fantastic folk monsters of Japan
February 3, 2006 9:28 AM   Subscribe

The Obakemono Project - a Gaijin's guide to the fantastic folk monsters of Japan. (via oink)
posted by madamjujujive (26 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Sugoi! Thanks!
posted by Gamblor at 9:40 AM on February 3, 2006

This is really cool. The illustrations are a lot of fun.
posted by aparrish at 9:46 AM on February 3, 2006

Sweet. I just noticed they have an rss feed.
posted by Gamblor at 9:55 AM on February 3, 2006

posted by Balisong at 9:57 AM on February 3, 2006

Yup, great post :)
posted by zeoslap at 10:03 AM on February 3, 2006

This is a tremendous post. U.S.Awesome!
posted by elykcooks at 10:10 AM on February 3, 2006

very very very splendid. thanks!
posted by tnai at 10:17 AM on February 3, 2006

You know, I had considered myself fairly well informed about the tanuki. I did not know this:

Of course the most infamous aspect of the tanuki's shapeshifting involves its testicles. By blowing air and pulling, the male raccoon dog can stretch his scrotum into a vast sheet exceeding eight tatami mats in size. [The tanuki uses his testicles] as a raincoat or a blanket, a boat or a blunt weapon, he may disguise them as another youkai such as a rokurokubi or a tengu in order to frighten his fellow raccoon dogs, or he may even traipse through a landscape made up entirely of hairy, wrinkled scrotal skin. The mamedanuki in particular is said to transform its testicular expanse into rooms and invite humans in to do business, but often a lit cigarette dropped on the "floor" will break the illusion and send the revealed animal fleeing and yelping in pain.

Nor, I think, did I want to.
posted by booksandlibretti at 10:18 AM on February 3, 2006

This is wonderful. Cheers
posted by ZippityBuddha at 10:33 AM on February 3, 2006

awesome find madamjujujive, thanks!

Now I have a great crib sheet for reading Usagi Yojimbo. :)
posted by xthlc at 10:40 AM on February 3, 2006

This was the highlight of my day.
posted by BackwardsCity at 10:40 AM on February 3, 2006

I was just surfing the Japan tag and found an excellent post by carter that I had missed about animals in Japanese paintings and prints - it includes a section on imaginative creatures that is related to this.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:58 AM on February 3, 2006

Tanuki Testicle growing Commercial:
posted by empath at 11:09 AM on February 3, 2006

What? No Godzilla?
posted by doctor_negative at 11:13 AM on February 3, 2006

Great site, wonderful illustrations!
posted by falconred at 11:13 AM on February 3, 2006

This is really, really cool.
posted by brundlefly at 12:02 PM on February 3, 2006

Best of the web.

I look forward to scaring my son with these tales. (Well, maybe not just yet - last night he woke up scared and crying because of the obake he heard in the kitchen.)

Kids' nightmares are scarier than adults, I think. I know mine were.
posted by bashos_frog at 12:07 PM on February 3, 2006

Added to my list of excellent links on Japanese culture.
posted by selfnoise at 1:15 PM on February 3, 2006

Holy crap! I was just trying to research Japanese folk monster the other day. This would have been extremely handy.
posted by Durhey at 2:21 PM on February 3, 2006

posted by jenovus at 3:38 PM on February 3, 2006

God timing, MJ3. Feb. 3 is Setsubun in Japan, so I scared the dickens out of my son in the morning by bursting in while wearing an "oni" demon mask like that in the article while my wife screamed, threw soybeans at me and shouted the associated chant. Fun! Then I saw maiko dance at Yasaka shrine in the afternoon.
posted by planetkyoto at 3:42 PM on February 3, 2006

Fantastic find madamjujujive. Wonderful illustrations. The link list at the site itself leads to some digital weirdness too.
posted by peacay at 8:05 PM on February 3, 2006

My fav. I was trying to identify a spider for a japanese flickr user, and it led me to this.
posted by dhruva at 8:44 PM on February 3, 2006

This is an AWESOME post!

I like the sagari:

A grisly horse's head that dangles in the branches of a nettle tree...its baleful whinnies are terrifying....
posted by feathermeat at 9:47 PM on February 3, 2006

perfect timing here too--Spirited Away was on Cartoon Network tonight. : >
posted by amberglow at 9:54 PM on February 3, 2006

Akaname: Those who let grime and dirt build up in their bathrooms are prone to a visit from this child-like spirit, which licks bathtubs and wash-basins spotlessly clean with its very long tongue.......
now this is a monster I might use. except the toxic saliva.
very cool link.
posted by hortense at 10:32 PM on February 3, 2006

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