Hello everyone! Tonight is the first of October, and for this site that means it’s time for A-Yokai-A-Day! Every day this month I will highlight a different yokai on this blog.
Our first yokai comes as a request from my Patreon backers. I get yokai requests every day from people who want me to do this yokai or that yokai, and if I had infinite time I would happily paint every single yokai everyone asked for. But I don’t have infinite time, so sadly I have to turn down most requests. I do try to make it a point to paint all of the yokai requests made by my Patreon backers, so (hint, hint) if you have a yokai you’d really like to see me cover, becoming a backer is a great way to make that happen!
When I first started A-Yokai-A-Day, the purpose was to showcase how Japanese people view ghosts and monsters during the month of October. Halloween is only recently becoming a thing in Japan, so it didn’t really have much to do with Halloween from a Japanese perspective—just the fact that I love Halloween and Halloween season, and these happen to be Japanese monsters. I often tried to pick out the strangest and most original creatures I could find. Well, today’s request was for an owl yokai, and I think that is an awesome way to start the Halloween season, because the owl is such an iconic staple of Halloween that to have an owl yokai seems to be a perfect way to yokai (which normally have nothing at all to do with Halloween) to the holiday.
There aren’t all that many bird yokai out there… As a bird lover I have looked quite a bit, and while of course there are some, comparatively there are fewer birds represented than other animals. The owl seems like such a perfect candidate for a yokai though; it has a creepy facial expression with its enormous, unmoving eyes; it flies around at night; it gives off a strange call; it rarely interacts with humans except for people who go into the woods… All of these are the perfect recipe for a good yokai. So I was happy when I did find a somewhat obscure owl yokai from Aomori Prefecture. Click on the illustration to see the entry on yokai.com:
Also, I’d like to give a special thanks to everyone who came out and visited my booth at the Collingswood Book Festival today (and a welcome to first-time readers of this blog!). I love meeting my readers face-to-face, and I hope that a few new yokai fans were made today.
If you like today’s yokai, thank my Patreon backers! If you want to see more like it, support my Patreon project, and you’ll get first-look access as well as behind-the-scenes info about how all of my paintings are created, and how I do my work on these illustrations and translations.