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Gegege no Kitarō 3: The Yōkai World

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Akashita with Bone Lady and Nezumi Otoko (35)
Source: TV
Layers: 1
Sketches: 1
Cel Number: A7
Oversize, 14.5W x 10H

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Added 3/23/2021
Updated 3/18/2023

Episode 35: "Yōkai Akashita’s 1,000 Year Kingdom" [妖怪赤舌の千年王国]. This episode concerns a yōkai made up of a shaggy brown head with a prominent bright red tongue, hence its name “Aka-shita” or “Red Tongue.” In this episode, this spirit intends to conquer the spirit world to rule in a thousand-year empire (“reich,” one is tempted to suggest) and so enlists the aid of the trickster Nezumi Otoko and Iso-Onna or “Bone Lady,” a regular spoiler in this series. This cel comes from one of the climactic scenes, as shown by the use of a screen cap in one of the Japanese fan sites summarizing the episode.

Japanese folklore mentions the Akashita (also known as Akaguchi) as a kind of guardian of rice fields, punishing greedy farmers who open sluice gates to drain a neighbor’s field of water needed for their crop. Sekien’s woodcut seems to reference this belief by showing the yōkai atop one of these water gates.

Like the similar yōkai Odoro-odoro, its main attribute is its long tongue, which laps up stolen water and perhaps the bodies of greedy farmers. In this episode, the yōkai has the ability to suck moisture out of the bodies of its enemies. But the tradition itself is fluid and the being might have evolved out of a storm deity that menaced ships.

See Yō and Wikipedia for more information.

This grandly oversized cel came attached to a sheet of rice paper, which I’ve left in place. The A7 douga came unattached and is added in the thumbnail. Oddly, the lot also included the A2 and A5 dougas; I’d guess that the two cels that went with these sketches were stored in a big pile with the others, and did not survive in marketable condition.

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Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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