In Japanese folktales Baku is known as “The Eater of Dreams”, which stalks the Japanese dreamscape eating the evil spirits and demons that cause nightmares, people also believe it is capable of devouring the evil spirits which cause plague and disease.
Baku is the eater of bad dreams. They are talismanic figures that people pray to at night to come and suck away nightmares. Some also say that Baku sucks all dreams, not only nightmares but also dreams of, future, hope, and aspiration.
Baku and its origins
The story of Baaku originated in Chinese folklore and appeared in Japanese folklore from the 14th to the 15th centuries. Baku is a spiritual being, in the form of a chimera. animal. Baaku is usually depicted with a bear’s body, an elephant’s nose, a tiger’s paw, a cow’s tail, and a rhinoceros.
Some believe that Baku was made of spare pieces left over when the gods finished making all the other animals.
Baaku’s explanations and beliefs have changed over the years. In ancient Chinese legend, the Baaku was an animal hunted for its fur.
Anyone who kills the Baaku will use a blanket made of fur as a talisman, or an object with the magical power to protect them from evil spirits. This practice evolved into a fur-free practice that repelled evil spirits by displaying a statue on the bed. Until the legend of the Baaku came to Japan, the person was not considered a dream eater.
Feeding on dreams
Since its adoption in Japan, the legend of Baaku has been a dream eater. There are many ways to call Baku. It is believed that a person who wakes up from a nightmare can call Baku and say: “I give this dream to Baaku.”
That dream will never bother you anymore. In other prefectures, one can repeat “Baku-san, come eat my dream” three times in a row. Then, Baaku would enter the room and devour them.
However, you must call Baaku cautiously, because if he is still hungry after eating a nightmare, he may also devour their hopes and desires and leave them empty. Before falling asleep at night, you can also summon Baaku to protect yourself from nightmares.
Baaku’s written name and image have been used as amulets and a symbol of good luck for amulets throughout Japanese history. In the olden days, it was common to stick Baaku kanji on pillows to keep bad dreams, illnesses, and nightmares away. The dreaded statue of Baaku is usually carved into the pillars above the temple doors and the pillars that support the temple roof. He is one of the few holy creatures so often respected. To this day, it is still common for Japanese children to place a Baaku talisman next to their beds so they can have a peaceful sleep
Real or myth?
When the demon is frantically stylized, Baaku resembles an Asian tapir. In fact, in Japanese, they have the same names as Kanji (獏). Many people say that even if these two look similar they are not related. The similar appearance is purely coincidental, but the animal may be named after the legendary name. Some people say that a wayward sailor drifted to Malaysia and returned to the story of a huge creature that was transformed in the legend.
Either way, this legend is very old in his book “Ancient Chinese Gods and Beasts,”. Kyoto University professor Haytani Naoo pointed out ancient bronze vessels and other artifacts with mythical images of Baaku. He speculated that creatures like the Asian tap might have existed in China at some point, but have since become extinct.
Baaku is often confused with another Chinese legendary animal, the hakutaku. There is a statue called “King of Baaku” in Gobyakukan-j Temple in Tokyo, which was originally a statue of hakutaku.
Yokai – Dream Eater
Yokai is a type of supernatural monster and spirits in Japanese folklore. Many people think that Baku is one of the monsters, but some people say that it is not a yokai like nure onago or bakeneko. It is more like a sacred animal, with more connections with gods than monsters. Mizuki Shigeru uses the broadest definition of yokai, meaning anything from Bigfoot to frog rain, and Baku is undoubtedly one of them.
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The Modern Baku
Although many monsters and legendary creatures gradually disappeared until they lived only to commemorate scholars and cartoonists, Baku is still a popular figure in modern Japan. Today, you can find several modern manifestations of Baku. Unlike the traditional chimera form, Baaku is sometimes shown in a form representing a.
Baaku appears in many modern animation and comic books, although in appearance they look more and more authentic and less and less like folk chimeras.
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Baku watches over humans and acts as a guardian spirit. They eat human dreams, especially bad dreams. Evil spirits and youkai flee for fear of Baku and avoid the area where they live.
Therefore, health and good luck follow Baku wherever he goes. But one should be careful while calling Baku as if his hunger is not filled, he may start feeling dreams and hopes.