Hyotoko : The Fire Man; The Whistler
Hyotoko is the name of a spirit and the mask used to represent him. The very recognizable mask depicts a man with a contorted face. His mouth may be pursed as if whistling or permanently grimacing on one side of his face.
Hyotoko is a kami of the hearth and oven. His grimacing face is caught in the act of blowing on coals to start or encourage a fire. Someone in the world always needs a fire and so Hyotoko is always blowing. He is a human bellows. Hyotoko’s companion is Okame. Together, they protect homes and domestic happiness. Hang his mask near the stove or hearth for protection, fire safety, and good luck.
The ritual dance incorporating Hyotoko’s mask has been performed for at least nine hundred years.
ALSO KNOWN AS:
Hyotoko appears as a man of humble, plain appearance with furrowed brow, puffy cheeks, and bulgy eyes. His mouth is pursed or contorted to one side or both. He is often in the company of Okame.
The bamboo tube through which he blows to ignite or stimulate fire
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.