A-Yokai-A-Day: Nikurashi

There’s just over a week left of October and A-Yokai-A-Day! I can’t believe how fast this month flies by every year. I think there must be a yokai responsible for confusing one’s sense of time passing.

Anyway, today’s yokai is an interesting one. It reminds me of the “two-face” from season 9 of Seinfeld. It’s not the first yokai of its type that we’ve seen on my blog or yokai.com, as you will see.

Read on!


possibly “detestable”

Nikurashi appears to be a female yokai. She wears a women’s kimono. It’s hanging off of her shoulders sensuously, nearly exposing her breasts. She appears to be tossing her hair in the wind like in a shampoo commercial. Panning upwards towards her face we can see—OH GOD WHAT IS THAT! Her face is puckered and bloated like a catfish, her neck is like E.T.’s, her ears are elephantine, and her hair is disheveled. Ew and she’s get pudgy bestial claws instead of dainty lady’s fingers!

If you’ve got a copy of The Hour of Meeting Evil Spirits, you may remember a similar yokai invented by Toriyama Sekien called iyaya. Like iyaya, nikurashi appears to be a “gotcha” yokai—as in, she appears to be a sexy, sensuous lady at first, but then GOTCHA! She’s a hideous beast! Of course there’s no way to tell for sure what the artists’ original intention was, since there is no description of this yokai, it’s as a good a guess as any.

Looking at the name, nikurashi doesn’t mean anything in itself, but it is very similar to another word—nikurashii—which means hateful, horrible, detestable. That certainly describes the feeling of revulsion one more shallow than you or I might feel as they eye up a seemingly beautiful person only to discover the hideous, monstrous face and hands. It also echos the naming scheme of Sekien’s iyaya. I’d like to think iyaya and nikurashi are cousins or even sisters on the yokai family tree.

Want more yokai? Visit yokai.com and check out my yokai encyclopedias on amazon.com! Still want more? You can sign up for my Patreon project to support my yokai work, get original yokai postcards and prints, and even make requests for which yokai I paint next!

Leave a Reply