I previously introducted the sketch of this as "ju," which is another reading of the kanji for its name. However, when looking up information about it, it seems that in Japanese, kotobuki is the more common version of its name. This makes sense, as kotobuki is a common word and contains the celebratory and congratulatory nuance that this creature conveys.
Also, happy birthday to Kim, who requested this yokai. I hope it brings you good luck on your birthday!
Oh, one more thing! March marks the end of the first quarter, which means those of you in the $30+ patron category are going to get your physical goods shipped to you in April! As I mentioned before moving, I've been exploring the possibility of offering alternative rewards instead of simply three prints. A popular suggestion was to get original paintings instead of prints. Many of you messaged me to say that you loved the handmade inkbrush kenmun postcards. I'm really glad to hear that! So I figured that getting another original painting would be appealing for some of you.
I made a number of yokai paintings a few years ago, before I moved to the US. I kept them in storage here in Japan, and now that I'm here again, I'm displaying them in my art studio. Some of you who are very long-time supporters of my art purchased some of these paintings back before Night Parade was published! So if you're interested in getting an original yokai painting this month instead of a set of three yokai prints, please let me know! Or, if you have a preference of three prints, please let me know what you'd like.
Ok, on to today's yokai!
TRANSLATION: congratulations, long life
APPEARANCE: The kotobuki is an auspicious chimera whose body contains parts from all twelve animals of the zodiac. It has the head of a rat, the ears of a hare, the horns of an ox, the comb of a rooster, the beard of a sheep, the mane of a horse, the neck of a dragon, the body of a boar, the shoulders of a tiger, the front legs of a monkey, the rear legs of a dog, and the tail of a snake.
ORIGIN: The kotobuki was first documented in the Edo period. Woodblock prints of it were popular gifts, as merely possessing an image of the kotobuki was enough to protect a person from sickness and disease. Almost no explanation about the creature was included in these prints, other than that it was said to come from India, it could understand human speech, and was called kotobuki.
Good luck charms featuring the animals of the zodiac were popular during the Edo period. Even without a description, customers would recognize the twelve zodiac signs hidden in this beast. Further, the name kotobuki is a celebratory and congratulatory word, which makes this creature instantly identifiable as a powerful and auspicious creature.