Yokai and You

Finding new posts on Tumblr about mythical monsters is always fun. Like this one, for instance. The yokai are monsters from Japanese folklore, apparently named after a combination of “mysterious” and “weird.” They are indeed both of those things, and like mythical monsters in other parts of the world, they frequently are composite beings with human and animal features. One of these yokai, the nure-onna or “wet woman,” is often just portrayed as a woman who attracts victims by sitting on the edge of the water and washing her hair. She typically has fangs and a tongue like that of a lizard, and is sometimes said to have the body of a snake.

The main way a nure-onna traps someone is by handing them a bundle that looks like a baby, but turns out to be a bundle of rocks that weighs the victim down.

She then drinks the person’s blood. That’s what you get for trying to be helpful!

The nure-onna is sometimes said to hunt along with the ushi-oni, or “ox demon.” There are several different varieties of ushi-ona, but they typically have bovine heads, and often live in the water.

One such creature was said to have been slain in Takamatsu by the archer Yamada Kurando Takakiyo, who donated the horns to a local temple. This ushi-oni had the membranes of a flying squirrel. Another such creature dwells at the Kotonotaki waterfall, and eats people’s shadows. It can be put off from this if you offer it an alcoholic beverage, however, as it is presumably a lush. Most prevalent in modern folklore and art are the kind with the bodies of spiders or crabs, which will apparently eat the remains of a person who blood had been sucked out by a nure-onna.

Finally, there’s an Ushi-oni festival held in Uwajima in July to commemorate the failure of a Korean invasion. Part of the celebration is for several people to carry an ushi-oni made of bamboo and coated with fur in a parade.

This entry was posted in Japanese, Monsters, Mythology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Yokai and You

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