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Yonaki babā

Nakibabaa夜泣き婆
よなきばばあ

TRANSLATION: weeping hag
ALTERNATE NAMES: nakibabā
HABITAT: human-inhabited areas
DIET: feeds off of others’ sadness

APPEARANCE: Yonaki babā looks like an old woman with scraggly, unkempt hair and plain robes. She appears outside of houses where tragedy has struck, attracted by the sadness of those within. She remains outside of the house, weeping loudly all night long. Although it appears that yonaki babā are sharing in the sadness of others, it is sometimes said that they actually weep out of scorn, mocking those who are truly sad.

INTERACTIONS: Yonaki babā’s weeping is contagious; those who hear her cannot help but to weep as well. She may return to the same house over and over for many nights. Families which are visited by a yonaki babā night after night invariably fall into ruin.

ORIGIN: Yonaki babā’s behavior is similar to that of a class of spirits called yakubyō gami—minor deities and spirits which bring sickness and disaster wherever they go. Before modern medicine, plagues and natural disasters were often thought to be the works of these spirits. Because repeated yonaki babā appearances are often precursors to the ruin of an entire family, it has been suggested that she may be a kind of yakubyō gami.

Conversely, it has also been suggested the yonaki babā’s arrival may be a divine signal that disaster is near. Rather than bringing disease and ruin herself, yonaki babā may be a kind of divine herald with the duty of warning humans that misfortune, sickness, and death are on the way.

Keukegen

Keukegen毛羽毛現
けうけげん

TRANSLATION: hairy, fluffy sight; alternatively, rare and dubious thing
HABITAT: damp homes, dirty gardens, moldy closets, under floorboards
DIET: mold, dirt, and garbage

APPEARANCE: Keukegen are particularly filthy monsters commonly found in populated areas. They are the size of a small dog, and appear simply as a mass of long, dirty hair. They make their homes in cool, damp, dark places, and are particularly fond of living under floorboards and around run-down homes, where stuffiness, moisture, and lack of human activity create the perfect breeding place for sickness.

BEHAVIOR: Despite their apparent cuteness, keukegen do not make good pets. They are actually a kind of minor spirit of bad luck, disease, and pestilence. They bring sickness and bad health to those whom they live near. Generally they try to avoid human contact, being shy by nature, and are rarely seen. However, their proximity is apparent when members of a household mysteriously begin to contract sickness or bad luck. They are easy to avoid, however, as keep away from clean, kempt houses.

ORIGIN: Keukegen’s name is a pun. It is commonly written with characters that mean “a hairy fluffy sight,” but can also be written with different characters that mean “rare and dubious.” Unsurprisingly, these creatures are rarely seen directly, and those who claim to have seen them are often accused of imagining it. Though while keukegen may be hard to see, the sickening effect of their presence is very obvious.