I haven’t just yet! But it will be done within my next 2-3 posts! Sorry the posts are coming slow at the moment but I have a bunch of drawing to do right now! I will get onto it as soon as I can for you!
By far the most famous ghost story of Japan, and the most famous ghost in Japan, this is a scene of Oiwa from the kabuki play Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan. Oiwa was a woman cursed from birth with being ugly. Despairing of any happiness, she was finally married and had a baby with a poor ronin named Iemon, who eked out a living as an umbrella maker. Iemon somehow won the heart of the beautiful daughter of a well-off neighbor, and realized that the only thing standing in his way was his wife and child. He secured a vial of poison that he gave to Oiwa, which didn’t kill her but only caused her eye to droop and her hair to fall out. Disturbed, Iemon finally outright killed Oiwa and her baby. Oiwa returned to haunt Iemon and his new bride and family until she got her revenge.
Oiwa is an onryō, a ghost who seeks vengeance. Her strong passion for revenge allows her to bridge the gap back to Earth. She shares most of the common traits of this style of Japanese ghost, including the white dress representing the burial kimono she would have worn, the long, ragged hair and white/indigo face that marks a ghost in kabuki theater.
There are specific traits to Oiwa that set her apart physically from other onryo. Most famous is her left eye, which droops down her face due to poison given her by Iemon. This feature is exaggerated in kabuki performances to give Oiwa a distinct appearance. She is often shown as partially bald, another effect of the poison. In a spectacular scene in the kabuki play, the living Oiwa sits before a mirror and combs her hair, which comes falling out due to the poison. This scene is a subversion of erotically-charged hair combing scenes in kabuki love plays. The hair piles up to tremendous heights, achieved by a stage hand who sits under the stage and pushes more and more hair up through the floor while Oiwa is combing.
Oiwa is supposedly buried at a temple, Myogyo-ji, in Sugamo, a neighborhood of Tokyo. The date of her death is listed as February 22, 1636. Several productions of Yotsuya Kaidan, including television and movie adaptations, have reported mysterious accidents, injuries and even deaths. Prior to staging an adaptation of Yotsuya Kaidan it is now a tradition for the principal actors and the director to make a pilgrimage to Oiwa’s grave and ask her permission and blessing for their production. This is considered especially important of the actor assuming the role of Oiwa.
Many of Oiwa’s traits are standard to the onryō, including her costume of white burial kimono, white and indigo face, and long, disheveled hair.
As a side note, I have once drawn Oiwa, and was told by someone it is not a good idea to draw her without first praying at her shrine, like asking for permission as it is deemed very bad luck, apparently after the film was produced a number of the film crew mysteriously died as they didn’t seek her permission. (Just edited with the wiki info about that) I think this could be why she is only rarely tattooed, and to be honest I am too busy to seek out more actual tattoo images of her.
I also want to mention, which I don’t think is here, it is not uncommon to see oiwa emerging from a burning lantern, this was made famous by Hokusai, I think the significance of it is purely down to Iemon being so haunted by her ghost he was seeing her everywhere.
The Kabuki21 site here
Thought you guys would dig this, I had heard of this before, but only in very brief! Just another reason why Kappa are amusing things…
You have a magical ball in your butt, and kappa want it.
At least that is how the story goes. Although modern kappa are often portrayed as cute and mostly harmless, during the Edo period they were monsters who had a particularly vicious method of killing their victims. In probably one of the strangest bits of Japanese folklore, it is said that human beings have something in their body called a shirikodama (尻子玉), which translates literally as “small anus ball.” The ball is nestled either immediately inside the anus, or deeper inside the intestines or the stomach. The kappa have a preferred method of extraction.
Folklorist/manga artist Mizuki Shigeru wrote:
“Ever since I was a child I heard that I had to be careful in the water because the kappa would try and take my shirikodama. It was said that in the water, a kappa would come from below, extend an arm upwards and stick a hand up your anus to extract the ball.”
In some stories, the kappa don’t reach up with their hands but instead actually suck the shirikodama from the body. However it was taken, the person whose shirikodama was extracted from was almost always killed in the process. Usually the kappa would hold them underwater to drown them first, before taking the ball.
What is a Shirikodama?
No one really agrees on what the shirikodama is. Some say that it is the human soul, hardened into physical form. Some say that the shirikodama in pictures resembles the Buddhist Hojo, or wish-granting jewel. The hojo was onion-shaped, with a round body and a tapered top. The usual depiction of the shirikodama does indeed resemble this shape.
Many associate the shirikodama with the liver. Kappa were known to love human livers, and some say that the shirikodama was the liver, or that the ball was blocking access to the liver with the liver being the actual target for the kappa.
Why Do They Want It?
Again, no one really knows for sure. The most basic explanation is that kappa consider the shirikodama to be a delicious delicacy and that they eat it as soon as it is removed. This explanations is contradicted by some Edo era depictions such as the one by Jippensha Ikku that shows a kappa with a freshly extracted shirikodama holding it far away from his face and clearly disgusted with the item. The shirikodama was said to smell as bad as the anus it was removed from.
In one story, it was said that the kappa paid the shirikodama as a sort of tribute and tax to the Dragon King who lived under the sea and was the lord of all things under the water. What the Dragon King would want with such an item no one has dared to guess.
But they did want it. A humorous print by Hokusai Katsushika called “How to Fish for Kappa” (Onajiku kappa-wo tsuru no hō ; 同河童を釣るの法) shows a man using his own backside as bait to lure a kappa in to be caught with a net.
The Origin of the Shirikodama
The most commonly accepted origin is that drowning victims often have an open or extended anus, looking as if something was taken out of it. Bodies that had drowned in the river or ocean and then washed up on shore might have looked as if something had been forcibly extracted from the anus.
With kappa moving further and further way from their role as monsters in Japan, the legend of the shirikodama is on its way to being forgotten. Kappa have been recast in Japan as being friendly mascots of various companies or harmless characters on children’s cartoons. In movies like the popular “My Summer Vacation with Coo the Kappa,” the cute little kappa Coo never once sneaks up on its human friend Koichi to forcibly remove a magical ball from his anus.
Hey folks, I decided to do a few posts yokai (monster) and yurei(ghost) related, as these are becoming increasingly popular. Will start with some Cat yokai!
Japan is full of supernatural cats and cat-lore, of which the nekomata is only one. Because of the glint in a cat’s eyes and their mysterious nature, cats have been thought to be supernatural from ancient times, and able to deliver curses. It was said that to kill a cat would result in seven lifetimes of inauspicious rebirth.
Other cat yokai include the kasha (火車), a type of demon that arouse from a cat owned by someone who died. If people weren’t careful, the cat would transform into a kasha and steal the body away before a funeral could be held. Nekomata are often mistaken for bakeneko(化け猫), another transformed cat, although they are two different creatures.
Nekomata (Fork Tailed Cat)
A cat specter dwelling in Japan. It was originally a common cat but as it aged, it gained supernatural power, becoming a horrendous cat monster with its tail sprit into two. Its fur is supposed to glow when stroked against its lie. It can also walk upon two legs. Nekomata favors licking kerosene ofrom lamps, is able to speak and disguise itself as a human, raping women and bringing ill health to people. Unlike the famous Scotish ‘Cait Sith’, Nekomata likes to eat and kill people.
Bakeneko (Monster Cat)
in Japanese folklore, refers to cat yōkai (spiritual beings) with supernatural abilities akin to those of the kitsune (fox) or tanuki (raccoon dog). There are a number of superstitions that detail how ordinary cat may transform into a bakeneko. Bakeneko then haunt and menace their household.
The last superstition about tail-length possibly led some Japanese people to cut the tails off of cats to prevent their transformation into monsters. It may also have some connection to the breeding of short-tailed breeds like the Japanese Bobtail.
Cats that were caught drinking lamp oil were also considered to be bakeneko. Cats may have regularly been drinking lamp oil as it was based on fish oil.
They may use their shape-shifting powers to live a life as a human would normally, sometimes by taking the place of a member of the household after killing and consuming them in their sleep. They may take the form of a person they intend to kill or harm. Other stories tell about how a bakeneko may sometimes shape-shift into a beautiful girl, so that their owner would be able to marry them and have children.
Bakeneko also have the ability to eat anything in their way, regardless of size or edibility. This includes humans. Their main food is poison, particularly a certain snake unknown to humankind.
Kasha (Fire Chariot - Corpse eating cat demon)
This will be brief, more as an FYI, I have never seen this yokai in any tattoos, but it definitely could make for an awesome design, might even draw one myself when I get time