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Monster illustrations from ‘Yokai Jiten’

05 Feb 2010

Here's a peek at a few creatures profiled in Yōkai Jiten ("Yōkai Encyclopedia"), an informative guide to 100 of Japan's traditional monsters, written and illustrated by manga artist Shigeru Mizuki in 1981. Suiko [+] The suiko (lit. "water tiger") is a king-sized variety of kappa living in and around the Chikugo River (Kyushu), Lake Biwa […]

Daily yokai portraits

23 Oct 2009

This month, in the spirit of Halloween, Fukui-based yōkai painter Matt Meyer is creating daily portraits of Japan’s traditional monsters and adding them to his A-Yokai-A-Day collection. Here are a few images from the site, which will be updated with a lovely new terror each day until the end of October. Kuchisake-onna — slit-mouth woman […]

Monsters from the Kaibutsu Ehon

03 Mar 2011

The Kaibutsu Ehon ("Illustrated Book of Monsters") is an 1881 book featuring woodblock prints of yōkai, or creatures from Japanese folklore. Illustrated by painter Nabeta Gyokuei, the book is modeled after the influential works of Toriyama Sekien, an 18th-century scholar and ukiyo-e artist known for his attempt to catalog the many species of yōkai in […]

Paintings of Japanese folklore monsters

26 Oct 2010

Fukui-based yōkai painter Matthew Meyer has been researching and painting a different traditional Japanese monster each day this month. Here are a few of the lovely horrors featured in the collection, which will continue to grow until the end of October. [Link: A-Yokai-A-Day] Hari-onago ("Hooked woman" with deadly hair, from Ehime prefecture) Kijimuna (Okinawan tree […]

‘Bakemono Zukushi’ monster scroll

24 Jun 2010

The Bakemono Zukushi handscroll, painted in the Edo period (18th-19th century) by an unknown artist, depicts 24 traditional monsters that once used to spook the people of Japan. Oyajirome (親白眼) has a bulging eye on the back of its head and a claw on its one-fingered hand. Daichiuchi (大地打) is a mallet-wielding monster with a […]

Pink Tentacle greatest hits – 2009

28 Dec 2009

As we bid farewell to 2009, it's a good time to look back at some of the most popular Pink Tentacle posts of the year. Here are the top ten, in case you missed them the first time around. 1. Animated stereoviews of old Japan: Meiji-period stereoview photographs by T. Enami, presented as animated GIFs […]

Anatomy of Japanese folk monsters

14 Oct 2009

Yōkai Daizukai, an illustrated guide to yōkai authored by manga artist Shigeru Mizuki, features a collection of cutaway diagrams showing the anatomy of 85 traditional monsters from Japanese folklore (which also appear in Mizuki's GeGeGe no Kitarō anime/manga). Here are a few illustrations from the book. Kuro-kamikiri [+] The Kuro-kamikiri ("black hair cutter") is a […]

Monster mummies of Japan

06 Mar 2009

Lurking in the halls of Buddhist temples and museums across Japan are a host of monster mummies -- the preserved remains of demons, mermaids, kappa, tengu, raijū, and even human monks. Here are a few remarkable specimens for the adventurous and brave at heart. - Demon mummies It might seem odd that Buddhist temples in […]

Ooishi Hyoroku Monogatari picture scroll

26 Aug 2008

The Ooishi Hyoroku Monogatari, a largely fictional story featured in picture scrolls in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, tells of a young warrior and his encounters with trickster foxes posing as yokai. According to the National Museum of Japanese History, the story takes place in 1624 in Kagoshima, where a group of notorious […]