TOTTORI YOKAI ROAD

Yokais are strange and wondrous apparitions whose ghostly manifestations have been part of Japanese folklore from ancient times. These phantoms began as monsters, goblins, or freaks of nature that brought fortune and misfortune to human lives, so people used to be afraid of them. Now, however, these spirits are becoming more familiar since the media introduced yokai as entertainment content. Greater recognition of yokais was largely the result of yokai manga drawn by Shigeru Mizuki. His prolific works including his masterpiece GeGeGe no Kitaro, which visualized yokai stories told around Japan as ghastly yet charming figures. Mr. Mizuki’s birthplace, Sakai-minato-shi, Tottori Pref. is now like a theme park for yokais. If you visit this city, you can meet figures of yokais he drew, not only in alleys but also in shops and even small police stations.

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Kitaro

The hero of GeGeGe no Kitaro, a famous manga series. He is a survivor of the yokai species that flourished before the coming of human beings. Gifted with various supernatural powers, he drives away evil as a champion of justice.

Medama Oyaji (Eyeball “Big” Buddy)

Father of Kitaro. At the last instant of the father’s death, one eyeball came out his body and survived. His favorite pastime is taking a bath in a small bowl.

Nezumi Otoko (Rat Man)

Typically, he is a sly old creature who easily betrays friends. However, since he is lazy, he survives by staying close to Kitaro and his friends.

Konaki-jijii

A yokai with an old man’s body who cries like a baby. If someone who hears a baby wailing and picks up this creature (which looks like a baby), it becomes heavier and heavier, turning into a rock that crushes the victim.

Sunakake-baba

Yokai with a kind-hearted personality who runs the Yokai Apartment business. There are tubes inside her nails that inject sand, blinding people.

Nopperabo

A yokai with no eyes and nose but only a mouth. He steals facial features from humans by serving them tempura of “death candles” (ghastly fireballs called hitodama believed to be the spirits of the dead).

Akaname (Grime Licker)

A yokai that appears if a bathtub is not kept clean. He licks grime in the bathroom.

Kasabake (Umbrella Thing)

A type of tsukumo-gami (spirit or animistic deity which inhabits old goods as well as living things). Kasabake is a single-footed yokai with only one eye who laughs while showing his tongue.

Kappa

A yokai living near water. These creatures have been observed throughout Japan and have different names by region. He likes sumo wrestling and cucumbers.

Mizuki Shigeru
(at work)

The author of GeGeGe no Kitaro. He was strongly drawn to yokais from his childhood and produced hundreds of yokai characters. He is a pioneer of yokai manga and has received a number of national awards and honors as a researcher of yokais. Over 90 years old, he is still energetically producing new works, and some say he himself must be a yokai.

Nekomusume
(Cat Girl)

A girlfriend of Kitaro. Very popular character.

The museum for the Mizuki world. It exhibits anything related to Mizuki Shigeru and his drawings, including his simulated atelier, Kitaro Hut, yokai dioramas, etc. Many valuable Mizuki works are on display.

JR Sakai Line connecting Yonago and Sakai-minato stations runs a Kitaro Train with six car designs. Almost every corner of the train — regardless of interior or exterior — is illustrated with pictures of Kitaro and yokai figures. This service is particularly popular among tourists. At Yonago Kitaro Airport on the Sakai Line, you can encounter Kitaro and his colleagues, too.

Japan’s largest sand dune, 16 km from east to west, is a popular sightseeing spot in Tottori Prefecture. You can ride a camel or horse there, and fans of sky sports that enjoy hanggliding visit this place, too. Since Tottori Sakyu is a national natural treasure, scribbling on the sand dunes is prohibited.

MIZYKI SHIGERU ROAD

Matsugae-cho/Taisho-cho/Honcho
Sakai-minato-shi, Tottori Pref.

MIZUKI SHIGERU MUSEUM

5 Honcho, Sakai-minato-shi, Tottori Pref.

©MIZUKI Productions

OSAMU TEZUKA
creator of Japan’s manga and anime cultures
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