the online database of Japanese folkore

Suika no bakemono

西瓜の化物
すいかのばけもの

Translation: watermelon monster

Appearance: Suika no bakemono is a strange yōkai which looks like a samurai with a watermelon for a head. It appears in the Buson yōkai emaki.

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.

In his painting, Buson notes that this yōkai hails from Kizu, Ōsaka. Kizu was once a village in what is now now part of Naniwa Ward, Ōsaka. The place name still remains in a number of geographical features. Unfortunately whatever connection this yōkai had to that area is lost to time.

Alphabetical list of yōkai