Sunday, August 1, 2010

Creepy Japanese Children's Art

Reader Seth Poppy has passed along this link to a webpage showing 30 children's book illustrations by Japanese artist Gojin Ishihara. The first sixteen come from a 1972 book entitled The Illustrated Book of Japanese Monsters and would make great inspirations any Japanese-themed fantasy RPG, like Ruins & Ronin or Bushido.

13 comments:

  1. I think my fave is the guy whose arm flies off.

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  2. Good thing I didn't have these when I was working on Thool.

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  3. I recognize a few of these... I wish I could read the rest so I could recognize those, too!

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  4. There's a lot more of these in the very nicely illustrated and quite informative obakemono project.

    The trains near where I lived in Shimane Prefecture had the weird one-eyed boy painted on their sides, which served to make them a little freakish. But I always have thought Japanese monsters so weird that they aren't able to be scary.

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  5. I recognize many of them - hell, a number of them are seen in the old monster Manuals. Kappa are the turtle-men, Kitsune is that lady with a fox head (in D&D they are called Foxwoman), Oni are the horned demons (called Ogre-Mage in D&D), the Karasu Tengus are the bird-men (called Kenku in D&D), and so on.

    By the way! How did that Oni's severed right hand turned to a left hand?!?

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  6. That's tame. I though they were gonna be bukakke pics.

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  7. I second the obakemono project recommendation.

    One of the big failings of Oriental Adventures was the lack of pictures, especially in the "monsters" section.

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  8. "That's tame. I though they were gonna be bukakke pics."

    Actually, many of the classical Japanese art get really racy at times - like that one well known octopi and its human lover.

    "One of the big failings of Oriental Adventures was the lack of pictures, especially in the "monsters" section."

    "Failings!" That was not a "failing", that was a major shortcoming! Oriental settings have such an unique and elaborate style, that it requires illustration to really convey the feel of it. Its like giving a picture-book to the blind!

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  9. Cool.
    There is also a Nalfeshnee half down the page.

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  10. Your timing is excellent James. I've been here in Japan the last decade, and August is the month the Japanese tell ghost stories and tales about things that go bump in the night. There is an important festival mid-month, o-bon, when dead ancestors are believed to return and visit the living, and people here believe a scary tell sends "shivers" down your spine...a cold feeling that counteracts the humid summer heat.

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  11. The Armless Demon---

    It's not a he, but a she. If memory serves correctly, it's Hanya. She gets her arm lopped off by some guy and he keeps it from her, but she wants her arm back and goes through things to do it. Can't seem to recall the whole story though. It was told to me years ago.

    Al

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  12. "Yokai Attack!" by Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt is a great illustrated reference to various Japanese yokai. Just add stats. It's for sale at Amazon for a cheap 10 bucks.

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  13. If you like this sort of thing, check out a Japanese movie called "The Great Yokai War." It's a live-action film with eye-popping Japanese monsters everywhere. Not a great film by any means, but entertaining, and the monsters are amazing and hilarious by turns. It's available on Netflix.

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