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The Nuppeppō (ぬっぺっぽう) is a kind of featureless blob type Yōkai depicted in the Gazu Hyakki Yagyō and Hyakkai Zukan. The creatures name can be found derived from the word ‘nupperi’ which is something that is slack faced, or having a dazed expression.
Sekien shows the creature in front of an abandoned temple, with a bush of nira chives also shown. A food which was taboo in Buddhist cuisine due to its powerful aroma. This may be a subtle link to the story in which the Nuppeppō is said to also be a delicious type of food.
The story (first written by Maki Bokusen) states that the creature appeared one day in Tokugawa Ieyasu‘s garden. The Shogun quickly had the creature taken away, as he found the appearance of the ‘meat man’ to be unsettling. Later, a wise man approached the Shogun saying the creature resembled the legendary Hō and that one bite of the creatures flesh would have reinvigorated your constitution.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.
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