Dream Eating Monsters of Japan - BAKU

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Dream Eating Monsters of Japan - BAKU

Japanese children are not afraid of nightmares after they are told about Baku. They are taught when waking up from a scary dream to whisper three times, "Baku-san, come eat my bad dream." Faithfully the dream eating monster will come to their bedroom and suck the bad dream away. Baku are not always so benevolent and if they happen to be too hungry a single dream may not be enough and they may take away the child's hopes and ambitions as well. Children are taught to revere as well as fear the supernatural creature.

According to Japanese legends, Baku by the eaters of bad dreams. They are talismanic figures, that people prayed to at night to common subway nightmares so they may never be seen again. But there is a darker side to Baku; some say that they eat all the dreams, not only nightmares. This includes dreams of aspiration, dreams of your future and dreams of hope.

Baku are classic chimera; the body of the bear, the feet of a tiger, the tale of an ox, the eyes of a rhinoceros and the nose of an elephant. One legend says that when the gods were finished creating animals, they took all the odds and ends lying around and put together to make the Baku. Although they may seem a fantastic collection of different animal parts they do have a remarkable resemblance to the Asian tapir and in fact in Japanese share the same name and kanji.

The question which came first, the legend for the animal is a philosophic one hidden in the past, with no solid agreement on either side. Whether or not the two are unconnected and their similarity in appearance may be purely coincidence or even the animal may have been named after the legend that preceded it. Another possible etymology is it a wayward sailor drifted to Malaysia came back with stories about this mythical creature. Others say that the legend was originally Chinese as the statue of the Baku King at the Gobyakukan-ji temple in Tokyo. This was originally a statue of...
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