The creature itself is a type of giant clam capable of creating illusions out in the ocean. The mirage in question it creates is that of the city of Horai a fabled land full of Immortals.
‘not made of air at all, but ghost – the substance of quintillions and quintillions of generations of souls blended into one immense translucency [so that] whatever man inhales that atmosphere, he takes into his blood the thrilling of the spirits… and they reshape his notions of space and time so that he can see only as they used to see… and think only as they used to think.’1
- View the book online here: Konjaku Hyakki Shūi 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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