June 30, 2008

Bakemono

You see what happens when you let paperwork pile up?!
Been enjoying some things recently related to Japan's indigenous demons (I interchangably say yokai, bakemono, and so on). From the list at The Obakemono Project (highly recommended), I get the sense that Japanese people didn't trust anything if it got old enough way back when. Maybe that's why houses are built so shoddily (read: ready to be demolished after about 30 years and paper-thin) in the countryside to this day; let a house get old enough and it won't get haunted, but it will get animate and terrorize the good cucumber-farming peasants! My conjecture. I don't think I've run across a record of a house-demon (お化け家?)yet .

Lately, found this boys' manga, which despite the silly haircut, is pretty sold for a boys' manga. From it, I learned a new 4 character idiom: 魑魅魍魎 (chimimouryou) spirits of the rivers and mountains, or in other words, all the yokai of the land. These days, it is often used to describe the profane world with it's politics, money-hungry businesses, and bullying. One idiom often uttered in such situations is 魑魅魍魎が跳梁跋扈する (the demons are rampant). Or, to use another yokai-flavored idiom, I bet one could say 魑魅魍魎が百鬼夜行する (pretty much the same, though you could say it means the demons are plotting). Google says it's okay!
To learn more about 百鬼夜行, go here. BTW, Jeff, if you ever read this post, know now that you have the onus of explaining 跳梁跋扈; I'm not the guy with a yo-ji blog.

Finally, you might also like these old prints of Japanese creepies available online.