Fun Link Friday: Anatomical illustrations of Japanese Folk Monsters

Japan loves its ghost stories, and it especially loves the huge variety of supernatural creatures that feature in them. From handscrolls to ukiyo-e prints, artists have been bringing the spooky to life for centuries. This week’s Fun Link Friday is a series of illustrations posted on of anatomical depictions of monsters from Japanese folklore. Created by the famous manga artist Shigeru Mizuki in 1960, this series of illustrations brings to life these legendary creatures along with descriptions of their body parts and how they function.

makuraFor example, the “pillow-mover,” or makura gaeshi, seen on the right is described as having an organ in its body for storing the souls of children.

Dangerous Minds stated:

Mizuki’s monsters first appeared in a Japanese magazine as a part of a series of manga comics called GeGeGe no Kitarō but was deemed “too scary” for kids. [They were] adapted from traditional Kamishibai tales (the art of storytelling using paper scrolls) from the early 1930s…

These illustrations can be found in full in the book Yokai Daizukai, but you can go to the original article on for some more great illustration scans.

Happy Friday!

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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