Tsurube Otoshi

In Japanese folklore there is a strange yokai phenomena known as tsurube otoshi. These creatures live in the tops of trees alongside paths that go through forested areas. They take the form of disembodied heads of either humans, tengu or oni which can range in size from a regular head up to around two metres across. When they are hungry, these giant heads will wait in the trees for travellers to pass by at which point they drop down like a stone and crush their victims before eating them.

Shigeru Mizuki

They are known to enjoy this so much they laugh and sing afterwards. Sometimes they enjoy crushing people for fun, even if they are not hungry. Another way they have fun is dropping stones or well buckets onto those passing below. The folklore varies depending on the region with tsurube otoshi either appearing as an enormous solitary head, or as groups of smaller heads. In some cases they are even said to appear as large fireballs with facial features.

Illustration from the Kokon Hyakumonogatari Hyoban by Yamaoka Genrin