Creatures of the woods
There’s a kind of spirits who enjoy playing tricks to rowdy travellers and make them lose their bearings: they are the Kodama, plant spirits who play tricks and take revenge on overly greedy arsonists and loggers.
Among the Yōkai representing guardians of mountains and woods, we find one of the most renowned native monster: The Tengu, an anthropomorpic raven with beak claws and raven wings.
Tengu Society is a hierarchy that answers to a white haired, wise and extremely powerful Tengu called Sōjōbō that resides on mount Kurama.
It has been hypothesized that Tengu, who are only male, are nevertheless able to lay eggs, the hatching of which is not uncommon as depicted in netsuke. Tengu use telepathy to talk to humans and are familiar with teleportation techniques.
Taken from – Yōkai. Le Antiche Stampe dei Mostri Giapponesi – Published by Skira
Look for stories and prints of the other bizarre protectors of Japan’s forests in the book for sale at our bookshop.
Legend of the Spider
One day the valiant General Raiko began to weaken due to a mysterious disease. In reality, the disease had been caused by a huge earth spider that under the guise of a servant, pretending to cure Raiko, was actually robbing him of lifeblood.
The general, realizing the deception, struck the servant with a slash of his sword Hizamaru, who was pursued by Raiko’s companions. The sword as a result of that brave action was renamed Kumokiri, or “Spider Cutter”.
Following the trail of blood, the warriors engaged in a furious fight against that spider, which turned out to be more than three meters in size, and as they opened its abdomen, numerous skulls came out and they finally succeeded in defeating it.