• About this Yokai •
Umi-osho - JP: 海和尚
Also known as “Oshou-Uo” an ocean faring yokai said to be closely related to both the “Umibozu’’ & “Umizato” for the reason that it resembles a balding old monk. it is also often likened to the famous ‘sea bishop’ (though that’s mostly because of the shared naming.) – it is said that when it appears, it brings with it strong winds & disaster soon to follow, when it sees a person, it makes a shrill and awful laugh...
• Early appearances & History •
This Yokai as we know it seems to originate from the 1712 Edo-period encyclopedia – “Wakan Sanzai Zue” 和漢三才図会 where it goes by the name “Oshou Uo” - the record describes it rather simply, saying it was 5-6 shaku (1.5-1.8m) long and that it “looks like a soft shelled turtle with the head & face like a "buddhist monk” its name seems to literally translates to ‘MonkFish’] - There are also earlier records of the same turtle monk from Chinese folklore "Sancai Tuhui"《三才图会》– from the 35th year of the Ming Dynasty" – an encyclopedia of odd fish, insects and other such things: the related text roughly translates something close to: "In the Eastern Ocean, there is the "Monk Fish", which resembles a turtle, its body red and red in colour, arriving from the tide." - Conversely, A yokai with the same appearance, called "Irikame Nyudo" was written about In an Edo-period essay called "Tankai" – Apparently, if you one caught one while fishing, it would put its hands together, cry and plead for its life!! but it was said that its best to give it a drink, and politely let it go so that you wouldn't be cursed...
It would seem that over time, creators like Shigeru Mizuki (& others) added more to the story, saying that it "whipped up storms" likening it to umibozu. (but perhaps the storms are implied from "let it go & be polite, else you'll be cursed.")
- Speaking of being polite: one should also take care not to mistake this yokai with other lucky turtle Yōkai (which are usually identifiable by their feathery tails.) such as Honengame or Minogame: 蓑亀 (aka the 10,000 year turtle, oftentimes said to be the same one that Urashima Tarō saved.) -
Sticker Art by @Samkalensky (yo thats me!) - Part of my Night parade of 100 Demons - Yokai & Japanese folklore sticker collection, weather-resistant 4" Glossy sticker. Check my shop & follow @samkalensky for many more! -