Statue of a tengu from the late Edo period. Photo by WolfgangMichel.

With the launch of Deadly Flowers, my girl-ninja-Japanese-folklore-adventure-fantasy novel coming up (on sale in April, y’all!) and a sequel at 249 handwritten pages as of this morning (take that, writer’s block), all of the creatures and ghosts and monsters of Japanese folklore have been haunting my mind. So I thought I’d introduce you to a few of them. Today’s special guest: the tengu.

Half-crow, half human, tengu tend to inhabit dense forests and remote mountains. They’re fierce but not evil, mischievous but not cruel. If they decide that they like you (which doesn’t happen very often) they may be induced to teach you martial arts. Some of Japans’ greatest heroes got their skills this way. If they don’t like you…well, best to stay out of their way.

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