「小はだ小平二」（1831～32年／『百物語』より） 葛飾北斎 70〜71歳ごろ
「小はだ小平二」（1831～32年／『百物語』より） 葛飾北斎 70〜71歳ごろ
Bake-Kujira is an ocean spirit from the folklore tales of Japanese fishing villages. Literally meaning “ghost whale,” these eerie creatures are the vengeful spirits of whales killed by fishing villages. The whales appear in dark ocean waters on rainy nights and are said to be shadowed by strange, unrecognizable birds and a species of fish that no one had ever seen before. Whales were highly profitable and a blessing when a poor coastal village spotted one on the horizon. They would, naturally, race out to hunt it. Sometimes, it is said, the whale would not be a profit-blessing at all, but the animated skeleton of an already deceased whale. Spears would pass through the beast’s bony body and when the villagers sailed back, thoroughly shaken, they would experience a very powerful curse bestowed upon them by the angry whale. Famine, disease, death, misfortune, and poverty would plague the townspeople for years after.
Image: WanderingGenie at blogspot
Thanks for sharing! I encourage you all to put any local or cultural urban legends you know in the sixpenceee tag. Perhaps if I gather enough, I’ll make an urban legends from around the world masterpost, with links to all your contributions.
geikai yoha / Matsudaira Naritami
藝海餘波 第十六集 松平斉民 1800～1860年代
化物蝋燭 絵師不明 年代不詳
“此圖のごとくろうそくのとぼしかけてしよくへたてしやうじの内へおき外にて御覧なされ候えバそのすがたしぜんとしやうじ一めんにあらわれ一トしほの御なぐさミと？成候？幾久しく御評判奉願候 本郷二丁目 古賀屋勝五郎”
百物語化物蠟燭 太雅堂 製 年代不詳
“百物語化物蠟燭 此御慰ハ眼前にいろ／＼の化物をいだし人ゝの目をおどろかす事誠に一興なるべし 口傳書内ニあり 太雅堂製”
化物蠟燭の口傳書？ 太雅堂 製 年代不詳
“しやうじのまへに火をともしおき人に知さすせうじの内ニてひそかにしかける也 云々 江戸京橋銀坐二丁目中程 太雅堂 製”
Kappa (river imp)
Jorōgumo (lit. “whore spider”)
Kubire-oni (strangler demon)
Rokurokubi (long-necked woman)
Onmoraki (bird demon)
Nekomata (cat monster)
Tengu (bird-like demon)
Tenjō-sagari (ceiling dweller)
Enma Dai-Ō (King of Hell)
Kyūbi no kitsune (nine-tailed fox)
Baku (dream-eating chimera)
Yamasei (mountain sprite)
Rashōmon no oni (ogre of Rashōmon Gate)
Waira (mountain-dwelling chimera)
Nure-onna (snake woman)
A sea serpent so massive it takes three days to pass by in a boat? Mysterious lights floating by the beach? A generic term for ghost stories? Ayakashi is one of the most complicated and convoluted terms in all of Japanese folklore. There is no easy answer to this simple question.
Who’s got big balls? Tanuki have big balls! Anyone who has seen Studio Ghibli’s Pom Poko (Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pom Poko) knows that tanukis’ nut sacks are capable of amazing magical feats—from being stretched out into giant tarpaulins to transforming into magical treasure ships. And the Japanese people aren’t shy about their love for tanukis’ giant balls; images of well-endowed tanuki can be seen all over Japan, from ubiquitous statues in from of shops and restaurants to bank commercials to anime to … pretty much anything.
On a day when the sun shines bright and the rain falls, wise parents advise their children to play indoors. It isn’t that they are worried about them catching a cold. No, it is something more mysterious. For on such days the kitsune, the magical foxes of Japan, hold their wedding processions.
Kitsune (foxes) and tanuki share much in common. They are the only two animals in Japanese folklore that are naturally magical—they don’t need to live a certain number of years to manifest their powers. Their stories both come from similar source legends in China, and dogs are their bitter enemies. Like many tribes who share so much in common, they are also rivals.
There are eight million gods and monsters in Japan, and more than a few of them like to ride around in human bodies from time to time. Yurei. Kappa. Tanuki. Tengu. Kitsune. Snakes. Cats. Horses. Almost anything can possess a human. But when they do, they are all known by a single name—Tsukimono, the Possessing Things.
Rokurokubi (轆轤首 rokurokubi) which are related to Nure-onna are yōkai found in Japanese folklore. They look like normal human beings by day, but at night they gain the ability to stretch their necks to great lengths. They can also change their faces to those of terrifying Oni to better scare mortals.
In their daytime human forms, rokurokubi often live undetected and may even take mortal spouses. Many rokurokubi become so accustomed to such a life that they take great pains to keep their demonic forms secret. They are tricksters by nature, however, and the urge to frighten and spy on human beings is hard to resist. Some rokurokubi thus resort to revealing themselves only to drunkards, fools, the sleeping, or the blind in order to satisfy these urges. Other rokurokubi have no such compunctions and go about frightening mortals with abandon. A few, it is said, are not even aware of their true nature and consider themselves normal humans. This last group stretch their necks out while asleep in an involuntary action; upon waking up in the morning, they find they have weird dreams regarding seeing their surroundings in unnatural angles.
Ningen are one of the creepiest of cryptids. It literally means “human”, and it’s supposedly a very large unknown animal sighted by Japanese fisherman, which bears an remarkable resemblance to humans. Are over-sized natural species misidentified as Ningen? Not according to the legends. The creatures are said to inhabit the northern Pacific Ocean as well as the waters around the Antarctic. A detailed and well-researched post on this cryptid can be found here: The Ningen: Myth, Monster or Make Believe?