Who is Shigeru Mizuki? A Japanese cartoonist, born in 1924, who lost his left arm in World War II. He is largely responsible for keeping the yōkai tradition alive in Japan, with his distinctive drawings, whimsical comic stories, and general enthusiasm.
What are Yōkai? Yōkai, or youkai, also known as obake or bakemono, are the folk monsters of Japan. They constitute a hundreds-strong menagerie of bizarre and varied creatures. They are magical, nebulous beings that exist in some strange state halfway between spirit and flesh, and are often the physical manifestations of extreme mental states, or the monstrous alteration of some ordinary object, animal, or person. They are just as varied in temperament as they are in form, and range from strange but personable goblins, to harmless pranksters that simply love scaring people, to dangerous ghouls that feast on human flesh. The livejournal community yokaimonsters is devoted to them.
What is Gegege No Kitarō? Mizuki's most famous work, about a yōkai boy with a missing left eye and a large number of strange powers, who fights to keep peace between monsters and humans. His father, though dead, reanimated himself as an anthropomorphic version of his own remaining eyeball, and often guides Kitaro by riding around in his hair or empty eye socket. Kitarō's friends include:
- Nezumi-Otoko (Ratman), a scheming, smelly, welt-covered half-yōkai wearing a filthy cowl, with an pear-shaped head, buckteeth, and enormous animal-like whiskers. He often gets himself into trouble by siding with the bad guys. - Neko-Musume (Catgirl), a yōkai girl with a very bad haircut and a frightening, sharp-toothed feline aspect that surfaces in the presence of fish, rodents, and especially Ratman. Appears only once in the comic, but is an important character in the cartoon series. - Sunakake-Baba (Sandwitch), a cranky old yōkai woman. - Konakijijii (Old Man Crybaby), an absent-minded, cheerful yōkai fellow dressed in an infant's smock, who can turn into heavy stone and crush anyone who picks him up. -Nurikabe, a wall who is often invisible. -Ittan-Momen, a flying strip of ghost-cloth who Kitarō and friends often ride on.
Who runs this community? A foul-tempered and opinionated gaijin and gigantic smelly yōkai geek going by the internet moniker of tengoo. She does not approve of glomping, bishounen, Japanese honorifics used in English, or anything of that nature, so BE WARNED.