• About this Yokai •
Nurarihyon [JP: ぬらりひょん] – The so called "Supreme commander of Yōkai" and the supposed "defacto leader" of the Hyakki Yagyo - (Night Parade of 100 Demons) – Also called "The Slippery Gourd' – Named as such for his squash-like-head-shape and his strange ability... This tiny old man, has the apparent ability to slip in and out of your confidence: its been said that he could walk directly into your own home & you'd actually believe that he owned the place: or it was like you where suddenly a guest in his residence. He'd smoke your cigars and drink your tea, help himself to the pantry and perhaps even take a shower and then spend the afternoon lazing around in your den, he then slips out. – without saying a word. His victims would only realize that he wasn't supposed to be there a while after he left. No matter what you do, you cannot catch him at this, you wouldn't even notice him, as he is "the very nature of lies." – He commands respect from both humans and other Yokai alike!
• Early Appearances & History •
In Gazu Hyakki Yagyo: 1776 by Toriyama Sekien [last slide.] - he's depicted proudly stepping off a palanquin and walking into a house, Sekien wrote under his picture: "While night is still approaching, the Nurarihyon comes to visit as the chief monster." - Because of this somewhat vague interpretation: In recent popular media he's become well known and cast as the "chief" Yokai in all sorts of anime, manga, games, etc (probably best known as gegege kitaros arch villian!) – its a take that's really become ingrained as part of his folklore thanks to that! – HOWEVER this yokai appears in scrolls as early as 1700 so The historic truth of Nurarihyon is that despite being dubbed the "commander" in earlier apperances, Nurarihyon never actually appears to be leading any parade: he is mentioned once in a travellers diary that he teams up with Otoroshi and Nozucuhi to perform Hyakki Yagyo on summer nights, but very little info is given beyond that.. so in earlier scrolls, Nurarihyon is never actually even seen 'leading' anything!!!
...So, it kind of feels as if his supposed 'slippery nature' effects not only other yokai, but somehow reaches beyond fiction, to reality and history, bending our perception of him yet again, in his favour! – (Though, that very same slippery ability also isn't one based on any such folklore, but one souly based on popular Yōkai media!) – Layers upon layers of lies!! (Not a big deal. Folklore changes over time, do you think the original dracula was allergic to garlic???) I just think its funny; even earlier descriptions of him, liken him to the Umibozu. (mostly commenting on his head shape and how gourds or (octopi) dropped in water are in fact very slippy.) so, its pretty funny considering how popular he's become.
• Sams take • Most people draw him menacing or like the BBEG (big bad evil guy) so I wanted to go for something a bit silly and true to his 'lore' (or lack there of!) as with most of my yokai. Originally, I planned to draw him last, But he's one of those Yokai that sort of just 'slipped out.'
Art by @Samkalensky - Part of my Night parade of 100 Demons - Yokai & Japanese folklore sticker collection, weather resistant 4" sticker. Check my shop & follow @samkalensky for many more!