the online database of Japanese folklore

Makuwauri no bakemono


Translation: oriental melon monster

Appearance: Makuwauri no bakemono is a bizarre and mysterious yokai found in the Buson yōkai emaki. It looks like an oriental melon (Cucumis melo) with the body of a samurai sprouting from it.

Origin: Buson yōkai emaki is a famous yōkai picture scroll painted by Yosa Buson, a poet and artist who lived from 1716 to 1784. He is considered one of the greatest poets of the Edo Period. In the 1750’s, while studying painting at Kenshōji in Miyazu, Kyōto, Buson painted a scroll containing eight graffiti-like doodles of bizarre yōkai. His doodles are presented as pictures with names and no stories, so the true origin of these yōkai remains a mystery. They are believed to be based upon local legends that Buson picked during on his travels.

The illustration of this yōkai in Buson’s painting notes that it comes from the river ferry in what is today Yamashiro village in Kizugawa City, Kyōto. Whatever specific connection this yōkai had with the area is unfortunately lost. The region was historically famous for it’s melons, so it is only natural that it may have had melon yōkai as well.

Alphabetical list of yōkai