Know your Japanese Mythological Beasts (part 1)

Question 1
What has the head of a monkey, the body of a tanuki, the legs of a tiger, and the tail of a snake?
Hint #1: Eating it is thought to cure the hiccups (I wonder what it tastes like and how it is prepared. I imagine it would make a decent miso-based nabe…).
Hint #2: Miyamoto Musashi supposedly killed one of these with a lance.

Question 2
This mythical creature is native to mountain passes in Kumamoto. What is it?
Hint #1: They have a potato-like head (or a stone one), and a straw covered body.
Hint #2: Monks who stole oil are said to have been punished by being transformed into one of these.

Question 3
This monster is a humanoid with blackish-green skin, luminescent eyes, and a pointed beard. It is rarely seen by man because it lives in an underwater kingdom.
Hint #1: Combine the kanji for “shark” and “person” to make this.
Question 4
What is the Japanese Will ‘o the Wisp?
Hint #1: A possible explanation for these phenomena is methane gas rising from the graves of decomposing corpses.
Hint #2: Combine the kanji for “ball” and “person”.

Question 5
What mythological creature resembles a snake, can speak to humans (but often lies), enjoys alcoholic beverages, can leap 1 meter, and has never been captured in spite of many reported sightings?


Hint #1: It appeared in Doraemon, where it was reported to be about 60cm in length.
Hint #2: The kanji for earth and child are used to write its name.


5 thoughts on “Know your Japanese Mythological Beasts (part 1)”

  1. I thought the round balls coming from freshly buried folks was called ‘tameshi’ or ‘tamashi’ or something like that. I know about the ‘yuurei’ thing – but I think these tameshi were spirits of the freshly deceased. OK ‘freshly’ sounds produce-like. I want to say ‘recently’ – but its sooner than that. Hmmmm.

  2. I see the Pokemon reference…where’s the reference to Magic the Gathering? Willow the Wisp, I believe was a wall. like 0/4 defense and only a forrest mana to cast. =

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