Ofurobozu - JP: おふろ坊主［おふろぼうず] - "Bath Boy/Monk"
•About this Yokai: ' 'Ofuro-bozu' is a cyborg that reportedly appeared in a bathhouse somewhere in Chiba prefecture, 1996. The upper half of its body is human (notably resembling a bald monk.) The entire lower half of the body is mechanical. - It comes out of the bath at exactly 8:30 p.m (Why 8:30 exactly also seems to be a mystery.) it brings a water tub and it pours scalding hot water on you when you aren't expecting it. -- but! if you splash him with water first, it will instead rust/short circuit and you can get away!!
• History, variants & Early appearances:
The above description is an exert from "Gakko no kaidan #8" "School Ghost Stories" July 3, 1996, written by author and folklorist Toru Tsunemitsu.) – The included book illustration is below. - Since the "Gakkou no kaidan" book series were made to catalogue urban legends & spooky stories that were popular around japan at the time, it's true origins are vague. (its similar to how legends of "Tonkaraton" also has a fuzzy origin.) - Weather or not it was an orally spoken legend, or if there was a source to back up the incident is currently unkown. if it was something made up by the author or not is also uncertain, its a mystery.
[As he appears in Gakkou no Kaidan. img source] - [Note: I'm about 90% sure that his given name also a pun when said aloud? "Ofu-"ROBO"-zu" (Get it? 'Cuz hes a robot-bathouse-monk?) ]
That would be that, and we could just say hes a yokai from a book, BUT! - in 2018 another slightly more ominous/dark variant of the legend was published By "Mr Asari" (A folklorist who published an encyclopedia about modern yokai: "日本現代怪異事典") - The main difference is that in this version, the cyborg targets women's restrooms specifically & if his water splashes you: you suddenly become drained of all desires, lose your appetite and eventually become a mummified husk!! 😱 -- as with the other variant, hes easily defeated, If you're quick enough & pour water on his lower half instead, the cyborg will malfunction and you can get away!!
in 2019 a shorter version of the story was published again in "Japan Gendai Kaii Jiten" an encyclopedia of modern-day yokai & urban legends by Kasama Shoin (with Illustrations contributed by various artists!) You can read the entry for him & see their contributions over here.) - My Japanese friends that worked on it, affectionately dubbed him "The first robotic yokai!!"
My theory, is that This second version is likely an orally spread variant of the first. [Note: becoming a "mummy" could also be to become "pruny?" i'm not sure, it could be that my translatior is also malfunctioning haha.]
in closing: There's sadly not much to say about Ofurobozu. not much information is available, and thus, the exact truth for this one's origins is surrounded in mystery!!
Regardless: he certainly fits right in with the likes of Hanako-san, Akaname other washroom centred yokai. (I gave mine a shampoo hat because the bald head reminds me of kappa a bit.) - It's pretty funny that he can easily be defeated by splashing it with something nearby/it's holding/is easily available. (Reminds me of Tofu-kozo & his useless poisonous tofu.)
Part of me wants to theorize that this could have originated as a childs rumor of seeing someone with prostetics in a communal bathhouse. "Wow!! its a cyborg!!! amazing!!" (but theres no proof to back that up.)
Art by samkalensky part of my School Mystery series of yokai stickers, follow and check my shop for many more!