the yokai postcards! Check it out!

“light rain monk”

Toriyama Sekien’s kosamebō

Kosamebō is a monk/priest yokai which appears in the mountains on drizzly nights. When a traveler passes near this yokai, it accosts them and begs for alms in the form of small change or food.

Toriyama Sekien specifically mentions Mount Ōmine and Mount Katsuragi—two holy mountains in the shugendō religion—as places where kosamebō may be encountered. However, other authors have mentioned kosamebō encountered in the Tsugaru area of Tōhoku, and other mountain ranges, so it does not appear to be limited to specific mountains or religious sects.

It should be noted that this yokai doesn’t do anything other than beg for coins or a bite to eat. It also doesn’t actually summon the rain, like other rain yokai do (ame onna, amefuri kozō)—it just appears on rainy nights. This begs the question: where is the yokai in all of this?? It sounds to me just like a regular old beggar monk!

Still, in his illustration, the kosamebō does look positively monstrous, and it’s fair to say that not all yōkai necessarily perform amazing tricks or feats. I suppose I can give this guy a pass. And far be it for me to question Toriyama Sekien!

My sketch of kosamebo, which will eventually become part of my Patreon project

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