Yōkai 101 Zoom Lecture

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*FREE (ENGLISH PROGRAM)

It’s August, and that means it’s Obon season and the perfect time to learn about Japanese folklore! Join us for a special program dedicated to yōkai, supernatural entities and spirits that appear in many Japanese tales. Yōkai play an important role in modern Japan, as they not only appear in folklore narratives told to children, but also feature in video games, manga, and anime. Yōkai have become increasingly popular in the U.S. with the spread of Japanese pop culture, like the video game series Yokai Watch.

Professor Michael Dylan Foster from UC Davis will be sharing his knowledge on the world of yōkai along with Matthew Meyer, a popular yōkai artist. This is a great opportunity to learn more about Japanese folklore, its traditional roots, and how both still play a role in Japan today!

世界でも数少ない日本研究のアメリカ人民俗学者 カリフォルニア大学デービス校のマイケル・ディラン・フォスター氏、そして、浮世絵調の自作イラストに英語の解説を付し日本の妖怪を世界に発信しているアーティスト、マット・マイヤー氏がアメリカでもじわじわと人気がでている日本の妖怪について語ります。(無料:英語プログラム)

Date and Time
U.S. – Monday, August 16th, 2021 @ 4:30PM (PDT)
Japan – Tuesday, August 17th, 2021 @ 8:30AM (Japan Time)

Price
FREE! (Zoom link will be sent upon registration)

Register online here.

Last Chance to Pre-order The Fox’s Wedding!

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The preorder store for my 4th illustrated yokai encyclopedia, The Fox’s Wedding, is closing on May 1st.

If you missed the Kickstarter but still want to pre-order The Fox’s Wedding, or the limited print hardcovers & collector’s editions of all 4 of my books, visit kitsune.backerkit.com to place a pre-order.

After May 1st, The Fox’s Wedding and my other books will only be available in paperback and ebook formats.

The Fox’s Wedding on Kickstarter

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My fourth book, The Fox’s Wedding, is now funding on Kickstarter!

Click here to visit the Kickstarter page and become a backer. You can order paperback, hardcover, ebook, and special Kickstarter-only collector’s editions of all 4 of my books!

Coming Soon: The Fox’s Wedding

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Coming soon!

My fourth book, The Fox’s Weddinglaunches December 1st on Kickstarter. It follows the same format as my previous books, and backer levels have been simplified to make pledging for exactly what you want easier than ever. You can pick up copies of all 4 of my books in paperback, hardcover, ebook, and even the limited edition slipcased collector’s editions. Don’t miss it!

Visit the link above to sign up for an email notification for when the project launches!

A-Yokai-A-Day 2020 Lineup

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Thanks for reading A-Yokai-A-Day, Pandemic Edition. 2020 has been a rough year, but at least we live in an age where we know more about diseases and cures than ever before. Let’s be glad we are not treating COVID-19 with magic, needles, and herbs.

These days, most people don’t believe in yokai worms like we’ve looked at this month. However, the idea lives on in every day Japanese. For instance, children who cry or have bad tempers for no apparent reason are said to be infected with “kan no mushi.” And fits of anger or irritability are still called “kanshaku.” And while the ideas seem archaic, there are plenty of people alive today who received charms, blessings, or even acupuncture or moxibustion when they were children in order to exorcise evil mushi. The past is not as far gone as we think!

Here is a line up of all of the infectious yokai parasites we looked at this month:

Thanks for reading! And thanks to everyone who participated in #ayokaiaday on social media too. It was great fun to see everyone’s renditions of various yokai.

If you enjoyed A-Yokai-A-Day and want to keep getting yokai all year round, become a patron and support my work! Visit patreon.com/osarusan.

A-Yokai-A-Day: Shōni no mushi

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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.


Shōni no mushi
小児の虫

Translation: infant bugs

It’s often said that children are little petri dishes full of disease. Harikigaki seems to think so too, as it contains a single entry lumping together all of the little critters that infect infants. Kids are so full of infectious parasitic yokai that they can’t all be named or described.

Shōni no mushi come in all shapes and sizes, from simple white worms to big complex things that look like something Stephen Gammel might have drawn for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

Shōni no mushi can do a number of nasty things to an infant. They can cause the belly to swell up painfully, or they can bring diarrhea. They can cause incessant crying (i.e. infantile colic). They can cause mouth ulcers and periodontitis. They can make babies vomit and unable to drink milk. They can cause a gradual decline in health, or they can bring sudden, unexpected death.

Because there are so many different types of shōni no mushi, and so many different types of symptoms, there are also many sorts of acupuncture treatments that one must learn in order to treat them. As usual, these are transmitted only orally, and are not listed in Harikikigaki. However, it is noted that once shōni no mushi reach maturity, the symptoms become much harder to treat.


If you enjoyed today’s A-Yokai-A-Day entry, please consider becoming a patron and supporting my work by visiting patreon.com/osarusan.

A-Yokai-A-Day: Munemushi

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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.


Munemushi
胸虫

Translation: chest bugs

Munemushi are a broad category of yokai bugs that infect–you guessed it–your chest. They come in all shapes and sizes. Harikigaki does not list names for them–apparently there were just too many to catalogue them all, or perhaps they’re so similar they don’t need separate entries? Like a lot of the bugs we’ve seen this month, some of these can live in you naturally, cause no issues most of the time. But they can become dangerous if they start to act up.

Although there are many kinds, the primary symptoms they create are the same. When they attack you it causes sharp chest pains, and you to lose the ability to speak. Before long, the pain becomes unbearable and you lose consciousness.

Treatment varies depending on the type of bug. Secondary symptoms are often a clue; such as if your body temperature decreases or if you feel chills despite having a normal temperature, vs if you have a fever or if you feel hot despite having a normal temperature. Hohō* vs shahō* techniques are recommended. However, Harikikigaki cautions strongly against superficial or half-hearted measures. People attempting to cure a munamushi infection must receive a great deal of training, including secret techniques passed down only orally, before attempting treatment.

*Hohō (補法) is an acupuncture technique where the needles are inserted slowly and gently, left in place for a short while, and then quickly removed. The puncture wound is then massaged vigorously.

*Shahō (瀉法) is an acupuncture technique where the needles are stabbed into the target areas quickly and then aggressively jiggled around. Then they are slowly removed from the body and the wound is not massaged at all.


If you enjoyed today’s A-Yokai-A-Day entry, please consider becoming a patron and supporting my work by visiting patreon.com/osarusan.