More

    Baku: The Mythological “Dream-Eater”

    The Chinese and Japanese folklore talks of the legend of a mythological being or spirit known as “Baku,” which is said to engulf nightmares. According to traditional tales, Baku has to be summoned with caution since, if it is not satisfied after devouring the individual’s nightmares, it may consume the dreams and aspirations of the same individual to fulfill its hunger.

    Origin Of The Myth

    baku
    Source: Reddit

    This folklore’s origin can be traced back to the Chinese legends of the 13th century and appeared on the Japanese domain between the 14th and 15th centuries, which was signified as the Muromachi period. Baku- the spiritual being maintains a well-defined appearance. It consists of an amalgamation, taking the form of a chimera, which signifies a mythological beast, comprising various parts from other animals.

    To portray it more clearly, Baku depicts a bear’s body, the nose of an elephant, a tiger’s feet, the tail of oxen, and the eyes of a rhinoceros, making it a crazy yet mystical combination. The logical explanation for such a creation was that Baku was created with the leftover pieces of various species after the deities had finished creating all other animals.  

    Modifications Over The Years

    Modifications over the years
    Source: Devianart

    The legends surrounding Baku have been modified over the years. According to Chinese myths, it was described as an animal hunted for its fur and pelt. Any individual who was successful in hunting down the creature would use its pelt to design a blanket for himself and consider it a talisman, consisting of magical powers that would protect his family from evil spirits.

    With time, the practice was modified, where the killing of the creature for his skin was no more the norm; instead, its image was placed over the bed to distract and ward off evil spirits. The connotation of Baku being a “dream-eater” was introduced in Japan. With this symbolism, the legend became consistent, and it is considered the “dream- eater” until the present day.

    Summoning Baku

    According to popular folklore, this mythical character is considered to devour the nightmares; one who wakes up from a bad dream can summon Baku. A Japanese child, dreading or facing a nightmare, will wake up and chant “Baku-san, come eat my dream,” three times to get rid of the evil thoughts and intuitions. Post this; it is said to come into the child’s room, devouring the nightmare, allowing the child to go back peacefully to his sleep.

    However, one must not give this an easy call; it has to be done with caution, since, if it remains hungry after engulfing the nightmare, he might consume their dreams and hopes as well, thus making them vulnerable to a grey, void life. Many people pray to Baku till this day, before falling asleep, to protect them from bad dreams. It is a common practice in many Japanese households to keep its talisman beside their bedside, to insulate themselves from dark and petrifying dreams.

    The Modern Depictions

    The modern depictions
    Source: Art station

    In contemporary times, several modern depictions of Baku can be seen. Often it is shown in the format of a tapir, a contrasting image to the traditional chimera form. This was seen in the 1984 animated film “Beautiful Dreamer” by Oshii Mamoru, which signified Baku as a tapir. The creature was also popularized later through a tapir-like form in “Pokemon” in the Drowzee/ Hypno and Munna/ Musharna characters. Similarly, the popular animated show “Digimon” represents a character called Bakumon or Tapirmon, having a resemblance to Baku.

    In various cultures throughout the world, across various time periods, multiple means and objects were adapted in the society to end a nightmare, and Baku is a major representation of such a practice. The use of talismans, magical threads, flowers, and other symbols of protection for sleep has been a common thread seen throughout history. The myth as a symbol of the prevention of deadly nightmares has been a constant image throughout the years, both in cinema and tapir form, and is likely to remain the same for the years to come.

    Share

    Random Post

    Mystery Satellite Monitoring Earth? Was It Sent By Aliens?

    Space is filled with a lot of things. Starting from satellites that are orbiting the Earth to huge black holes that could gobble up...

    Cynthia Anderson: Unexplained Disappearance Of The 40-year-old

    In the August of 1981, Cynthia Anderson, a legal secretary in Toledo, Ohio, went missing. She left for her job in the morning, like...

    The Mystery of Subash Chandra Bose’s Death Conspiracy.

    The man himself Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose remains one of India’s most admired icons. Every political organisation is today trying to shine in his reflected...

    Latest article

    The Mysterious Death of Lal Bahadur Shastri

    The second Prime Minister of India - Lal Bahadur Shastri, was also a senior leader of the Indian National Congress party. Following the independence...

    The Ugly Truth Behind Natural Flavors

    Natural flavors have a certain kind of image attached to them - that they are these organic, healthy, naturally extracted essence from nature, i.e.,...

    Is India Still A Colony Of Britain?

    You look back, and you feel chills down your spine when you see all the sacrifices and struggles of our brave freedom fighters during...

    Related Articles

    The Mysterious Death of Lal Bahadur Shastri

    The second Prime Minister of India - Lal Bahadur Shastri, was also a senior...

    The Ugly Truth Behind Natural Flavors

    Natural flavors have a certain kind of image attached to them - that they...

    Is India Still A Colony Of Britain?

    You look back, and you feel chills down your spine when you see all...

    The Murder Of Seth Rich: A Robbery Gone Awry Or A Conspiracy?

    Seth Rich, 27, was an employee of the Democratic National Committee. He was murdered...