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“There always right beside us.”Yokai run the gamut from ominous to ludicrous. They’ve been imagined and reimagined by countless artists, and maybe that’s why they’ve managed to stay a part of Japanese cultures for centuries. But behind every cute yokai there’s a bit of sadness, too. Father of Japanese folklore and yokai aficionado Kunio Yanagita called them “degraded gods.” Yokai in the Arts of Japan will help you learn about Japanese religion and morality, as well as hZ TOKYO…

In Japanese folklore, yokai are specters, ghosts, monsters or apparitions that take on bizarre forms

月岡芳年 TSUKIOKA Yoshitoshi『百器夜行』Hyakki-Yagyō

Database of Folklore Illustrations

五体面(ごたいめん)は、熊本県八代市の松井文庫が所蔵する妖怪絵巻『百鬼夜行絵巻』(尾田郷澄・1832年)などに描かれている日本の妖怪。百鬼夜行絵巻 (松井文庫)

五体面(ごたいめん)は、熊本県八代市の松井文庫が所蔵する妖怪絵巻『百鬼夜行絵巻』(尾田郷澄・1832年)などに描かれている日本の妖怪。百鬼夜行絵巻 (松井文庫)

Ushi-oni (lit. “cow devil”) is a malevolent sea monster with the head of a bull and the body of a giant spider or crab. It is most often encountered in the coastal waters of western Japan, particularly in Shimane prefecture, where it is feared for its vicious attacks on fishermen.

Here's a weird gallery of Japanese folk art creatures that were painted during the Edo period. “cow devil”) is a malevolent sea monster with the head of a bull and the body of a giant spider or crab.

Futsukeshibaba (a.k.a. Hikeshibaba) -- Mysterious old woman in white who extinguishes lanterns

Futsukeshibaba or Hikeshibaba from "The Kaibutsu Ehon" ("Illustrated Book of Monsters"), 1881 by Nabeta Gyokuei

Suushi Kamikiri.jpg

"hair-cutter") are ghostly spirits known for sneaking up on people and cutting all their hair off, particularly when they are unknowingly engaged to marry a yokai, spirit.

『箱入娘面屋人魚』(山東京伝 作/歌川豊国 画)、その5 人魚をなめると若返って長生きするというので舐めまくっていると人魚の夫は子供になってしまった。

『箱入娘面屋人魚』(山東京伝 作/歌川豊国 画)、その5 人魚をなめると若返って長生きするというので舐めまくっていると人魚の夫は子供になってしまった。

老人火 Rōjin-no-hi from “Illustrated Book of The Hundred Demon Stories”vol.2, TAKEHARA Shunsen『絵本百物語』第二巻/竹原春泉/1841

老人火 Rōjin-no-hi from “Illustrated Book of The Hundred Demon Stories”vol.2, TAKEHARA Shunsen『絵本百物語』第二巻/竹原春泉/1841

The hakutaku, like many other holy beasts, comes from Chinese legends. In China, it is known as the bai ze.

Hakutaku: extremely good omens and symbols of good luck. Hakutaku can speak human languages, and are highly knowledgeable about all things in creation.