In Japanese folklore, Gashadokuro, also known as Odokuro, are giant skeletons, fifteen times taller than an average person. They can reach huge sizes (up to about 90 feet tall), and are constructed from the bones of people who have died from starvation. Their bones are collected into this giant skeleton creature which is filled with intense anger and a thirst for human blood. He wanders around at night, grinding his teeth and making a “gachi gachi” sound. The giant skeleton towers so high above the ground and walks so quietly that he can be almost invisible. The only warning you get when the giant skeleton is near is a strange and inexplicable ringing in your ears.

If the Gashadokuro finds you, he will reach down with his bony hand and snatch you off the ground. Then he will pluck your head off and suck the blood out of your headless body until his thirst is quenched.


They’re all here! I took it upon myself to create an illustration of a Mythological creature or character for every letter of the alphabet, trying to span across a multitude of cultures and creature-types. Another thing I wanted to accomplish with this project was to find some the more unusual and/or obscure creatures that don’t get as much representation in artwork. Individual Tumblr Posts with said creatures’ descriptions are below.

Again, I’ll be making this into a small run of books as a way to test the waters. If there’s more demand for a larger run, I’ll definitely be looking into it!

All REBLOGS are appreciated! 

Bestiary Alphabetum: Each Entry is clickable!

A is for Ammit

B is for The Beast of Gevaudan

C is for Cockatrice

D is for Dullahan

E is for Eurynomos

F is for Faun

G is for Grendel

H is for Harpy

I is for Indus Worm

J is for Jersey Devil

K is for Krampus

L is for Lamassu

M is for Manticore

N is for Nuckelavee

O is for Otoroshi

P is for Penanggalan

Q if for Questing Beast

R is for Rangda

S is for Succubus

T is for Tzitzimitl

U is for Ushi-Oni

V is for Vegetable Lamb

W is for Wyvern

X is for Xing Tian

Y is for Yara-Ma-Yha-Who

Z is for Ziphius

In the folklore of the japanese island of Kyushu, the Nurikabe is the ‘wall poltergeist’. It appears as a large white wall in front of people who are out walking about late at night. If you try to pass the wall it will fall on you and crush you. If you turn and run from it it will reappear in front of you. The only way to escape is to hit the bottom of the wall with a stick, and it will disappear. 

ぬりかべ (Nurikabe)

Nurikabe is a yokai that manifests as a wall that impedes or misdirects walking travelers at night. Trying to go around is futile as it extends itself forever. Knocking on the lower part of the wall makes it disappear. It has been suggested that the legend was created to explain travelers losing their bearings on long journeys.

Funayūrei (“marine spirit”) are ghosts of people who have died at sea. They are sometimes depicted as scaly fish-like humanoids and some may even have a form similar to that of a mermaid or merman. They approach people on boats and ask to borrow a Hishaku (a utensil for scooping up water). If they are given a ladle, they will pour sea water into the boat until it sinks.

Illustration © 船幽霊 | コウノ [pixiv

Kitsunebi, watercolour.

Kitsune (狐) is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore. Stories depict them as intelligent beings and as possessing magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. Foremost among these is the ability to assume human form. While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others—as foxes in folklore often do—other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.
Kitsunebi (狐火) is a kaika (atmospheric ghost lights and fires of unknown origin similar to the will-o’-wisp) told about in legends all across Japan outside Okinawa Prefecture. As its name implies, it has a close relation to kitsune (foxes), and there are many theories stating that the glow of the sigh or long breaths of a fox, other than that it is also said that a fox is knocking together its tail and causing a fire, or that it is the glow from a ball that the fox possesses called the kitsunebi-dama (kitsunebi ball).

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© Nataša Ilinčić, please do not remove credits

In Japanese folklore, Gashadokuro, (がしゃどくろ) also known as Odokuro, are giant skeletons, fifteen times taller than an average person. If a Gashadokuro sees a human, it will grab it and attempt to bite its head off. Gashadokuro are created from gathering bones from people who have died of starvation. The only way a Gashadokuro can be detected before it appears is by hearing a ringing in one’s ears.

Funayūrei (“marine spirit”) are ghosts of people who have died at sea. They are sometimes depicted as scaly fish-like humanoids and some may even have a form similar to that of a mermaid or merman. They approach people on boats and ask to borrow a Hishaku (a utensil for scooping up water). If they are given a ladle, they will pour sea water into the boat until it sinks.

In Japan, some believe in a formless specter called Betobeto-san that follows you around at night. Its wooden sandals make a ‘beto-beto’ sound behind you, but when you turn around, nothing is there, and if you start walking again, the sound continues. However, if you step to the side of the road and say, 'After you, Betobeto-san,’ it will leave you alone. Source Source 2 Source 3


The Jorōgumo is creature from Japanese folklore, depicted as a spider that can change its appearance into that of a beautiful woman. In this form, the Jorōgumo would entice men into a quiet location and begin to play a biwa, a type of Japanese lute. While he is distracted by the sound of the instrument, she binds her victim in silk threads and devours the unsuspecting individual. A Jorōgumo is also known as the mistress of the Jōren Falls in Izu, Shizuoka. In the legend, a man was resting at the foot of the waterfall when his feet were bound with a vast number of spider threads. To free himself, he cut the threads and tied them to a tree stump, which was pulled from the ground and drawn into the water. After this incident, the villagers became afraid and avoided the area. One day, a woodsman from out of town, unaware of the Jorōgumo, began cutting wood near the falls. After he dropped his axe into the water, a beautiful woman appeared between the rocks and returned it to him. The man falls in love with her and begins visiting the falls every day to see her, only to grow weaker after each visit. Although the woodsman eventually discovers the woman was the Jorōgumo, he cannot forget his love for her. While running back to the waterfall, he is caught by silk threads and finally falls into the water, never to surface again.

Baku - The Legend of the Dream Eater.

The Baku, also known as the ‘Dream Eater’, is a mythological being or Spirit in Chinese and Japanese folklore which is said to devour nightmares. The Baku cannot be summoned without caution, however, as ancient legends say that if the Baku is not satisfied after consuming the nightmare, he may also devour one’s hopes and dreams.

Tales of the Baku devouring nightmares originated in Chinese folklore, and later appeared in Japanese folklore between the 14th and 15th century, in what was known as the Muromachi period. While the Baku is a spiritual being, it has a well-defined appearance. It takes on the form of a chimera – a mythological beast comprised of a variety of parts from other animals. The Baku is typically depicted with a bear’s body, an elephant’s nose, a tiger’s feet, an oxen tail, and rhinoceros eyes. According to legend, the Baku was created by the spare pieces that were left over when the gods finished creating all other animals.

Legend has it, that a person who wakes up from a bad dream can call out to Baku. A child having a nightmare in Japan will wake up and repeat three times “Baku-San, come eat my dream. Baku-San, come eat my dream. Baku-San, come eat my dream.” Then, Baku will come into the child’s room and devour the bad dream, allowing the child to go back to sleep peacefully. However, calling to the Baku must be done sparingly, because if he remains hungry after eating one’s nightmare, he may also devour their hopes and desires as well, leaving them to live an empty life. The Baku can also be summoned for protection from bad dreams prior to falling asleep at night. To this day, it remains common for Japanese children to keep a Baku talisman at their bedside.

In Japan, the Tanabata festival is celebrated every 7th day of the 7th month (July 7).  But since our theme this month is all about Japanese legends and folklore (and love  ♥), here’s the story behind the popular tradition. (。・ω・。)ノ♡

♡ The Legend of the Tanabata ♡

むかしむかし, Orihime (the “Weaving Princess”), the daughter of the King of the Skies, helped her father in decorating the sky. While her father made and hung stars in the sky, she weaved a very fine, delicate and beautiful cloth-like material, which we now know as clouds. ꒰●꒡ ̫ ꒡●꒱

Orihime’s weaving was so skillful that the King of the Skies was so proud of her. She worked hard day and night, until one day, her father noticed that she looked ill. He let her rest for the day, and allowed her to do whatever she pleased.

Orihime was so happy with this! She went and played along the Heavenly River (the Milky Way), and she danced among the stars. Across the river, she saw Hikoboshi, the Cow-herder star (he took care of the Heavenly cows that help produce the Milky Way). In turn, he also caught sight of her.

The two approached each other by crossing the only bridge that stretched across the wide river. Upon meeting at the middle of the bridge, they greeted each other casually and warmly. Hikoboshi asked Orihime if she wanted to come with him so he could show her around. Orihime, who always wanted to explore life outside her weaving routine, immediately agreed. 

Orihime and Hikoboshi had so much fun exploring the skies. They became friends easily, and soon they felt that they were falling in love with each other. ♡(*´・ω・)(・ω・`*)♡

Orihime was so happy that she forgot to come home. The King of the Skies was so worried, that he sent some magpies to search for her and guide her back to him. When the magpies found her, she ignored them because she didn’t want to come home yet, she wanted to stay with Hikoboshi.

When the magpies returned to the King of the Skies with this news, he was outraged! He fetched Orihime himself, forced her to come home, then destroyed the only bridge on the Heavenly River. He also made the river deeper and wider that it already was. He forbade the two to ever meet again.

Orihime and Hikoboshi were distraught. Orihime understood that as the Weaving Princess, she had certain responsibilities, but she missed Hikoboshi so terribly. With tears in her eyes, she asked her father if they could somehow settle for an agreement. Her father could not bear to see tears in her precious daughter’s eyes, so he told her that if she works hard for a year, he will let her see Hikoboshi once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th month.

From then on, on every 7th day of the 7th month, a flock of magpies forms a bridge on the Heavenly river, allowing Orihime and Hikoboshi to be with each other. In return, Orihime worked hard in weaving clouds, mist and fog for the rest of the year, until the end of time.

The End ~ 


So that’s the story of the Tanabata!  Hope you enjoyed it~ ♡^▽^♡



Art by littlemisspaintbrush

If you enjoy cooking, beware of Setodaishō, the yokai made of broken and chipped crockery. He’s quite aggressive.

This one is in a later work by Toriyama Sekien, Hyakki tsurezurebukuro, v.3 in his series of supernatural bestiaries of Japanese Folklore.

Learn more about yokai, and our recent digitization of several of Toriyama Sekien’s works in a recent blog post all about yokai.

Visit Page Frights for more scary selections from libraries & archives all across the globe.

(Not sure if he leaves tiny shards behind, but that’s what I’m really scared of…)