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Yobuko
Img yobuko
Name
Japanese 呼子
English Calling Child
Profile
Species Yōkai
Gender Male
Abilities Vocal and echo abilities
Affiliation 47 Yōkai Warriors
First Appearance
Manga Kasa-Jizō (1968)
Anime Series 1 Episode 10 (1968)
Portrayals
1968 anime Hiroshi Ōtake
1971 anime Kōsei Tomita (Ep. 12)
Keaton Yamada (Ep. 30)
1985 anime Kazuko Sugiyama
Seiko Nakano (Ep. 70)
1996 anime Noriko Uemura
Makiko Ōmoto (Ep. 92)
2007 anime Sara Nakayama
2018 anime Momoko Soyama
Gallery

Yobuko (呼子, Calling child) is a yōkai from the GeGeGe no Kitarō anime and manga series. In the manga, he was sometimes depicted as a member of the Kitarō Family. He has also been referred to as Yamabiko (山彦) or Yama-Kozō (山小僧), both meaning "mountain boy".

Appearance

Yobuko has the form of a young boy with one leg, a large face and buck teeth. He wears a straw rain hood and a yukata. In some appearances he has one eye or two legs.

Personality

History

Manga

Yobuko first appeared in the story Kasa-Jizō helping the Kitarō Family deliver presents to the kindly old couple for Zashiki-Warashi.[1] He went on to make regular appearances in the Shonen Magazine manga as one of Kitarō's allies, beginning with the story Mirror Battle where he joined in the yōkai chorus to help a young girl escape from a mirror prison.[2] He also helped out in the battles against Kyūketsuju[3] and Kōmori-Neko,[4] as well as making minor appearances in the stories Odoro-Odoro[5] and Kamaboko.[6] He took part in the battle against Qi and the Chinese Yōkai, being the one to suggest the Kitarō Family infiltrate Chi's Castle and retrieve the Kitarō Cloth.[7] He was also, however, the first to want to give up after their initial defeat.[7] He appeared about as frequently as Konaki-Jijii and the other future Kitarō Family members, but he never showed any specific skills or displayed a stand-out personality. He later traveled to Vietnam with Kitarō to fight in the Vietnam war[8]

In the Shonen Sunday manga, he was depicted as a tenant of Sunakake-Babaa's Yōkai Apartments. He notably used a rejuvenation massage on Kitarō in Shinigami[9] and survived the tip of his head being cut off by Kasa-Bake.[10]

He was one of the many Japanese Yōkai chosen to ambush the Western Yōkai in Shinigami Tai-Senki. While he first appeared with two eyes in this story, after returning from Mexico he is suddenly depicted with one eye. He appeared frequently throughout the 80s manga, such as Shinpen GeGeGe no Kitarō and GeGeGe no Kitarō: Kitarō Jigoku-hen.

First Anime

His first anime appearance was in episode #10, The Great Yōkai War. Referred to as Yama-Kozō, he was among the yōkai Nezumi-Otoko gathered to answer Kitarō's call for assistance against the Western Yōkai, as well as one of the many who declined to help. He made similar minor appearances in episodes #27 (Odoro-Odoro) and #54 (Yōkai Rally). In each of these appearances his design changed drastically.

His only major appearance was in episode #29, Mirror Battle. Playing the same role he did in the original story, his design this time was the same as in the manga. This episode was also his only speaking role in the series. This design of the character also appeared in episode #60, Kasa-Jizō.

Second Anime

In the second series, Yobuko is referred to as Yamabiko and first appears in episode #2, Yōkai Cloth. He helps the Kitarō Family in their fight against Qi and the Chinese Yōkai episode. He later appears in episode #13, Kamaboko, and helps buy up all the pieces of Kitarō Kamaboko to revive Kitarō. He also helps the Kitarō Family trap Kamanari in episode #19, Kamanari, though he is never shown taking part in the actual battle. He appeared most prominently in episode #30, Shinigami. He is playing cards with Sunakake-Babaa and Konaki-Jijii when Neko-Musume asks if any of them have seen Kitarō. He later joins them all in fighting Shinigami and trying to save Kitarō's soul. After Medama-Oyaji returns and defeats Shinigami, Yobuko joins Sunakake-Babaa and Konaki-Jijii in punishing Nezumi-Otoko.

A different Yobuko appears as an antagonist in episode #12, Yamata-no-Orochi.

Third Anime

Yobuko appears in the third adaptation as a recurring ally, first appearing in episode #12, Zashiki-Warashi and Kasa-Jizō.

Fourth Anime

Yobuko makes recurring appearances in the fourth adaptation, first appearing in episode #36, Astounded! Oritatami-Nyūdō.

Fifth Anime

In the fifth anime, he is one of the inhabitants of Yōkai Yokochō and lives at Sunakake-Babaa's apartment complex. He is often helping her with odd jobs in exchange for letting his rent slide. He often helps Aobōzu find his way back to Yōkai Yokochō by calling out to him. He was the 7th of the chosen 47 Yōkai Warriors of Japan. He's the representative of the Tottori Prefecture and his mark is located under his mouth and above his chin.

Sixth Anime

In the sixth anime, Yobuko appears as part of the background during the third ending, Mienkeredomo Orundayo. The verse during which he is shown is about him.

He makes his first actual appearance in the series in episode #28, The Great Yōkai War. He appears along with Konaki-Jijii and several other yōkai to help Kitarō fight off the Western Yōkai. His first speaking role is in episode #42, The Great Yōkai Trial. After witnessing Kitarō (Momon-Jii in disguise) kill his friend Hitotsume-Kozō, Yobuko reluctantly testifies against him in the Great Yōkai Trial.

Abilities

Vocal Mimicry: Yobuko can mimic and echo any sound he hears, a skill most useful in the mountains. He can yell so loud that he can shock enemies, and in Yōkai Sen Monogatari he can create powerful shockwaves with his voice. In the 5th anime, he can use his echo powers to locate people. He was often used when a loud noise was needed for any reason. His voice also has the power to open a portal to Jigoku.

Aside from his vocal abilities, he can also perform various breath techniques. In Kitarō's Vietnam War he could create mist with his breath, and in the 3rd anime he could create copies of allies by calling their name (Ep. 79). In the 5th anime, his lung capacity is shown to be so strong that he can produce enough air for multiple people in a single breath.

Rejuvenation Message: Yobuko once used this technique to de-age Kitarō after his encounter with Shinigami.[9] As this event was only mentioned by Sunakake-Babaa and not actually depicted, it is unknown exactly what type of technique it is.

Drill Attack: Yobuko has been shown to be able to dive at enemies in a drill-like motion.[11]

Legend

From Shigeru Mizuki's "Japanese Yōkai Encyclopedia":[12]

When you go up to the mountains and shout "Yahho!", you will hear it calling back to you in the distance. This is an echo, or Yamabiko (山彦), but in the olden days it was believed to be the work of a yōkai.

While he seems mainly limited to the mountains, he has been talked about in various other places.

In the Sanin Region, Yamabiko is called Yobuko (呼子) or Yobukodori (呼子鳥). It was thought to be some sort of animal capable of speaking.

In some areas the Yamabiko was believed to be a tree spirit and was referred to as Kodama (木霊, lit. tree spirit).

People in the old days believed these phenomenon to be yōkai, but this was not because they had primitive minds.

In actuality, there are many yōkai who live in the mountain, speak, or otherwise call out to you. The Gifu variation would probably be Hitokoesakebi (一声叫び).

When you're in the mountains where such yōkai live and you hear an echo, it is not unusual to say it is the "work of a yōkai".

References

  1. "Kasa-Jizō", Shonen Magazine
  2. "Mirror Battle", Shonen Magazine
  3. "Blood Battle Etiquette", Shone Magazine
  4. "Yōkai President", Shonen Magazine
  5. "Odoro-Odoro", Shonen Magazine
  6. "Kamaboko", Shonen Magazine
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Yōkai Cloth", Shonen Magazine
  8. Kitarō's Vietnam War
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Shinigami", Shonen Sunday
  10. Kasa-Bake, Shonen Sunday
  11. Series 2 Episode 30
  12. "Japanese Yōkai Encyclopedia Final Edition: Yōkai, Other Worlds and Gods", by Shigeru Mizuki, pg. 775

Navigation

v  d  e
Kitarō Family
Main
Allies
Humans
See also
47 Yōkai Warriors
v  d  e
1968 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
Threats
Others
Abura-SumashiAnagura-NyūdōFairy HanakoFurari-BiGama-SenninHyōsubeIdo-no-KamiKawazaruMikoshi-NyūdōMarugeMt. Kurama Karasu-TenguNingyo ChildNozuchiOshiroi-BabaaSanchūYama-JijiiYama-OniYōka
v  d  e
1971 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
Threats
Others
Enma-DaiōKaruraYakanzuruYōkai Flower Spirit
v  d  e
1985 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
Threats
Jigoku
Others
v  d  e
1996 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
Threats
Others
Amefuri-KozōBaby DorotabōDai-TenguEnma-DaiōGama-SenninIwanabōzuKaruraKashaboKawausoMt. Kurama Karasu-TenguNeko-SenninNingyo ChildObariyonShisaYakanzuruZashiki-Warashi
Yōka
v  d  e
2007 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
Threats
Others
v  d  e
2018 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
Threats
Others