Kanji of the Day: 百 (ひゃく/ もも ) hyaku / momo (hundred)

Halloween is coming up, so why don’t I tell you something a little spooky today… 😛

百鬼夜行, or the ”Night Parade of One Hundred Demons”, appear in many Japanese literatures and folklore. It is said that a flock of demons, or 妖怪 (yokai), led by ぬらりひょん (nurarihyon) march through the streets of Japan during certain nights of the year, and people who witnessed the event will be eaten by the demons.

Because the demons do not like the Sun light, they usually disappear when the Sun rises. People stayed inside of their house until dawn with the doors and windows tightly shut hoping that no demons will find them. Scary!

百鬼夜行

百鬼夜行

Although the idea of 百鬼夜行 is pretty creepy and I remember being scared to death when I first heard the story as a kid, there are apparently some silly demons who do no harm to human. Let me show you a few:

から傘お化け (Umbrella demon) - photo by jim e lee

から傘お化け (Umbrella demon) – photo by jim e lee

から傘お化け (karakasa obake) is an umbrella demon that has two arms, one eye, and one leg. It is believed that an umbrella older than 100 years will become alive and turns into から傘お化け.  He likes to just jump around with his one leg and lick peoples faces with the long tongue to scare them. Not too scary, right?

化け狸

化け狸

化け狸 (bake tanuki) and 化け狐 (bake kitsune) are another good example of common yokai. Although the tanuki (Japanese racoon dog) and kitsune (fox) are real animals, ancient people believed that they had some supernatural power and tricked people. They can transform themselves into human form, and come down to villages to buy food with leaves which they have turned into money using their super power.

尻目

尻目

Last but not least is 尻目, or the “butt eye”, and I died laughing when I first saw this buddy! Well, I couldn’t find much information about this yokai (or do I really want to know more?), but obviously he has no face but has one eye on his butt and walks around like a dog. I wonder if he has to walk backwards because his eye is on his butt…

It may be a fun idea to get your friends and family together, and cruise around the town like 百鬼夜行 for this Halloween!  I dare you to be 尻目!!

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Post by nanami

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