The Yokai Files – Kappa – Mummies and Movies
My original Kappa post is by far the most viewed post on this blog – so I thought I’d do a follow up for all you Kappa fans and let you know more about everybody’s favorite Japanese water imp. So today I’m going to share a whole host of interesting Kappa images, links and suggested viewing with you all.
I promised a follow up a long time ago when I was about to depart on a quest to try and track down a mummified Kappa in Osaka. So that’s where we’ll pick up today.
The Yokai Files – Tengu
The mass of history and mythology surrounding the figure of the Tengu makes it almost impossible to give a brief review of them. Through the ages even the way these creatures are perceived has changed a lot, originally portrayed as bad omens and demonic war bringers they have now become revered as a kind of demigod of the mountains.
As such the modern Tengu blurs the line between folk legend and religion – yokai or deity? It isn’t always so clear-cut.
In both traditions the basic image of the Tengu is essentially the same. They are winged humanoids with bright red skin and long noses, which has earned them the name ‘Hanadaka Tengu’ (Long Nosed Tengu).
The Yokai Files – Raigo/Tesso: The Iron Rat
Tesso (The iron rat) is truly a one of a kind yokai. A rat demon the size of a full-grown man, armed with metal teeth and claws, capable of shredding and tearing almost anything. Combine this with a pied-piper like ability to call a legion of real rats to do his destructive bidding, and Tesso becomes quite a formidable foe to be reckoned with
Today’s yokai shares something in common with Hashi Hime in that also Tesso began life as a human, a buddhist monk named Raigo, but was later transformed into a vengeful yokai. Again it was sheer force of will, and a driving anger, that provde the catalyst for the transformation.
I already knew the basic story of how Raigo came to turn into his rodent form, however as Raigo’s temple (Mii-Dera) is not far from where I live, I decided to make the trip there and see if I could dig up anything connected with the myth.
The Yokai Files – Oni and Setsubun
Today is the 1st of February which means in two days it’ll be time for Setsubun. Setsubun is the day which marks the start of the new season, though the most significant of these is the spring setsubun (or Risshun).
The spring setsubun is a chance for a fresh start, much like New Year’s day it’s a chance to stop the bad and usher in the good. (more…)
The Yokai Files – Tanuki – Ceramics and Saviours
Despite having posted about Tanukis just recently a couple of things happened that made me want to do an update.
Firstly, I went to the town of Shigaraki – the spiritual home of the ceramic Tanuki, producing a staggering number of Tanuki figures.
Secondly, I remembered another nice story about a ceramic Tanuki saving Kyoto, and that I had photos of the shrine dedicated to that Tanuki.
Lastly, an update will be a great excuse to show you all a rather famous Japanese TV commercial featuring those huge testicles.
So here you are, a second helping of Tanuki goodness.
The Yokai Files – Tanuki – The myth and the reality
These ceramic Tanukis (Racoon Dogs), often seen outside Japanese cafes and bars thanks to some odd word association, are probably the most recognised images of these creatures.
Don’t worry I’ll explain the word association later!
However, in Japan there is a rich folklaw tradition built up around the image of the Tanuki which means he pops up in some unusual places and surprising contexts.