I first saw Isogashii on images of the Hyakki Yagyo Emaki. I can’t say what drew me to him originally. Something in the face, I think. I needed a charming sort of ugliness for my main yokai in The Changing Things, and when I saw Isogashii, I knew he was the one.
Well, it turned out I couldn’t have made a worse choice, research-wise. Very little is known about this yokai and there seem to be no associated folk tales as far as I can tell. It was nice to have liberties, but I has hoping for some foundation to draw from.
Then I found out later other had taken Isogashii’s image and put on a personality. He is restless, driven, always busy trying to accomplish things. A beast of continuous, frenetic motion. I was happy to find out he signified a contemporary problem. I myself spent several years possessed by Isogashii. There was a time I’d forgotten how to relax. I always had to be doing something. Overworked, hyper-ambitious, dragged through the maze. When I realized it was damaging my relationships, I began the slow process of extricating myself from his spell. He’s still here, grinding the mill, but better balanced.
The more I thought about Isogashii, the more ideal he seemed as the central figure in a book about Change.
image by Matthew Meyer