A lady of bones who comes back for lost love, the Hone Onna. This yokai is the spirit of a woman with an undying love for their lover that persists beyond the grave. They come out at night and appear as they did in life, young and beautiful in their prime, often carrying a red lantern shaped like the peony flower. They go to visit the home of their former lover, who is both shocked and overjoyed by the sight that they overlook any signs that something could be wrong with her. Even the Hone Onna herself would be unaware of her undead state, as she is driven purely by her love and only wishes to continue with her love.
The spends the night and leaves in the morning, and this coupling will continue for weeks on end, as her lover slowly becomes weaker and weaker, for she drains a little of his life force each time they copulate. Without direct intervention, the person will die joining his lover in death’s embrace.
Only those who are unclouded by love, devoutly religious, or close friends and/or servants can see through the illusion and her true appearance, which will cause an alarm and once her lover is made aware of the situation, well, he may be disgusted, but the Hone Onna will still be oblivious of the situation and will continue her pattern unless steps are taken to prevent her visits.
While it is possible to use wards and magic charms to close off entry to her. But, these charms are only as effective as the victim’s will is, and as she decays further, the enchanting aura she exudes becomes even more powerful, causing the victim to succumb to his desires and spends one last night of sensual bliss before losing his essence to her and joining her into the afterlife.
On such story about the Hone Onna is the Botan Dōrō that tells a story about a young man named Ogiwara Shinnojō, who is wandering around at night and who meets a young woman named O-Tsuyu. She carries a red peony lantern and Shinnojō immediately falls in love with her. Every evening now they meet each other for love and to sleep together. An overly curious neighbor silently sneaks to the bedroom of the couple to observe them. When the light of the bedroom falls onto the couple the neighbor nearly dies in shock, when he recognizes that the sleeping Shinnojō shares his bed with a moving skeleton.
Another story from the Akita Prefecture tells of a young man traveling and becoming lost through a winter storm. He suddenly sees a young woman, carrying a red peony lantern, and was guided to her house. When he went to thank her, the light of the lantern fell onto her face and the man reeled back in shock upon seeing the woman’s face as a blank skull.
This woman is similar to a siren and a succubus, in that both are sexual supernatural beings that lure men with their sensual allure and like a succubus, drains the spiritual essence of their lover vial sexual intercourse. The differences though, is that a Hone Onna can be completely ignorant of their undead state and therefore, unaware of their life draining tendencies, and they are generally seeking out their former lovers, whereas a succubus intentionally seeks out men to drain like a hunter pursues its prey.
My rendition of the Hone Onna has a woman in a provocative pose as the skeletal half is revealed via a black illusory flame. Her dress and hair is modelled after Ragyo Kiryuin from Kill La Kill.