The Nureonna (濡れ女) is a type of serpentine, female Yōkai depicted in the Gazu Hyakki Yagyō and Hyakkai Zukan. Often this creature is depicted with wet hair which is plastered against its head. However, depictions made by Toriyama Sekien show the creatures with waving hair as well as arms.
The Yōkai is known to haunt river shorelines but also seas coasts.
Shimane Prefecture have stories of the Nureonna which state she often appears as a woman asking people she sees to hold her baby. After they do so she enters into the water and disappears.
This legend is further developed as other regions state she is married to the Ushioni. The story goes that the Nureonna would appear upon the coast and would hand over an infant to whomever should be passing by at the time. She would then disappear once more into the waves. This child would then gain weight until the person becomes pinned down, allowing the Ushioni to leave the waters to attack the poor passer-by who is now incapable of fleeing.1
The depiction of the creature in the Hyakki Zukan (below) shows the creature without arms as Sekien has portrayed. And she retains the typical look of having her hair plastered against her head.
|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.
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