Honekarakasa (骨傘)

Hone-karakasa (literally, an oil-paper umbrella with a bamboo frame, the oil paper of which is gone) is one of Japanese yokai (ghosts, spirits and monsters) that was portrayed in Sekien TORIYAMA's yokai art collection book: "Hyakki Tsurezure Bukuro" (The Bag of One Hundred Random Demons; the term 'hyakki' in its title is a pun on the usual hyakki, replacing the character for demon which is written as "鬼" in Japanese with a character for vessel written as "器," and sure enough, most of the yokais shown in this book are tsukumogami [a type of Japanese spirits that originate in items or artifacts that have reached their 100th birthday and become alive]). It is a yokai of Karakasa (an oil-paper umbrella with a bamboo frame) and considered as a kind of tsukumogami.

An old karakasa whose oil paper is gone and only ribs remain is portrayed flying in the air like a bird. According to a yokai cartoonist named Shigeru MIZUKI, temperature and moisture affect an old karakasa by causing it to transmute into this yokai and dance.

Further, the commentary in the "Hyakki Tsurezure Bukuro" describes the Honekarakasa as follows:
In a northern sea, there is a fish called rifun (also called chifun or shifun, which is a Chinese legendary animal born of a dragon).'
Its head is like a dragon, its body like a fish, bringing clouds and the rain.'
This Karakasa is likewise related to the rain, and that may be the reason it takes the form like this; thus have I wondered in my dreams.'
The shifun (or shibi are ornamental tiles often seen atop the tiled ridgepoles of castles, placed as ornamentation and fire prevention) is thought to be a prototype of shachihoko (mythical carp with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, which are auspicious protectors of well-being) and regarded as charms to bring the rain for fire prevention. Some say that Sekien portrayed the Honekarakasa by associating the rain with an umbrella.

[Original Japanese]