Hakutaku – 白澤 18. July 2023

Hakutaku originates from China, where it is known as Bai Ze. This being is almost omniscient, displaying great compassion as it consumes people’s bad dreams and experiences. It is considered a rare symbol of luck.

The Appearance

The hakutaku’s appearance varies in different tales. Some describe it as a mixture of a horned white tiger and a dragon body. Others portray it as cat-like with a dragon head and green hair. however, in Japanese mythology, the hakutaku appears as a bull-like creature with an additional eye on its forehead. At his sides he has 6 more eyes. It also has four horns on its head and four more on its body.

The Behavior

Hakutaku inhabit remote mountains and appear exclusively in times and lands where wise and virtuous rulers govern. They possess the ability to speak the human language and likewise understand the emotions of all living things. Their comprehensive knowledge of creation deems them highly auspicious and therefore as symbolic of good fortune. During the Edo period, people widely embraced paintings of him as they believed these depictions could ward off evil spirits, diseases, and other yokai.

The Legend

According to an ancient tale, the Yellow Emperor of China encountered a hakutaku while climbing a mountain in the east near the sea. During their encounter, the Hakutaku revealed that there were 11,520 different kinds of yokai in existence. Intrigued by this vast knowledge, the emperor had his subordinates document everything the hakutaku shared in a volume known as the Hakutaku-zu. This volume contained information about various yokai, their malevolent actions, and how to deal with them, effectively becoming a manual for dealing with these mythical beings. Regrettably, the Hakutaku-zu has been lost over time, leaving no surviving copies.

Learn more about other yokai here!

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