Junya Kono is somewhat of a renaissance man when it comes to yokai(demons and ghouls of Japanese folklore). He's an event and art producer, lecturer, and overall enthusiast for the subject. He's particularly keen on those related to the city of Kyoto, as he even uses them (via yokai themed events, sales, and flea markets) to promote tourism in Kyoto--which is rich with not just emblems of Japanese history, but insight regarding such folklore and mysticism. So it seems that he keeps his love of Japanese folklore alive by producing events and creating ways for people to get people involved in it as well.

Using that skill and passion--he has produced some really great artwork featuring those yokai. The style has a mix of morbid, surreal, and even cute in it, but they are all definitely worth checking out. So here's a sample of his work with a little cultural background on each individual demon. Enjoy!


Ghostly cats whose tails split has they grow older and prowl through the town every night. As they have a habit of stealing corpses, it's believed that cats should be kept away from funerals! So don't accept paw-marks on your funeral RSVPs.


Source: kyotohyakki


The anguished face of a man locked in place on an oxcart wheel, Wanyudo wheels his way across the land, dragging anyone unfortunate enough to get too close to the depths of hell. So whichever way he is going--go the other way! DO NOT PLAY WITH THE WHEEL!


Source: kyotohyakki


This old geezer will sneak into your house while you are away and pretend to be the actual owner of the house while drinking your tea! This makes it a pain to kick him out because everyone will take his side and say he was there first!


Source: kyotohyakki


A three eyed girl who appears at the end of Winter, and helps summon yokai for Nurarihyon to lead in the Night Parade of One Hundred Demons during the Summer. Not the kinda parade you wanna hang around, though. This is actually an original mascot character that Mr. Kono has made for his events, so I'm just surmising from the picture!


Source: kyotohyakki


This guy is a bit of a jerk. He manifests himself as a wall, and appears to block the way of travelers. You can't go around him because he mysteriously extends himself forever--you can just kick out his legs though, and move on. So do that. Definitely do that.


Source: kyotohyakki


I'm not sure if yokai pick on each other in yokai school, but this guy is the prime candidate. You encounter him by hearing the sound of azuki beans being washed, and if you approach you can hear him singing "Will I grind my azuki beans, or will I get a person to eat?" You're not supposed to see the guy, but he's bald, ugly, and if you try to find him you'll just fall into a river. At which point he apparently runs away to...wash more beans.


Source: kyotohyakki


My biggest fear in the bathroom--a possessed roll of toilet paper. Well, not really. It's a roll of cotton animated by a yokai spirit, and flies around to wrap around people and smother them or carry them away. Charming--but I imagine they wouldn't want to do their hunting in a bathroom!


Source: kyotohyakki

We hope you enjoyed the work! If you want to get more insight about the world of yokai or find information about Mr. Kono's projects, please check out the site and explore! It may be a little spooky at first, but we think you'll appreciate just how vivid and strangely beautiful things are crafted in this world.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.