Like any other country on Earth, Japan has its own folkloric monsters. Collectively, such mythical beasts are called yokai, and there are hundreds of them! Many yokai share similar traits with their Western counterparts, but mind you, Japan’s creatures can get a little too bizarre!
In this article, let’s take a look at five of such monsters:
Of all of Japan’s mythical creatures, the akaname, perhaps, is the filthiest, most disgusting. “Akaname” means dirt licker in Japanese, and that is exactly what it does.
Akaname are said to inhabit dirty public baths and untidy toilets. It is believed that the akaname was “invented” by elders to teach children in keeping clean all the time.
The kasa obake is a living umbrella who likes jumping around with its long tongue out. It is among the group of mythical beings called tsukumogami – inanimate objects that “receive” a soul after 100 years of use.
View this post on Instagram
Day 5 Makuragaeshi The ghost of a child that haunts the bedroom. Mostly harmless pranksters, people sleeping in a room haunted by makuragaeshi will wake up to one jumping on the bed or find their pillow at their feet. However if angered they can easily flip the bed over, cause sleep paralysis (kanashibari) or even throw an entire person. 🛏️😈 @houkiboshii #31yokais #inktober #spooky #31yokais2018 #yokai #お化け #monster #化け物 #妖怪 #demon #art #torontoartist #penandink #drawtober #monsterunderthebed #bakeneko #japan #monsterdesign #japanesemonster #枕返し #まくらがえし
Some monsters just love to annoy people, and the makuragaeshi are ones of such kind. The makuragaeshi literally translates to “pillow flippers,” and that’s exactly what they are purported to be doing.
The makuragaeshi are said to be prank-loving ghosts of people who once lived in the houses they haunt.
An eye at the rear. Seriously, just WOW.
I’m not quite sure if this creature is meant to be frightening or funny, but one thing’s for sure – in the realm of Japan’s mythical beings, the shirime gets the most WTF’s.
The shirime are said to be human-like, but have no facial features. They are generally harmless to humans, but seem to find fulfillment by scaring people with their “fabulous buttocks.” Talk about mythical world nudists!
One can be “born” a monster, but being a monster may also come from a curse, like in the case wuth rokurokubi – women who can stretch their necks, or pop their heads out of their bodies. The type that removes its head from the body is known more specifically as nukekubi.
Rokurokubi have been mentioned frequently in Japanese folkloric literature, and are described to be normal-looking women during daytime, but become the dangerous monsters that they are only at night time.