The Yamawaro: A Legend of Japan

With mere hours before Kyushu Basho starts, I figured I’d kill some time by doing a write up on the Yamawaro, the namesake of this blog. Some of you may have thought that this was a shikona or just a random Japanese word, but it is, in fact, a legendary entity from Kyushu (how situationally appropriate) in Japan.

014-yamawarawa
An artist’s (Matthew Meyer) depiction of the yamawaro.

Yamawaro are minor mountain deities. They are short, covered in hair, walk upright, and have a single eye in the middle of their foreheads. Yamawaro are very good at mimicking sounds in nature as well as human speech and songs. But, the most imporant thing about yamawaro is that they love sumo. They are, in fact, considered to be better at sumo than any human can be.

So, at the end of the day, the blog is named after a sumo-wrestling mountain spirit with one eye and a skill for mimicry.

If you’d like to learn more about the yamawaro, consider visiting the amazing Yokai.com. It is run by the talented Matthew Meyer who researches and illustrates yokai from all across Japan. He has two books in print with a third on the way. Be sure to swing by and check it out.

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