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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
What's a tengu?

Ancient Japanese writings describe the Tengu as malicious creatures who delight in causing mayhem. Accounts of Tengu spiriting away children, who would later be found wandering aimlessly in a disori-ented state, are commonplace. Tengu were said to derive particular pleasure from tormenting the Buddhist priests who came to the mountains to study them. Their tricks included lighting fires in front of temples and leading the unfortunate holy men astray in isolated areas. Fond of meddling in human affairs, Tengu often interfered in political disputes. The great twelfth-century warrior, Yoshitsune, was reputed to have a Tengu teacher, who instructed him in martial arts and military tactics. These lessons enabled the famed warlord to win a decisive victory over his enemies.

=> Tengu Home Page

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Big in Japan

High up in the primordial mountain forests of Japan, a chance encounter with a giant egg offers the prospect of an omelet big enough to feed a family of six. The opportunity for free breakfast, however, is best resisted because stealing a huge egg might incur the wrath of the tengu whose young it encases. Tengu, beings characterized by a combination of human and bird-like attributes, are minor divinities with the power to increase the fortune of human beings. Besides their prowess in the art of swordsmanship, they are also known for being mischievous - when their ire is up, they don't hesitate to exact a swift revenge. Found throughout Japan, two species of tengu inhabit the mountains. The karasu-tengu has a feather-covered body and a beak that protrudes from its green face. Distant cousins of the Hindu god Garuda, and the first tengu species recorded in Japan, they are servants of the konoha-tengu, tall red beings that could be mistaken for humans save for their exceedingly long noses. The tengu is reputed to be able to extend and retract its nose by fanning it with a magic fan fashioned from a leaf of the Aralia japonica shrub. The konoha-tengu is associated with Saruta-hiko, a giant Japanese god with a nose the length of seven hands who acted as a guide for Prince Ninigi no Mikoto when he descended from heaven. Saruta-hiko's eyes shone like multi-planed mirrors, and he radiated light, but it was his long nose that caused him to be regarded as a phallic deity.

=> metropolis.japantoday.com/biginjapan/364/biginjapaninc.htm

Recently, Tengu lost its nose due to heavy snowfall

=> kyoto-np.co.jp/kp/topics/2003mar/12/W20030312MWE1K1A0000093.html

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