Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]
Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]
Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]
Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]
Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]
Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]
Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]
Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]
Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]
Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]
Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]
Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]
Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]
Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]

Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]

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Suiko - 水虎 - [yokai]

• About this yokai: Suiko are the much more tougher, brutish cousins of kappa, but they should not be mistaken as the same creature, as they are far more dangerous. Although they're nearly identical as water yokai, they are distinctively lacking a Sara ("Head Dish" - kappas weakness.) Instead of a shell they have tough scaly carapaces which cannot be pierced by arrows. Their kneecaps have sharp hook-like claws growing out of them with sharp fur tufts, making them resemble the paws of a tiger, hence the name "water tiger." – They also have a somewhat fleshy feline face and They are often said to be about the size of a young child. [Though most modern interpretations exaggerate their size quite a bit making them appear as a "Big Boss kappa."] - like kappa, they are pranksters & they will often play "ding dong ditch" (knocking on doors & running away.) they are also able to possess people, making them do strange things. However, they are much more physically strong than a kappa.

it's said that once a year, the Suiko will attack someone, pulling them out into the deep sea, draining their victims blood, eating their soul, and then returning their drained husk to the place they snatched them from. Others say that they are messengers of Ryu (the dragon king) and that they kill humans to look tougher & get in good with him.

It is thought to be possible to keep suiko at bay by leaning a farmer's kama (sickle) against the side of a house, sprinkle flax seeds or black-eyed peas outside. Suiko are afraid of these and will stay away.

• History: Curiously enough The Suiko's scaly appearance is thought to originate with Pangolins! - As evidenced in China's "Ben Cao Gang Mu 本草綱目" [The Compendium of Material Medica, 1578] which classifies Pangolins as a type of fish (likely because of their scales) they were (and still are) used in Chinese Medicine. (Though today, pangolins are now sadly an endangered species.) - it is said that when these medical books came over to Japan, herbalists & doctors perhaps mistook the Suiko as a water demon (kappa) & over time it naturally merged into the kappa lore, it became a demon similar to the kappa, but with a stronger body and a fiercer personality.

The most famous Edo period Suiko illustration is the one drawn by Toriyama Sekien in his Hyakki Yagyo: Toriyama Sekien and others believed that suiko was different from kappa. noting that "the scales where like pangolins"

 

[Suiko as it appears in Konjaku Gazu Zoku Hyakki 1779 via “Japandemonium” 2018]

- the suiko is also found in Japanese-Chinese focused books such as Wakan Sansai Zue (1712) where its instead called "Shuihu." -

[The Suihu from Wakan Sansai Zue (1712) ]

There is very little definite form to this yokai, so appearances-wise, you might notice some people draw it literally as a literal blue/green "water tiger", a cross between a mammal and a fish, or even just a larger kappa with or without a plate. Suiko has on occasion, also sometimes been interpreted as the "proper name" for kappa. 

Sticker Art by @samkalensky  part of my night parade of 100 demons sticker collection, check my shop & follow for many more!


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