The creature has many differing origins depending on the source consulted.
Sekien uses the origins mentioned in the Wakan Sansai Zue which says this creature is a water kami the size of a three year old boy. They have crimson skin, red eyes, long ears as well as glossy hair. The food they like to eat is the livers of corpses.
The Kishin Shūsetsu (Explanations of Ghosts and Spirits) from 1689 describes the Mōryō as a phantom from the mountains with a Chinese source stating it is a creature which appears among trees and rocks.1
- View the Konjaku Gazu Zoku Hyakki online here: Konjaku Online.
1. Yoda, H. and Alt, M. (2016) “Japandemonium: Illustrated: The Yokai Encyclopaedia of Toriyama Sekien.”. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.
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