Today’s yokai is a little bit late — but it’s still Monday in the Americas, so I’m not too late! Actually, Monday was very busy over here. I went to a hoji — a Japanese memorial service — for Hitomi’s 50-years-gone grandfather. It’s slightly different from a funeral, but it’s related. A monk came to her aunt’s house, did a service, we chanted for a very long time, everyone nodding off now and then, and then finished with a huge, expensive meal. Being the foreigner, I of course received tons of free love, which comes in the forms of compliments like, “Wow, you don’t turn red at all! You’re so strong! Have some more alcohol!” and “Do you like Japanese wine? Really??? You don’t look drunk, let me pour you some wine!” and so on. I digress.
Today’s yokai is a bit on that topic. This is Umibozu. Actually, this is another request, so it’s entirely coincidental to the fact that I met a monk at the hoji. But anyway, it’s name means “sea monk,” and it is named for it’s large, baldish head. It also has serpentine limbs, which makes it quite Cthulhu-esque and thus doubly appealing to me. This yokai is supposed to appear to shipwreck victims and fishermen and sink the ship of anyone who talks to it. It will demand a barrel or something similar, and then use the barrel to fill the ship with water and drown everyone aboard. (How badass is that!) It’s said the only way to escape it is by giving it a bottomless barrel… but I don’t see how that could stop it.
Umibozu are said to be the spirits of drowned priests, and perhaps they look after the spirits of those who have nobody to care for their graves (as these spirits are said to take refuge out at sea). Since Fukui has a famous legend of an evil priest named Tojimbo who was tossed out to sea by angry villagers, I decided to paint the cliffs of Tojimbo in the background.