A-Yokai-A-Day: Hitotsume-kozo

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The October air has been so wonderful this week, especially out here in the countryside. Nighttime air is sweet and cool and fresh, and the October harvest moon — important in Chinese and Japanese culture — was absolutely beautiful last weekend. These nights are the reason October is my favorite month, and why I’m so looking forward to Halloween. Today’s yokai captures, I hope, that feeling of a ghostly October night.

This is Hitotsume-kozo, a kind of ghostly cyclops. They appear as roughly 10-year old boys and resemble bald Buddhist priests. These yokai are fairly harmless, enjoying running around and spooking humans, or yelling at them to be quiet. However, these monsters are generally said to be bad omens, so encounters with them are to be avoided. In that respect, you should hang a basket above your doorway. Apparently these repel hitotsume-kozo, as the many holes in the basket represent many eyes, and the hitotsume-kozo will run away in jealousy and shame at having only one eye.


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