I was originally planning to do a different yokai from this scroll today. The plan was to paint biyorori, who appears before kani oni on the Bakemono tsukushi emaki. However, when looking at biyorori, I just couldn’t figure out what to write or paint. Biyorori is just a snake… there’s apparently nothing special at all about it. Maybe there’s a great pun hidden in its name, but I can’t find it. From its name it sounded like it might be a flying or a jumping snake, but there’s no way to know that for sure. It would have been enough if it at least had a grotesque or silly face, but it really is just a snake. So I decided to skip to save having to overly strain my brain to come up with an explanation as to why “just a snake” fits as a yokai. Today’s isn’t much better, but at least it has some features that are clearly yokai-ish.
Kani oni’s name is pretty much a dead giveaway as to what it is. It’s a crab. It’s a demon. It’s a crab demon.
Fortunately, it’s a little more creative than biyorori is. Although it looks just like a crab for the most part, it has some very clear monstrous features. First and foremost are its large black tusks or fangs. Seeing those, it’s no wonder it’s named after an oni. Its carapace is also jagged and spiky and kind of resembles and oni’s horns as well.
In addition to the fangs, kani oni has what appears to be a beard! To complete the ensemble it’s got google eyes which seem to be rolling around in opposite directions.
Although there’s no story telling us what it does, I don’t know that it needs one. It’s a monster crab, and that’s enough for me. I’m just thankful it’s got more to it than biyorori…
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