Monday, September 27, 2010

Roots of Japanese anime? 24 traditional Japanese monsters

One of my favorite blogs on Japan is Pink Tentacle. Pick Tentacle is a blog about Japanese Art, Culture, Science and Technology.

I highly recommend it.

Today, they have an unusual collection of 24 traditional Japanese monsters. Have you ever wondered where the Japanese get their ideas for those silly monsters in the Godzilla movies? I have. Well, the fact of the matter is that Japan has had some very strange (or silly) looking monsters for a long time.

Pick Tentacle has uncovered a collection of 24 of them and made high quality scans for your viewing pleasure! The description reads:     

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.

This is an interesting collection as, usually, the only other places you can see these spooks is at a local festival... And speaking of festivals, it's festival season now in Japan so get your notebooks out and jot down these characters now... They all look the same until you know the names...

Odoroshi (おどろし) is a red-faced monster with big eyes, black teeth, and long hair.

Yume-no-seirei ("dream ghost" - 夢の精霊) appears as a thin old man in a white robe.

Yamamba (山姥) is a mountain hag.

I like this last one. There was a while there, about 5 or 6 years ago, when Shibuya girls wore outrageous makeup on their faces and broad white eyeshadow. That fashion was called, "Yamamba" like the mountain hag above.

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