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Shigeru Mizuki's Pocket Visual Guide to Youkai Review


Shigeru Mizuki's Pocket Visual Guide to Youkai Review

Had a flip through the Pocket Visual Guide to Yokai I bought while in Japan. Really nice little guide to 333 different demons and spirits you find in Japanese folklore.

Mizuki Shigeru's Pocket Guide to Youkai

Apparently this is the 15th print since 2018. Only came across it in the pop-up shop, not the tea house.

15th print.

First section was dedicated to all the popular Yokai you'll find in any Japanese fiction that involves them such as Hanako, one of the "wonders of school" who haunts the toilets. She replies, "Yes, I'm here" if you knock on the cubicle door, "Are you there, Hanako?"


Snow woman's popularised too of course like in In/Spectre. In actual folklore you're advised to best ignore them or they will attack and devour you. Then there's these Mokumokuren eyes you see at the tea house. They appear in abandoned homes and maybe the spirit of Go players.

Snow woman

Big "boss" Yokai get a double page feature, haha. Another popular one, the Gasha Skeleton. 10 metres in height, attacks on sight. One is formed when too many corpses are left without a proper burial so their hatred gather.

Gasha skeleton.

Moving on from the popular Yokai section is the human form Yokai section. From the back, Iyami may look like a pretty woman but actually has the face of a perverted old man. It's said a young man mistaken it for his sister before it turned round...


Butt-Eye, a faceless Yokai that appears in Kyoto and walks around in a kimono at night. While on patrol, samurais stopped one. It threw off its kimono and revealed a glowing eye on its butt...

Butt eye youkai.

Zunberabou, a Yokai with a oval faceless head. It's said a man was singing a song called, "Koubeh" until he came across one in horror.

Seems Japanese also call odd behaving people like cross-dressers "Zunberabou" if they have the malicious intent to sneak into women only places. Can't find the tweet I came across any more though.


Abacus Boy, so-called because it hangs out in quiet areas of woodlands and produces a sound similar to that of someone using an abacus.

Abacus boy.

Tall Woman. It's... tall and enjoys peeping into the second floor of shops. It's said women who were never loved by men became filled with jealousy and their spirits become this. Once angry, they can grow bigger and devour over 30 humans.


Big-headed Monk. Think I saw this from Kitaro once. Look closely and you'll notice its legs are like that of an animal.

Big-headed Monk

People often mistaken it to be Tofu Monk's brother but it's actually the grandson. It doesn't cause humans any significant harm.

Tofu Monk

God of Poverty (left). Reminds you of Noragami, eh? (great show). A man dreamt of it appearing in his home, for 4 years he suffered poverty before he dreamt of it again, telling him to release miso into a river. After doing so, he was free of poverty. Was a Kitaro ep with this.


Ah, the Two-mouthed Woman that Kitaro had to battle against. A man married a second time but his new wife would only feed her own children, not the previous wife's who were starved to death. One day, the man accidentally hit her on the back of her head, the wound became a mouth.

Two-mouthed Woman

Yagyou-san, the single eye Yokai you see in Natsume a lot (a wholesome colourful show with cute Yokai). Travels around on a headless horse during "Hyaki Nights" in the Tokushima prefecture. Its said humans who go out during those nights get kicked to death.


Spirit Babies. Just a place where a bunch of spirits had gathered and taken on the form of babies. Must have been the inspiration for the Kodama forest spirits in Ghibli's Princess Mononoke.

Spirit Babies

Onto the animal form Youkais, Single-ear Pigs, shadow-less Youkai that like to run around humans' legs before extracting their soul. You can protect yourself by crossing your legs. Appears in Kagoshima, island featured in Makoto Shinkai's 5cm Cosmonaut.


Oh yes, the familiar almighty Nine-tailed Fox, probably best known from Naruto. Originating from China where it caused havoc before doing the same in India. It then travelled to Japan where it got defeated and its remains as rocks spewing sulfurous gas in Tochigi.

Kyuubi no Kitsune

More Youkai that look like Ghibli inspiration. This time Minkiraura, pigs that again appear in Kagoshima and just like the Single-ear Pigs, they extract souls from humans by running through their legs. Looks like dust bunnies from Totoro to me.


Yay, the Night Sparrows that carry Kitaro and his gang around. In the old feudal days if they make a racket around you then it means you're being targeted by wolves.


There's a small section dedicated to the cucumber loving Kappa Youkais and his "friends", including ones that extract your soul from your butt hole as you can find out in one of Tokyo Ghostwire sidequests...

Kappa and friends.

Kiyohime. Saw this at the tea house couple of years back but, it wasn't up this time when I re-visited. A woman who refused to go along with the marriage of convenience so badly, she cursed herself. Here she haunts her dad hiding in the bell. Used as popular kabuki play.


Mermaids in Western tales are depicted as beautiful girls seducing sailors at sea but not Japanese ones (right). They do give off a nice scent though.


Possessed Masks. Inspiration for the bouncing heads in Ghibli's Spirited Away? They don't come alive until night and don't do any harm to humans. It's said the Youkai spirited have been seen leaving the masks in human form.

Possessed masks.

We see those little blue flame Youkai in Anime all the time but the flame form Youkai are mainly divided into shadow and light flames. Shadow has no heat but burns more fierce with water.

Blue shadow fire spirits.

Light flame Youkais are hot and go out when doused with water.

Light flame spirits.

They're called "youkai" because they can take in all kind of forms including bamboo, objects and part of nature.

Evil bamboo.

And that's the Youkai that caught my attention in the book.

Bought a second book from the tea house before I bought this one which isn't so pocket sized.

Gegege no Kitaro Yokai Files

Same illustrations but black and white so not so great to look at.

Black and white profiles.

Although it introduces the cast of characters from Kitaro and has a map showing which regions of Japan the Youkai appear in.

Yokai map of Japan.

I think I prefer the pocket guide more overall.

Why not take a break?

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