Monday, February 18, 2013

Tengu, is a phallic-nosed forest goblin or demon closely associated with yamabushi, the mountain ascetics, who in times past were the majority of priests in many rural areas of Japan.

Originally Tengu had the visage of a crow or bird of prey with a beak and it is possible the Tengu came to Japan via China as an incarnation of the Hindu god Garuda, but over time, the Tengu came to have a long, phallic nose. Tengu take their name from the Chinese dog-demon (Tiangou).

Tengu have appeared in Japanese folklore and Japanese literature from ancient times and tengu masks seen in homes and restaurants are some of the most popular in the country. Indeed, the word "Tengu" is a popular name for a Japanese restaurant both in Japan and overseas.

Tengu Matsuri, Beppu, Oita

Tengu masks worn by yamabushi or large tengu effigies, as pictured above in Beppu, are a common sight at some Japanese festivals.

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