A-Yokai-A-Day: How Kurita Genpachi Slew a Bakemono

As I mentioned, the Mononoke Ichi yokai market and hyakki yagyo night parade was yesterday in Kyoto. This was the first night parade since the covid pandemic, and it was the first Mononoke Ichi since Japan’s borders reopened to tourists last week, so it felt like a major milestone. I had an awesome time meeting many yokai fans from around the world, so thanks to everyone who stopped by!

The night parade was truly a spectacle. It felt like a traditional matsuri parade, with drums, bells, and flutes—except that it was populated by the most amazing yokai costumes ever. If you’d like to see what it looked like, I strongly recommend looking at the photos and videos on Twitter posted under the #モノノケ市 hashtag!

How Kurita Genpachi Slew a Bakemono

In a village called Tomo in the province of Bingo there was a man named Kurita Genpachi. One day, while he was playing a grassy field behind his house. Perched up in the branches of a large chestnut tree, he a woman of about 60 years of age, with blackened teeth and disheveled white hair flying in all directions, was looking at Genpachi and grinning at him. Genpachi was startled and quickly walked away, feigning indifference.

That night was bright, and the moon shone everywhere, so Genpachi went out onto his veranda to gaze at the sky. For some reason, something made him feel uneasy, so he went inside and closed the shoji doors. He lay in bed in a daze, not quite a sleep but not quite awake, when he saw the figure of the old woman from earlier in the day silhouetted on the shoji in the moonlight. Words cannot describe the unsettled he felt.

Genpachi was startled, and readied to draw his sword and strike down the woman if she came into the room. She was already opening the shoji doors and started to enter the room, when Genpachi shouted “I’m ready for you!”

He drew his sword and slashed at her. The bakemono seemed to weaken a bit when it was slashed, but Genpachi also fainted and fell as if dead.

When Genpachi had swung with his sword he screamed, “Agh!” Several people heard this and came out to see what happened. They found Genpachi lying on the floor breathless. They administered some medicine and revived him. When he came to his senses, he told them everything that had happened.

A wild-looking old woman with white hair and black teeth sits in a tree and laughs.

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