Bake ichō no sei – 化け銀杏の精 19. July 2023

The Bake ichō no sei, a mysterious yokai from Japanese folklore, remains shrouded in enigma. Initially described as the spirit of an ancient ginkgo tree in an 18th-century record, specific details about this creature were lacking until later defined by Mizuki Shigeru.

The Appearance

Bake ichō no sei is an imposing figure, boasting a massive stature with skin reminiscent of the vibrant yellow hue of ginkgo leaves during autumn. Cloaked in tattered black kimonos and equipped with small gongs, its appearance strikes a blend of curiosity and reverence.

The Behavior

This yokai roams the vicinity of ancient ginkgo trees, their presence accentuated by the eerie sound of striking gongs. The exact purpose behind these haunting sounds remains unclear. Whether they do this to shock or frighten those who hear it, or whether it has some other reason is not clear.

Ginkgo trees in Japan

Ginkgo trees hold significant cultural and spiritual importance in Japan, often regarded as sacred due to their resilience against fire and their role as effective windbreakers. These revered trees frequently grace temples, shrines, and public spaces, symbolizing longevity and strength. Despite their positive attributes, there is a belief that planting ginkgo trees in private gardens may invite misfortune and disrupt the balance of in’yō (yin and yang) energy.

Learn more about other yokai here!

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