A-Yokai-A-Day: Kaze no mushi

If you’d like to join me and many others in painting a yokai a day this month, all you have to do is paint, draw, or create any yokai you like, and share it using the hashtag #ayokaiaday. There’s no set list of yokai you have to paint, but you’re free to browse yokai.com or any other yokai resource and choose your favorites.


Kaze no mushi
風邪の虫

Translation: cold* worm (as in “the common cold,” not temperature)

Kaze no mushi lives in the liver and the spleen. It has a blue-green head (blue-green being the color associated in Chinese elemental theory with the liver) and a yellow belly (yellow being the color associated with the spleen).

Kaze no mushi causes fevers and great thirst. Whether it is the fever and thirst of a terrible cold, or the heat and thirst one feels after sex, it’s caused by this worm.

Kaze no mushi has no patience or self restraint, and it passes that trait on to those who it infects. They overindulge in eating meat (a forbidden food under Buddhist teachings and throughout a good portion of Japan’s history), which causes their skin to become yellow (just like the belly of this worm). They overindulge in sex (another impropriety in Buddhism). Such people are essentially unable to resist their various appetites.

This infection can be treated with ginseng (Panax ginseng) and the stems and roots of Chinese licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis).

*The word kaze is the same as the word for the common cold.


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