Kurayaro (鞍野郎)

Kurayaro (literally, saddle guy) 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]) and is a yokai of horse saddles.

It is a kind of the tsukumogami (specters transmuted from utensils). According to the commentary of "Hyakki Tsurezure Bukuro" containing the description of '保元の夜軍に鎌田政清、手がらをなせしも我ゆへなれば、いかなる恩もたぶべきに、手がたをつけんと前輪のあたりつけらるれば、気も魂もきえぎえとなりしとおしみて唄ふ声、いとおもしろく夢のうちにおもいぬ,' it is regarded that the specter was transmuted from the saddle of Masakiyo KAMATA's horse; Masakiyo, a vassal of the Minamoto clan, was plotted to be killed with his lord. In the picture, as if the saddle is possessed by the deep-seated grudge of murdered Masakiyo, a hand-like cord of the saddle holds a bamboo stick. It is portrayed like a samurai who hold a sword ready to fight.

[Original Japanese]