Todaiki

In Japanese folklore there is a yokai known as todaiki which translates as spirit candlestick. This is based on the tale of a government minister who travelled on a mission to China but did not return. The man's son was worried so he also travelled to china to see if he could find out what happened to his father. He searched in many places but had no luck finding him. In one place he stayed, he noticed a most peculiar sight. There was a living candlestick fashioned out of a human being. The man sat still, covered in tattoos with a candle upon his head, almost like a piece of furniture.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi
It seems that a sorcerer had used black magic to transform the man into a todaiki. He had lost the ability to move or speak so was unable to converse with his son. Instead, he bit the end of his finger until it bled and wrote out a poem in blood that let the boy know he was indeed his father. Many yokai tales in Japanese folklore involve people visiting strange lands and mysterious explanations of why they have never returned home. These kind of stories may have been a way of making sense of missing loved ones, and being turned into a human candle by an evil wizard is probably as good an explanation as any.

Taiso Yoshitoshi, 1893

Toriyama Sekien

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