Tanuki-bayashi - 狸囃子 (Tanuki Rhythm) aka "baka-bayashi" (馬鹿囃子) - (fools Rhythm.) - ('Hayashi' is accompanying music, festival music, or chaotic music to dance to.)
• About this yokai: Tanuki-Bayashi is an auditory phenomena: Where in you think you hear the sound of taiko drums, but if you try to walk towards the source of where the music is coming from, the sound only gets further away, almost as if the sound is trying to flee! it seems to be impossible to find the source of the sound...
• History: Often Listed as one of the 'Seven wonders of Honjo.' (本所七不思議) where it's said to be the work of a procession of tanuki [as such its a frequent motif in artwork, seuveneir postcards and poetry relating to that area.] however similar audio phenomena is described all over country. - Quite often, the mysterious sound in question is drumming, so it's usually said to be a tanuki's prank (with them famously beating their stomachs) [or their kintama..]
Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 (1798-1861). Photo KuniyoshiProject.com.
...incidentally: if you're hearing sawing in the woods (but there's nobody working) or the wind is blowing against the trees (though, its not particularly windy out.) its also known as Tengu-Bayashi (天狗囃子) - (Tengu music) - however, some say that this is actually a badger with his long tail, banging on trees trying to fool people.
Perhaps this type of phenomena is observed less these days because society has become quite noisy in general.
•In pop culture: in addition to being a regular motif in the seven wonders of honjo, in the 1930's a black and white cartoon "Shojoji No Tanuki Bayashi" was made about this phenomena, later, the tanuki-bayashi would be featured in shigeru mizukis works (1922-2015) (the kintama would be censored in the cartoon to be the tanukis belly instead.) ghibli of course, featured tanuki hitting their stomachs & using their testies in ponpoko.
see also: Tanuki, Mamedanuki, Auditory phenomena.
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