Baku – 獏 29. March 2023

The Baku is a chimera-like creature that has its origins in China. According to legend, it was the last animal created by the gods. Due to having only remnants of other animals left, they put them together and the Baku was born. Thus, it has the body of a bear, the head of an elephant, the eyes of a rhinoceros, the tail of an ox, and the legs of a tiger.

The behavior

Unlike many other yōkai, the he’s not hostile towards humans. On the contrary, it benefits from humans as it feeds on their nightmares. To invoke the Baku, all one has to do is recite the formula “Baku-san, come eat my dream” three times after waking up. People used to embroider the kanji for Baku on their pillows to prevent against nightmares, diseases, and evil spirits. Other malevolent yōkai and spirits fear it and keep away from it. The dream-eater is also honored in temples through images and carvings, with the elephant-like heads often integrated into the architecture.

The downside

However, there are legends of very hungry Baku that consume not only people’s nightmares but also their hopes and desires, leaving them with a joyless life. Therefore, it is advisable to use the invocation of this sacred beast sparingly.

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