Newsletter

21.Jul.2021

DISCOVER JAPAN

The Yokai

Today let me introduce you to one of the most interesting cultural part of Japan: The Yokai
Yokai are a wide category of monsters, ghosts and other supernatural beings of Japanese myth. They are as diverse as Japan’s historical imagination and could be fearsome or tame, powerful or weak, villainous or good.
Most well known yokai are stock characters who show up in countless old myths.
From ancient times, it was believed that everything in this world possesses something spiritual in Japan. This belief of worshiping these spiritual beings with awe and respect prevail to present days in the forms of Japanese culture in general as well as shrines and temples.

Lets now discover one of the most known Yokai

Kappa

Kappa is a famous yokai that every Japanese person knows. The body of this creature is covered in green and it has fins for hands and feet. One distinctive feature of kappa is the plate on its head. When the plate breaks or dries up, the creature gets weakened and eventually dies.
They inhabit waterside places such as rivers and swamps, and mess around with people who are unfortunate enough to make the mistakes of swimming in their habitat by pulling the legs to drown them. Their favorite food is cucumbers, and kappamaki, sushi rolls made with cucumbers, are named after this creature

Oni

The closest thing to oni that the Western world has is ogre. Their skin color varies in one individual to another but red and blue are the most common colors. Oni have a horn or two, big fangs, and sharp claws.
They usually carry various weapons but clubs are the most common choice of weapon among them. They are said to live in hell and take on the role of punishing those committed sins in their life. The Namahage festival that is listed as an Intangible Cultural Property of Japan makes use of oni masks

Tengu

Tengu is a yokai with a red face, a long nose and dresses as an ascetic monk. They are feared by people as a yokai that brings calamities to people but were also worshiped as a deity of mountains in various regions throughout the country.
Because of its distinctive look, the name appears as a Japanese name for some other animals brought to Japan in old days. Also its name is used as a metaphor for arrogant people

Japan counts many yokai and many myths, some are specific about the regions and I’m sure their story will continue to keep the attention of people for a long time.

Thank you for reading me and I really hope I will be able soon to write about my new adventure.

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