Tonight I bring you November's last yokai, and like the others this month, he is pretty silly!
Your cards will be charged some time this week, and I will be sending out the postcards and other rewards after that. Being December, international backers will be getting their quarterly packages as well!
To those of you receiving prints, if you have any preference of what print(s) you want to receive, send me a message and I will make them for you. Otherwise, I will surprise you! :)
Now, on to today's yokai:
TRANSLATION: bitter smile
HABITAT: inhabited areas
DIET: hatred and ill-feelings
APPEARANCE: Nigawarai are large, ugly yokai with horns and green-tinged, hairy bodies. They wear dirty rags. Their hairy mouths are twisted into what looks like a forced smile. Their hands end in sharp, poisonous claws, which is powerful enough to paralyze small animals.
BEHAVIOR: Nigawarai are created out of the ill feelings of human beings—particularly, feelings of ill-humor and forced, feigned amusement. As their name suggests, they are connected with the “bitter smiles” that people make when trying to hide their feelings of discomfort. They cause ill-will, disgust and encourage arguments. They both feed off of and spread these negative feelings in the people around them.
INTERACTIONS: When used in cooking, the poison from a nigawarai’s claws makes food terribly bitter. However, it has the ability to cure stomach pain, making nigawarai a useful yōkai for medicinal purposes.
ORIGIN: The earliest references to nigawarai go back to the Muromachi period, where they appear in monster scrolls. These paintings appeared without description, so the original intent of the artist in describing this yōkai is unknown. Over the centuries, nigawarai continued to appear in other monster scrolls, and through the work of numerous artists eventually developed the traits that they are known for today.