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Wednesday, 18 May 2011

REPOST: DALE DRINNON on Hibagon at the CFZ

Saturday, July 17, 2010
Hibagon is the name for the unidentified apelike cryptid of Japan. Some of its names are also applied to the Kappa and they tend to merge together in legend. Hibagon is most often reported around Mt. Hiba and its name means "Hiba monster". it is said to be the height of a small human (5'3" to 5'8") but powerfully built and covered with dark brown hair.

A while back I found some photos of an interesting netsuke on an internet photo search. Netsukes are little carved figures meant to hold cords that in turn hold objects onto a kimono's belt. these ones were for sale as collectible antiques, from the 17-18th century of before. This was labelled as a Japanese macaque ("Monkey", but that was the only KNOWN monkey locally) but it resembles a chimpanzee much more closely. The form of the head, facial features, and the indicated type of hair on the body all look like a chimpanze, but especially the form of the hands and feet. And on the bottom view, you can see that it has no tail. The Japanese macaque does have a short stumpy tail which would show from that angle, and the heels are broad and wide, indicating something more like a chimp than a macaque.

So I am going to say this is a representation of a native ape of Japan. I have seen other similar depictions in Japanese art but this is far and away the clearest example. There are also parallel Chinese depictions (statuettes) but they would presumably be depicting the Yeren instead. Some of the Chinese ones are notable for their very long, orangutan-like arms.

Fossil Ape Candidate for Hibagon (From a Japanese Website)

Map of Japan, And Japanese Macaque for Comparison.

Below, Two young Chimpanzees. The Netsuke has the Light skin and Dark hair Characteristic of a Young Chimpanzee.

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