Hyōsube (ひょうすべ) are a type of Yōkai depicted in the Gazu Hyakki Yagyo and Hyakkai Zukan. They are basically a kind of enchanted doll and can find their origins linked to the Kasuga Grand Shrine in Nara. The story states they helped build this temple before being sent to Kyushu and unceremoniously dumped in a river their near to Shiomi Jinga. Angry that they have been discarded the return seeking revenge, attacking all those who come near the waters they were dumped in. Eventually a man by the name of Hyōbu-taifu comes to deal with the Yōkai and end the threat they pose. This man was also the origins behind the name of the Yōkai.1
|Bakemono no e|
- View the Gazu Hyakki Yagyō online here: Gazu Hyakki Yagyō Online.
1. Yoda, H. and Alt, M. (2016) “Japandemonium: Illustrated: The Yokai Encyclopaedia of Toriyama Sekien.”. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.
Check out Japan Archives, our Japanese History Podcast