taotrooper: It's a polar bear dancing the hula; your argument is invalid (Okami / draw a circle and get praise)
Kiri ☂ ([personal profile] taotrooper) wrote2012-07-02 07:54 pm
Entry tags:

100 things mythology [006/100]

So I was thinking about a post regarding a couple of Epic Mythology Romances~ where the man really pisses me off, but then I was talking to [livejournal.com profile] lepluvium and got a better idea.

Let's go Japanese today, and we're particularly going to talk about youkai. Yup, the folklore monsters on crack!

It means "the fuck am I looking at???" in Japanese

Youkai is a blanket term for everything and everyone supernatural. Spirits, ghosts, monsters, weird animals, sometimes even gods and demons, etc. Youkai is a more modern term for them, as before the 18th century they used mononoke and bakemono more.

But then, what's the difference between youkai, ayakashi, mononoke, bakemono...? Is there one that's eviler than the others?

Look, I don't even know anymore! Every source says something different, and in every manga and anime with them they take their own meaning, so fuck if I can tell. Let's see, I think it's something like this.

Ayakashi used to refer to ghosts from shipwrecks, but somehow evolved to mean the same as youkai. So, anything is ayakashi, apparently (?)

Mononoke seems to be more about grudging spirits, be it dead people or old objects who came to life.

Bakemono or bake (optional o- in front) seems to be more about creatures and monsters, usually shapeshifters included.

There are hundreds of youkai stories. I swear, the youkai lore is insane. Sometimes they're good to kind people, but most of the times they're mischievous or evil. They've inspired every possible kind of art and media, and it's pretty much certain that Pokémon has its origins here. And even in these modern times when a lot of people are too practical to believe in them, and with all the imported terror from Hollywood, they're still incredibly popular in Japan.

I'm sure they look scarier in real life...

My favorites? I love the complexity of kitsune and tengu the most. Also the kappa, yuki-onna, and most horror stories of humanoid ones killing/eating the shit out of people. Ah, and karakusa -the one who's an umbrella with an eye, a mouth, sometimes arms, and a leg.

It's so ridiculous it's awesome.

Want to learn more about Japanese folklore and youkai? This book is amazing, but right now it's really hard to find. So here are some links full of stories and references to the magnificent -and sometimes gross- creeps of Japan.

The Obakemono Project (as the name says, it's a bit of an illustrated index about monsters)

Gods of Japan (it's more oriented to religion and cult, but it's been a good source)

Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai (it's a blog, with a lot of translated horror stories/legends)

Sarudama (a Japanese culture blog, but this is the tag for the folklore posts)

Mukashibanashi Library (a good compilation of folklore stories)
laurus_nobilis: (Default)

[personal profile] laurus_nobilis 2012-07-03 02:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Ooooh, resources! I know next to nothing about Japanese mythology so that's going to be fun.
laurus_nobilis: (Default)

[personal profile] laurus_nobilis 2012-07-03 07:15 pm (UTC)(link)
... ah, right. Maybe that's part of the reason why there are so many different versions. Folklore tends to vary a lot.
laurus_nobilis: (Default)

[personal profile] laurus_nobilis 2012-07-03 07:40 pm (UTC)(link)
I hadn't thought of that! Makes sense.