•About this Yokai•
This Namazu (Catfish) is dressed up and proudly posed like the monk-turned-warrior: Saitō Musashibō Benkei: a hot headed giant of a man who vowed to take 1000 weapons from those he deemed unworthy!!
Legend tells it that Benkei had a victory streak of 999 before eventually losing to Minamoto no Yoshitsune on Gojo bridge near Kyoto. In some tellings he wiped out the generals entire army at once before facing the Yoshitsue himself. After Benkei was defeated twice he became loyal to Yoshitsune and the two hung out for a while as outlaws... (Sometimes, you’ll lose an army of 1000 men, but gain a friend for life?) - Famously: Benkei was said to wield 7 weapons, his main being a half-moon spear(naginata), a sword (Katana), a broad axe (masakari), a rake (kumade), sickle (nagigama), a heavy wooden hammer (hizuchi), a saw (nokogiri) an an iron staff (tetsubō)- its a common motif to draw him with them with those weapons in a similar pose, prints of Benkei like the above are said to bring “peace on the road & safe travels” to those that carry them!
Back on track: Those keeping tabs will notice that this catfish version of Benkei has replaced a few of Benkei's usual arsenal of weapons with a few more tools. The irony in this particular Namazu-e print, is that its actually meant to be more so a guide: "Top 7 tools that would be useful to have at hand in case of an earthquake!" - so I wanted to draw this one as an example of a "helpful" namazu to showcase along side my destructive, Onamazu.
Sticker Art by @Samkalensky (yo thats me!) - Part of my Night parade of 100 Demons - Yokai & Japanese folklore sticker collection, weather-resistant 4" Glossy sticker. Check my shop & follow @samkalensky for many more!
Sad to say but the original artist is unknown. (they neglected to sign it...) --but it was produced in 1855 following a huge earthquake witch had hit tokyo, thsi sparked a boom of "namazu-e" catfish prints, which where largely political commentary at the time!