7. Exeggutor / ナッシー & Exeggcute / タマタマ
The first time I saw Exeggutor, I was freaked out because of the heads on the trees. This corelates to the japanese folklore of trees with heads for fruits. The fruits would have human faces that could smile and laugh. This tree is called the jinmenju.
There was a story of the tree yokai that originated from China where the fruit would laugh as it got ripe and fall off the tree, even their seeds have faces on them. This would definitely be the exeggcutes. We could argue that the exeggutor came before the exeggcute from their evolving order but fruits, seeds and trees, which one really came first just like the question is it the egg or the hen?
6. Dusclops / ヨマワル & Dusknoir / ヨノワール
If you look closely at these two, they look like the old japanese lanterns called the chochin. In japanese folklore beliefs, most inanimate objects with a lifespan of a hundred years or more would come to life and be classified as a tsukumogami. Thus the Dusclops and Dusknoir looks like a chochin-obake which are lanterns that came to life with 1 eye and usually a mouth with its tongue sticking out.
5. Whiscash / ナマズン
They closely resembles the Namazu which is apparent from its japanese name Namazun. From the pokedex entry,
“As a result of causing tremors by thrashing about, it developed the ability to foretell real earthquakes.”
We could say this corresponds to the legend of the namazu who is a giant catfish that can cause earthquakes. He lives in the mud and would cause earthquakes when it thrases about. It is believed the origin of the namazu came from observing the sudden activities of catfish when an earthquake is about to happen. Where people from ancient times believed that there must be a giant catfish that was suddenly active and was making all the tremors.
This pokemon is just a floating head surrounded by smoke. It is quite similar to will-o-wisps but more specifically resembles the sogen-bi in japanese folklore. A sogen-bi is a fireball yokai that is just a man’s head surrounded by flames that flies in the sky at night.
The story of the sogenbi is that a long time ago, there was a monk named Sogen. He was a wicked monk who would steal money from the offerings to the gods. He managed to do this for years and eventually dies of old age. But because of his sins, he was then cursed to be a flying head on fire.
3. Jellicent / ブルンゲル
From how the jellicent looks, they must be inspired by the Nurarihyon. You might know the name Nurarihyon from the manga/anime Nurarihyon no Mago.
But there are three different stories of these nurarihyon, 1 is that it’s just an old man that comes to homes and act like he owns it 2 it’s the leader of all the yokai which is probably where the crowns on the Jellicent’s heads came from and 3 they would “haunt” the sea by bobbing its big head up and down with the waves on or right below the water, it does nothing but annoy anyone that wants to fish it out by going further into the water, this is probably where their jellyfish look came from and also why it is a water type pokemon.
Tho from the three stories the physical appearance of the nurarihyon is that it has a large head that is in the shape of a gourde. Looking at him again, I think the nurarihyon looks like an alien. >.>
2. Slowbro / ヤドラン & Slowking / ヤドキング
These pokemon look like a hippopotamus found a giant shell and decided to wear it because it feels good or a hermit crab that looks like a hippopotamus. You pick. But the one yokai that it could originate from is the sazae oni which is translated to the turban shell ogre.
Now the Sazaeoni is a shapeshifting yokai usually shapeshifting to the form of a beautiful women as most shapeshifting things like to do and would pretend to be drowning in the sea. There is one legend where it was “rescued” by pirates while in woman form. That night all the pirates in the ship had their way with her but she had hers as well by biting off their testicles. By the end of the night, she had all of the pirates testicles and desperately wanting their kintama back, the gave all their treasure to the sazae oni.
1. Froslass / ユキメノコ
They are women lost in snowy mountains as said in the pokedex,
“Legends in snowy regions say that a woman who was lost on an icy mountain was reborn as Froslass”.
Almost the same like a yuki onna but rather than being lost, they live in the snowy mountain passes and would prey on people who got lost in the snowstorm. Their appearance are closely inspired as they are both beautiful, female, has pure white skin and piercing eyes.
Legends of the yuki onna mostly involve the yuki onna falling in love with a man and get married with said man. But throughout the marriage, the man would start getting suspicious of the yuki onna because of the eternal youth and beauty, never seeming to age even after being together for years. The men should’ve just shut up and take it as it is that they got lucky getting a beautiful wife who looked young forever but that’s rarely the case. The men would start having doubts of whether she is a yokai or human. In short, the marriages always end bad when you marry a yuki onna.