Shachihoko

Greetings yokai fans!
Today I bring you the shachihoko, aka the shachi.

It has a pretty simple history, but it does tie back both to China and India, so it does go back quite a ways. Interestingly, its history is not very commonly known in Japan, and most people just think of it as a neat-looking sea monster, or else as a medieval representation of the killer whale (the killer whale was named for this creature, actually, not the other way around).

Anyway, enjoy!

Shachihoko

This post was made possible by the generous support of my Patreon backers. If you like yokai and want to learn more, please consider pledging $1 or more per month to support my work.

In addition to the warm, fuzzy feeling patrons get by being a backer of an awesome project, they also get access to my private Patreon steam, which has more details about each yokai, their history, and my creation process—including sketches, line art, and high-resolution artwork. Higher tier backers also get monthly postcards with hand-drawn yokai doodles, art prints, and even original paintings. Click below to learn more!

Become a Patron!

Jinja hime

Greetings yokai fans!

Today I bring you the jinja hime!

She’s pretty straightforward, so I’ll let the post and the picture do most of the talking. What I really like about this one is that it hearkens back to the kudan, which was the very first yokai that I did in the Patreon project! I chose kudan back then because I thought it would be nice to have an auspicious yokai be the start (and also because I just loved the way kudan looks with his dopey cow face). As it turns out, jinja hime is likely the origin of the kudan! She, too, has an adorably dopey face, which I hope I captured well.

This post was made possible by the generous support from my Patreon backers. If you like yokai and want to learn more, please consider pledging $1 per month to support my work.

Become a Patron!

Daidarabotchi

Greetings yokai fans!

Today I present to you April’s last yokai (though it will be May by the time most of you read this…) — the Daidarabotchi!

This is a giant like the onyudo or umibozu from The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons, only its much bigger! You could call it a giant giant!

This one is pretty fun because of all of the local lore about it. Just about everywhere in Japan has a local name for this guy, as well as local legends about this mountain or that lake being formed thousands of years ago by a giant. I noted a few of them in the entry, but the list is just far to long to include every single one.

I actually went hiking in Yatsugatake a few years back, but at that time I didn’t realize that it had been created when a daidarabotchi lay down to rest his aching back. If only I had known!!

This post was made possible by the generous support from my Patreon backers. If you like yokai and want to learn more, please consider pledging $1 per month to support my work.

Become a Patron!

Omukade

Greetings yokai fans!

I have to admit that this yokai was a little hard to do, because centipedes freak me out. Especially the centipedes over here, which give me actual nightmares. If you can picture a huge, think centipede over 8 inches long with bright orange legs and and head, you’ll have some idea. Also, they are fast, and very aggressive, so they will actually chase after humans! They can’t be killed easily. Even if you cut them up, they will still run around for 30 minutes or more. You can burn them, boil them, but they just don’t die. And if you squash them, they release pheromones that attract more of them to come. They like to hide in shoes, bedsheets, toilets, bathtubs, and clothes drawers… so basically anywhere that you are most vulnerable. They also drop down from the ceiling onto people. They are venomous, and their bites are extremely painful. If a big one bites you on the chest or head, you have to go to the hospital.

So yeah… there is at least one thing I don’t like about Japan.

On the plus side, today we get to hear about our old from Fujiwara no Hidesato, who you may remember from the Dodomeki  and Taira no Masakado  entries!

This post was made possible by the generous support from my Patreon backers. If you like yokai and want to learn more, please consider pledging $1 per month to support my work.

Become a Patron!

Yasha

Greetings, yokai fans!

Today I bring you the yasha. As I mentioned in the sketch post, it was hard to pin down a depiction of yasha, since the imagery has changed quite a bit — everything from and Indian-style god, to a Chinese warrior, to an oni, and a hannya. I went with the Chinese warrior style, partially because it fits with the style I have used for the other Indian imports, and also because the most common place you see yasha is in temple sculptures, which take on this style of depiction. The yasha that look like oni and kijo seem to be, for the most part, generic ghost or demon stories that were later attributed to yasha, or just a use of the word yasha to denote an evil spirit, but not necessarily the specific yasha we’re talking about here.

It was hard to resist the urge to paint a ghost-like yasha, though. Particularly because of this movie: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079041/ Yasha ga Ike, known as “Demon Lake” in English (it should be “Yasha Lake,” of course). The small, remote village in that movie is actually right here in Fukui prefecture, so that movie has a special place in my heart. I’m a sucker for the local legends.

This post was made possible by the generous support from my Patreon backers. If you like yokai and want to learn more, please consider pledging $1 per month to support my work.

Become a Patron!

Karyobinga

Greetings yokai fans!

The cherry blossoms are beginning to fall from their branches this week, and the parks and rivers around here are so beautiful! This is a big festival week, of course, and neighborhoods around me are all having small block parties. Fukui’s “historical parade” takes place this weekend, when all the streets are closed off, and people wearing historical costumes parade from the castle, through the town, and up the mountain behind my house. It’s a fun festival, and I’m excited that this year I get to live right next to the parade route!

This painting took a little while because I was having trouble calling it finished. Finally, after taking a long walk under the cherry blossoms, I realized that it was missing a certain amount of motion. So I added the falling flowers and petals and all of a sudden the painting felt finished. So here it is: the karyobinga!

This post was made possible by the generous support from my Patreon backers. If you like yokai and want to learn more, please consider pledging $1 per month to support my work.

Become a Patron!

Kotobuki

Greetings yokai fans!

I previously introducted the sketch of this as “ju,” which is another reading of the kanji for its name. However, when looking up information about it, it seems that in Japanese, kotobuki is the more common version of its name. This makes sense, as kotobuki is a common word and contains the celebratory and congratulatory nuance that this creature conveys.

Also, happy birthday to Kim, who requested this yokai. I hope it brings you good luck on your birthday!

Oh, one more thing! March marks the end of the first quarter, which means those of you in the $30+ patron category are going to get your physical goods shipped to you in April! As I mentioned before moving, I’ve been exploring the possibility of offering alternative rewards instead of simply three prints. A popular suggestion was to get original paintings instead of prints. Many of you messaged me to say that you loved the handmade inkbrush kenmun postcards. I’m really glad to hear that! So I figured that getting another original painting would be appealing for some of you.

I made a number of yokai paintings a few years ago, before I moved to the US. I kept them in storage here in Japan, and now that I’m here again, I’m displaying them in my art studio. Some of you who are very long-time supporters of my art purchased some of these paintings back before Night Parade was published! So if you’re interested in getting an original yokai painting this month instead of a set of three yokai prints, please let me know! Or, if you have a preference of three prints, please let me know what you’d like.

Ok, on to today’s yokai!

This post was made possible by the generous support from my Patreon backers. If you like yokai and want to learn more, please consider pledging $1 per month to support my work.

Become a Patron!