Hachigatsu Kokonoka Manga and Real Life Monsters of Legend and Myth

Eastern Monsters

Yokai. Those Eastern myths and usually horrifying urban legends that make me glad I live in the West (but not really; how I wish I could visit Japan… *sigh*). The west has their share of frights; from ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and wendigos (etc), but they pale in comparison to the horrors that come out of Eastern legend and folklore. The Hachigatsu Kokonoka manga is fairly new and does a great job portraying the gnarliest yokai the real world tells stories of.

I made a post recently about the absolutely wild and bonkers Hachigatsu Kokonoka manga I just mentioned. You probably never heard of it, and I dare you to check it out! 

But if you haven’t, here’s a quick recap: moody boy gets stalked by monsters (for mysterious reasons). One in particular has her sights set so high on him, and she wipes out the competition and claims him for herself in what becomes a strange and most unusual relationship. 

It’s gone way over the radar and deserves a higher score than what MAL shows, which is a satirical 6.66. It really serves a particular audience; those seeking supernatural ecchi horror battle Royale (or just have a wild curiosity) will get a kick out of it (and rate it highly). Others.. not so much (low score). 

Real World Urban Legends from Hachigatsu Kokonoka manga

What I especially like about the Hachigatsu Kokonoka manga is not the crazed and deranged yandere Miyako, nor the frightening frames that are sprinkled throughout the chapters. But all the interesting and creepy yokai that make an appearance in the manga. 

While I’m not certain every monster that makes an appearance here is based on a real Eastern and Japanese urban legend or folklore, those that are the real deal make the plot all the more fascinating. And I’d like to talk about them in this post. I’ll definitely miss some (hence the manga is still publishing), and I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum. So I apologize in advance. But really, whether or not you know these characters are monsters shouldn’t bother your interest in reading this crazy story. Also I would’ve gotten actual pictures of the yokai but… many are copywritten. The manga will have to do instead!

Miyako/ Encounter Wolf/ Okuri Kuri 

(From Hachigatsu Kokonoka manga…)

One of the main characters of Hachigatsu Kokonoka as well as protagoni-no wait, that’d be wrong to call her that since she’s definitely not a hero. But she’s not the antagonist either, anti-hero, maybe? Everyone’s suspicious here.

Anyway, Miyako looks after and protects the moody teen Sakurai, who can’t help but rely on her out of sheer desperation to survive. She loves him a little too much to the point of utter obsession and possession, and with great restraint she hasn’t devoured him, yet. 

Miyako’s true form is that of a giant demonic wolf, with bindings on her lanky arms and a massive jaw to boot. Her character is, and is based on “the encounter wolf” as the manga calls it, or Okuri Kuri. The legend says Okuri Kuri is a wolf that stalks people lost and wandering through forests and mountain-passes. And while it appears friendly and may even help the person find their way… if that person happens to trip, the wolf pounces and devours them. Yikes!

Childhood friend/ Centipede Woman/ Omukade

(From Hachigatsu Kokonoka manga…)

Near the beginning of the Hachigatsu Kokonoka manga, we meet Sakurai’s supposed Childhood friend, whom he gets a popsicle with. She then leads him to some abandoned building, because that’s not suspicious or anything. There, she morphs into a gigantic centipede. This peril is short lived, however, as Miyako quickly comes to Sakurai’s aid and tears her to shreds. 

This girl is probably based on the yokai Omukade. In legend, Omukade are giant vicious centipedes that reside on mountains. While they seem nearly invincible, human saliva is said to be its weakness, how strange. The legend is rather underwhelming; a warrior is tasked by a king to kill the monster that wraps itself around a local mountain, and while regular arrows don’t do the job. The warrior then coats the arrows in his saliva and that kills the Omukade, and in turn the king grants the warrior wishes and he gets a princess, etc etc happy ending.

Teacher/ Cow Woman/ Ushi Onna

Another yokai we meet just so happens to be Sakurai’s homeroom teacher, who comes over to check on how he’s feeling since he’s been away from school. Miyako doesn’t want to be left out on the action despite Sakurai’s refusal, acting like a literal wolf at the glass sliding door. She then proceeds to let herself in. Good thing she’s there though, because his Teacher easily puts him in a trance with her gaze. Miyako has enough of her bull-sh*t (heh, get it?). 

In mythology, the yokai Ushi-oni is a demon with the head of an ox and wears a dress, or has a spider-like body (conflicting sources). Vicious, they spit poison and enjoy devouring humans (lovely!), basically an omen of death. There’s several stories of local prefectures being cursed by the Ushi-Onna, dirtying the water and making people sick. I just think the idea of a cow in a dress is funny. Like… who came up with that?

Yae-san/ 8ft-Tall woman/ Hachishaki-sama (Takaona)

After an exhausting fight, Miyako had to recover; ya know, sleep it off. Sakurai, being the dumb naive guy he is, sneaks out while she does so, and he comes across a very, very tall woman with a floral hat & dress. Her name is Yae-san (as Ao calls her), and they apparently knew each other long ago but went their separate ways. But the reunion is awkward, because Yae-san had ulterior motives (like they all do).

I couldn’t help but smile seeing the introduction of this character, because I’ve heard of her from some creepy yokai countdown on YouTube and also reading the urban legend gave me chills. Hachishaki-sama (Takaona), the “8ft-Tall woman” is certainly a strange character who’s said to stalk children. Once an attachment is made between her and a child, she won’t stop til she has their life. Hachigatsu Kokonoka does a good job recreating the unsettling depiction of this yokai.

Puppet Student/ Kokkuri-san

(From Hachigatsu Kokonoka manga… will this really improve the SEO score?)

After being absent from school for a while, Sakurai thinks it’s a great idea to go back (big mistake). Miyako tags along and even confesses to killing their classmate (remember the Centipede-girl?) and gets quite literally trashed on by Sakurai’s classmates. Funnily enough this doesn’t affect her one bit. Later he gets to class and  feels uncomfortable (which he should) and asks to be excused….

The following panel is possibly one of the creepiest, if not one of the most unsettling images I’ve seen in manga

*sigh* I’d show it, but that’d just spoil the fun. It’s a reaction from the class as they all turn their heads to look at him; that’s.. that’s it. But they don’t look normal, and that completely throws you off guard. 

It’s the work of yet another yokai, Kokkuri-san, who acts as Puppet-master to Sakurai’s classmates. Kokkuri-san tries to make him feel better by performing a grizzly act. This actually left my mouth gape open in surprise; it reminded me of the scene from The Omen, “it’s all for you Damien!”, if you know, you know! Of course this act doesn’t make Sakurai feel at all better, quite the opposite. 

Turns out, in real life Kokkuri was a game played in ancient Japan, while Kokkuri-san is the apparatus summoned during play, which sounds exactly like a Ouija board. Kokkuri-san is said to look like a mix between a fox, dog, and raccoon, which represent dual-natured personality types; fox is a teacher but also a trickster, and raccoon bears mischief or good fortune. I too, have the mind of a fox, dog, and raccoon battling to take over me. 

Bathroom stalker/ Akaname or  Aka Manto?

(…From Hachigatsu Kokonoka manga… *sigh*)

After a series of chaotic events, Sakurai finds himself at a diner with yet another mysterious woman with a frightening amount of power. But this one is rather clear-headed and rational, unlike the rest. He goes to use the bathroom, and as you could imagine, he isn’t alone. His current companion is the one that follows him there (smart move actually), but there’s a knock at the door. A new girl shows up, with sharp teeth and a hammer in her mouth. A battle is about to break down when Sakurai’s other stalkers show up to rescue him, or seize him, anything goes with this manga. Poor Sakurai can’t catch a break.

The only yokai I can think of to describe this particular character in Hachigatsu Kokonoka is Aka Manto. The urban legend goes that a mask-wearing, red-cloaked figure named Aka Manto haunts public restrooms, and asks the occupants whether they want red or blue toilet paper. Either answer leads to the individual’s death (how lovely). Answer red and Aka Manto will lacerate the victim so they’re red with blood, or answer blue and Aka Manto will strangle the victim so that they turn blue in the face. There’s many variants to this sketchy urban legend, like what color cloak instead of toilet paper, or answering yellow leads to drowning in the toilet. No matter how you see it, I’d get as far away from there as possible.

As I’m editing this, I’m realizing that the next yokai on this list might actually be closer to Aka Manto only because they wear a red cloak in their true form and the community seems to think so as well. This particular character may be closer to Akaname, which is like a goblin that stalks dirty bathrooms. 

Face-masked People/ Kuchisake-onna/ Also Aka Manto?

(From Hachigatsu Kokonoka manga… maybe a different key phrase would be better…)

Last, and probably not the last, hence the manga is still publishing, is the face-masked women who appear in Hachigatsu Kokonoka. The first appearance we get is after the Centipede incident, in the background staring at Sakurai. The second is a detective’s companion, who helps protect Sakurai a few times. While we do see her mouth eventually, there’s nothing abnormal about her. It’s the radio that plays as well as when she asks what her name is, that lets us know she’s in fact a yokai. 

While I can’t pinpoint what yokai she could be based off of, possibly Aka Manto only because of the red cloak. There is one creepy urban legend that still involves a girl wearing a face-mask. Kuchisake-onna is a yokai that approaches individuals and asks them if she’s pretty, to which she’ll reveal her face with her mouth slit open. Depending on the answer, the person will be killed. There’s so many scary Eastern urban legends! 

Closing Thoughts on Myths and Urban Legends

Hachigatsu Kokonoka is only 24 chapter in as of February 2023, and I have high hopes for author Tomomi’s suspenseful horror manga. They created some wild depictions of classic monsters from Eastern folklore and legend, and I look forward to seeing what new and crazy characters and plot points that’re in store for the readers. I’ve always found the topic of mythology and folklore to be fascinating, because people really believed (and still believe!) in this stuff.

I love seeing how the media evolves these sometimes simple ideas into popular culture. Vampires are a prime example, originating in Europe (I think?), also werewolves in Canada. These simple monsters have dominated fiction across books and movies and video games. And I’m intrigued when obscure Japanese culture seeps through to meet a western audience. Anime and manga are great forms of media for content creators to share their love for the strange and absurd folklore their country has.

If you had a favorite mythical creature or creepy urban legend, which would it be? Thank you for reading and I hope you’ll give the manga a chance!

-Ryan Laurie

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