Inugami and Shirachigo
The Inugami has associations with Western Japan and the island of Shikoku, here venerated as powerful spirits capable of possessing, protecting, and cursing humans. Normally depicted in Buddhist robes, Toriyama Sekien depicts them wearing the clothes of a Shinto Priest.
The Shirachigo is depicted alongside this creature (in the Gazu Hyakki Yagyō) acting as a Scribe. Sekien here may be depicting the concept of Spirit Possession (Kamigakari), for discerning the will of the Gods.1
The depiction of the creature in the Hyakki Zukan (below) show the creature in the garb of Buddhist robes.
|Hyakkai Zukan||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