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Tsurube-Otoshi: A Japanese Fishing Technique

Tsurube-otoshi is a yōkai, a supernatural creature from Japanese folklore, known for its terrifying appearance and behavior. According to legends, Tsurube-otoshi drops from the trees and attacks humans, devouring them. They are found in various regions of Japan, including Kyoto Prefecture, Shiga Prefecture, Gifu Prefecture, Aichi Prefecture, and Wakayama Prefecture.

Tsurube-otoshi is often depicted as a giant head, either human, tengu, or oni, that drops from the trees to trap or crush its victims. They are carnivorous and prefer human or animal prey. In addition to their ferocious behavior, Tsurube-otoshi is said to have a sense of humor and taunt their victims. People are advised to avoid walking under old trees to avoid being attacked by Tsurube-otoshi.

The name Tsurube-otoshi comes from the Japanese words “tsurube,” meaning a bucket suspended over a well, and “otoshi,” meaning to drop. The creature is also known as Tsurube-oroshi, which means “the one who drops the bucket.” Despite being a terrifying creature, Tsurube-otoshi is a popular yōkai in Japanese folklore and has been featured in various stories, movies, and TV shows.

Origins and Mythology

Japanese Folklore

Tsurube-otoshi, also known as tsurube-oroshi, is a yokai that originates from Japanese folklore. According to legend, these creatures lurk in trees and drop down on unsuspecting travelers. They are often described as disembodied heads or fireballs and are said to attack and even devour humans.

The name “tsurube-otoshi” comes from the Japanese word for “well bucket” (tsurube) and “drop” (otoshi). The creature’s name is fitting, as it is said to drop down on its victims from the trees above.

Cultural Significance

Tsurube-otoshi has played a significant role in Japanese culture and folklore. The creature has been featured in various forms of media, including literature, film, and television. It has also been the subject of many works of art, including paintings and sculptures.

In addition to its artistic significance, tsurube-otoshi has also been used as a cautionary tale in Japanese culture. The creature is often used to warn people of the dangers of traveling alone at night or wandering into unfamiliar areas.

Overall, tsurube-otoshi remains a fascinating and mysterious creature in Japanese folklore. Its unique appearance and terrifying reputation have made it a popular subject in art and literature for centuries.

Physical Description

Tsurube-otoshi is a yōkai that is said to drop from above the trees and attack unsuspecting humans. It is described as a disembodied head or as a fireball. The creature has been depicted in various forms of art throughout history.

Depictions in Art

In art, Tsurube-otoshi is often portrayed as a giant bald head with a dark beard and proportionally sized facial features. Its eyes have brown irises and small pupils, buck teeth, thick eyebrows, and lips. In some manga appearances, it has been depicted with tiny legs protruding from its beard, mainly in moments of mobilization.

Comparison with Other Yokai

Tsurube-otoshi is often compared to other yōkai that lurk in tree tops and attack unsuspecting travelers. One such yōkai is the tsurubebi, which appears as a fireball. Another yōkai that is often compared to Tsurube-otoshi is the rokurokubi, which has the ability to stretch its neck to great lengths.

Overall, Tsurube-otoshi is a unique and terrifying yōkai that has been depicted in various forms of art throughout history. Its physical appearance is distinct and recognizable, making it a popular subject for artists and storytellers alike.

Tales and Legends

Famous Stories

Tsurube-otoshi is a yōkai that is often portrayed in Japanese folklore as a creature that hides in tree tops and waits for unwary humans. It is said that when they spot a human, they drop down onto them and attack or even devour them. One famous story tells of a group of travelers who were walking through a dense forest when they encountered a Tsurube-otoshi. The creature dropped down from the trees and attacked them, but they were able to fend it off and escape.

Another famous story tells of a man who was walking home late at night when he spotted a Tsurube-otoshi in a nearby tree. The creature dropped down and attacked him, but he was able to defend himself by using a nearby stick to fend it off. The man reported the incident to the local authorities, who searched the area but found no evidence of the creature.

Regional Variations

Tsurube-otoshi is a yōkai that is told about in various regions of Japan, including Kyoto Prefecture, Shiga Prefecture, Gifu Prefecture, Aichi Prefecture, and Wakayama Prefecture. In some areas, the creature is known as Tsurube-oroshi. While the basic description of the creature is similar across regions, there are some variations in the stories that are told about it.

In some regions, Tsurube-otoshi is said to be a creature that is born from the spirits of people who died in accidents or were killed by falling objects. In other regions, the creature is said to be a guardian of the forest who attacks humans who harm the trees or animals that live there. Despite these variations, the overall image of Tsurube-otoshi as a dangerous and fearsome creature remains consistent across the different regions of Japan.

Modern Depictions

In Media and Entertainment

The Tsurube-otoshi has been featured in various Japanese media and entertainment, including anime, manga, and video games. One example is the anime series “Gegege no Kitaro,” which features the Tsurube-otoshi as a recurring antagonist. In the series, they are depicted as ghostly creatures that drop from trees to attack humans.

Another example is the video game “Nioh,” where the Tsurube-otoshi is one of the yokai that the player can encounter and battle against. The game depicts them as flying, ghostly creatures that attack with a long tongue.

Influence on Popular Culture

The Tsurube-otoshi has also had an influence on popular culture outside of Japan. For example, the Tsurube-otoshi has been depicted in the American television series “Supernatural,” where it is portrayed as a creature that drops from trees to attack and kill humans.

Additionally, the Tsurube-otoshi has been featured in various horror-themed video games and movies, such as “Fatal Frame” and “The Grudge.” These depictions often draw on the Tsurube-otoshi’s folklore roots, depicting them as ghostly creatures that attack and devour humans.

Overall, the Tsurube-otoshi’s unique appearance and folklore have made it a popular creature in Japanese media and entertainment, as well as in horror-themed media around the world.

Beliefs and Superstitions

Protective Measures

Tsurube-otoshi is a yōkai that is feared by many people in Japan. To protect themselves from this creature, people have developed various protective measures. One of the most common measures is to carry a mirror or any reflective object. It is believed that the creature is afraid of its own reflection, so carrying a mirror can protect one from its attacks. Another measure is to avoid walking under old trees, which are believed to be the creature’s favorite hiding place.

Contemporary Beliefs

Despite the modernization and scientific advancements in Japan, many people still believe in the existence of Tsurube-otoshi. Some even claim to have encountered the creature themselves. In recent years, there have been reports of people being attacked by an unknown creature that matches the description of Tsurube-otoshi. These reports have sparked fear and curiosity among the public, leading to an increase in interest in yōkai and Japanese folklore.

Superstitions and beliefs like these are deeply rooted in Japanese culture and have been passed down from generation to generation. While some may dismiss them as mere superstitions, they continue to shape the beliefs and behaviors of many people in Japan.