Koto-Furunushi - 琴古主 - [Yokai]
• About this yokai: The Koto is Japan's national instrument, its a long, 13-stringed, floor harp. - Koto-furunushi: translating to"Old Master Koto" is a Tsukumogami based off of said instrument, it is also an anthropomorphization of the older, forgotten styles of playing the music. – Instruments are often said to become tsukumogami when they've been neglected by their owners, gone unpracticed and left sitting in storage for years, or even decades at a time! – They are often depicted (humorously) seeking revenge against the musicians who've neglected their practice or repair. - Koto Furunushi is often included along side Biwa-Boku-Boku & Shami-choro, The three are often said to be a trio that play forgotten songs and tunes together as a band. - These yokai serve as a reminder to practice diligently & to not let the old instruments & ways of playing be forgotten.
• History: in some of the earliest "Hyakki Yagyo Emaki" edo period picture scrolls, An unnamed Koto-Yokai, is often seen being led along by an un-named biwa yokai. from under the koto, it sprouts lizard-like appendanges, a tail and a fuzzy face from the bottom. this is likely because parts of the instrument were named after the instruments likeness to a dragon, stretched out along the ground. - the top ends are written with Chinese characters, meaning "dragon's back" (ryuko) and "dragon's tail." (ryubi) – Thus the earlier lizard-like appearances of this yokai are likely a visual pun based on that!
Later on in the 1780s it also famously appeared as part of Toriyama Sekiens: Gazu Hyakki Tsurezure Bukuro (百器徒然袋) [1781-1784] - [Toriyama also named it.] - There, he depicts it with wild hair (snapped strings) & likened it to a beast, taking a bite out of perhaps a music book. The included writings basically said that the new style of koto-playing has made the older styles become rare. The Koto-Furunushi is an anthromorphization of the grudge of the older music, getting revenge!
[its a little bit ironic that most artists usually draw this yokai based on toriyamas rather than look to older sources, so i drew the older one for a change, plus it fit nicely with my biwa design!]
Sticker art by @samkalensky, part of my Hyakki-Yagyo: night parade of 100 demons, yokai sticker collection, check my shop for many more!