•About this yokai•
FuruTsubaki no Rei (JP:古椿の霊) - [Simply known as “Tsubaki” in japan]
The spirits of century old Camellia trees, like many yokai after 100 years, the spirit of the tree manifests itself as a beautiful woman, who lures men close and then either poisons them, turning them tinto bees... (the bees have their souls removed when they pollinate her.) (stories originate from Yamagata prefecture, but there are similar stories from Ishikawa & Wakayama too.)
generally speaking, Camelia flowers are often associated with death, disease and disappearance: because when the trees petals get old; the entire flower suddenly falls off all at once!! rather than a gradual, one petal at a time: “they love me, love me not” situation!
The 18th century author; Lafcadio Hearn titled them as ‘Goblin Trees’ and wrote that “the falling of heavy red flowers was like the falling head of a person under the sword, the dull sound it makes when hitting the floor resonates with the sound of a severed head hitting the ground.”
In addition, Gegege Kitaros author Shigeru Mizuki once wrote: “that the underside of tsubake trees often look something like a ‘blood bath.“
So, i’d say its pretty clear as to why they’re associated with death. (Don’t gift tsubaki them to your friend who is sick, it’s a bit of a taboo.) - Camellia trees also tend to grow along side beaches and are often believed to mark “the border to the other world” (Alternatively The borders of territory where yokai such as ushi-oni or nure-onna might hunt.) - The trees wood itself is also often said to be magical. and many tsukumogami are made of it. —Never the less they are very pretty flowers!!...
Interestingly I couldn't find any Edo period illustrations of the girl, plenty of modern illustrations of her though. Toriyama Sekiens 1778 version [last pic] doesn’t show the girl, but instead it’s a flower-monster, so I decided to include it as well.
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!