the online database of Japanese folkore

Bekatarō

べか太郎
べかたろう

Translation: unknown; a play on the name Tarō
Alternate names: bekuwatarō, bekuwabō, beroritarō, peroritarō, akanbei
Habitat: streets, alleys, and places with spare food
Diet: everything, even people

Appearance: Bekatarō is a short and pudgy yōkai with a head of matted, greasy hair. Its signature move is to pull down its lower eyelids with its fingers and stick its tongue out in a mocking guesture.

Origin: Bekatarō appears in a number of yōkai pictures scrolls under a number of different names. It appears as an illustration with a name only, so nothing is known about what it does or where it comes from. A backstory was eventually invented for bekatarō by Mizuki Shigeru.

Legends: Long ago, there was a baby boy named Tarō with an insatiable appetite. He could eat as much as 10, even 20 adults would eat. Eventually, his parents could no longer afford to feed him. They abandoned him, and he was forced to live on the streets.

Tarō survived by wandering the streets and begging strangers for food. But no matter how much food he was given, it was never enough to satisfy him. He was always hungry. His hunger was so great that be began to wonder what humans tasted like. Eventually, he gave in to his curiosity. He began to catch and eat people, and as a result transformed into a yōkai. From then on, whenever strangers would encounter Tarō on the streets, they would run away from him in fear.

Alphabetical list of yōkai