Odori Park, by Chris Watkins Odori Park - Blog

:: O-bon ::

About a week and some change ago, in most parts of Japan, the country celebrated the season of O-bon, a Buddhist observance that honors departed ancestors. Even though Halloween has started to pick up a little bit in popularity around Japan, O-bon is the traditional scary time of the year, probably because all those dead souls are believed to come back for a visit during the holiday period.

I have plans for a fun and scary storyline that I’m holding in store for the Halloween season, but I didn’t want to let O-bon pass without so much as a nod. So, in fact, I’ll give two:

  • The Obakemono Project is one of my favorite creepy sites. It’s a beautifully illustrated encyclopedia of all kinds of Japanese ghoulies. I really dig it.
  • A blast from my own past: Zombies Around the World, a Halloween strip I did as part of Peter Delgado Jr.’s annual Zombie-a-Go-Go event, back in 2004. Points to folks who recognize the obscure pop culture references in the Japan panel.

Zombies Around the World


  1. speearr

    Obscure? The Ring is hardly obscure! It’s fantastic work, by the way…

  2. Chris

    Thanks :)
    You’re right about the obscurity, speearr. I guess the Ring always felt a little obscure to me, because I became a die hard fan while I was in Japan, a few years before the American version came out. I wonder how many people in the States still remember the Ring, now that the remake is seven years old.

  3. RPGBluesguy

    woot! a shout-out to me! :D
    btw: i want more strips done by monday. 50 more would do (muhahahahahahaha!!!)

  4. Chris


  5. Bearman

    So what does one do during o-ban?

  6. Chris

    Usually folks travel to their hometowns, Bearman, and pay respects at the grave sites of their ancestors. Different regions may have other different local customs. The boat-floating scene in Karate Kid 2 was an O-bon observance, as I recall. :) The candles in the tiny paper boats were supposed to lead souls back to the other side at the close of O-bon, or something like that. I believe it’s an Okinawan custom.

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