List Of Legendary Creatures From Japan

 
The following is a list of demons, ghosts, yōkai, obake, yūrei, and other legendary creatures that are notable in Japanese folklore and mythology.

A

  • Abumi-guchi – A furry creature formed from the stirrup of a mounted military commander who worked for Yamata no Orochi.
  • Abura-akago – An infant ghost who licks the oil out of andon lamps.
  • Abura-sumashi – A spirit with a large head who lives on a mountain pass in Kumamoto Prefecture.
  • Akabeko – A red cow involved in the construction of Enzō-ji in Yanaizu, Fukushima.
  • Akaname – A spirit who licks off filth in untidy bathrooms.
  • Akashita – A creature that looms in a black cloud over a floodgate.
  • Akateko – A red hand dangling out of a tree.
  • Akkorokamui – An Ainu monster resembling a fish or octopus.
  • Akurojin-no-hi – A ghostly fire from Mie Prefecture.
  • Amabie – A Japanese mermaid yokai.
  • Amaburakosagi – A ritual-disciplinary demon from Shikoku.
  • Amamehagi – A ritual-disciplinary demon from Hokuriku.
  • Amanojaku – A small demon that instigates people into wickedness.
  • Amanozako – A monstrous goddess mentioned in the Kujiki.
  • Amazake-babaa – An old woman who asks for sweet sake and brings disease.
  • Amefurikozō – A little boy spirit who plays in the rain.
  • Amemasu – An Ainu creature resembling a fish or whale.
  • Ameonna – A rain-making female spirit.
  • Amikiri – A net-cutting bird-headed, crustacean-armed, snake-bodied spirit.
  • Amorōnagu – A Tennyo from the island of Amami Ōshima.
  • Amaterasu – A sun goddess.
  • Anmo – A ritual-disciplinary demon from Iwate Prefecture.
  • Aoandon – The demonic spirit which arises from an andon lamp at the end of a Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai.
  • Aobōzu – The blue monk who kidnaps children.
  • Aonyōbō – A female ghost who lurks in an abandoned imperial palace.
  • Aosaginohi – A luminescent heron.
  • Arikura-no-baba – An old woman with magical powers.
  • Ashimagari – A spirit which entangles the legs of travelers.
  • Ashinagatenaga – A pair of characters, one with long legs and the other with long arms.
  • Ayakashi (yōkai) – A phenomenon considered to be the funayurei.
  • Azukiarai (or Azukitogi) – A spirit that washes azuki beans.

B

  • Bake-kujira – A ghostly whale skeleton that drifts along the coastline of Shimane Prefecture.
  • Bakeneko – A shape-shifting cat.
  • Bakezōri – A zori straw sandal spirit.
  • Baku (spirit) – Supernatural beings that devour dreams and nightmares.
  • Basan – A large fire-breathing chicken monster.
  • Bashōnosei
  • Betobeto-san – Invisible spirit which follows people at night, making the sound of footsteps.
  • Binbōgami – The spirit of poverty.
  • Biwa-bokuboku – Animated biwa lute.
  • Buruburu – A spirit which clings to people inducing cowardice and shivers.
  • Byakko – Japanese version of the Chinese White Tiger.
  • Byōbunozoki

C

  • Chōchinobake – A possessed chōchin lantern.
  • Chōchinbi – Demonic flames which appear in footpaths between rice-fields.

D

  • Daidarabotchi – A giant responsible for creating the geographical features of Japan.
  • Daitengu – The most powerful tengu, each of whom lives on a separate mountain.
  • Danzaburou-danuki – a tanuki from Sado Island.
  • Datsue-ba – An old woman in the Underworld who removes clothes (or skin if unclothed) of the dead.
  • Dodomeki – A hundred-eyed demon.
  • Dōnotsura – A headless human like yōkai with its face on its torso.

E

  • Enenra – A monster made of smoke.
  • Enkō – Kappa of Shikoku and western Honshū.

F

  • Fūjin – The wind god.
  • Fūri – A monkey-like yokai.
  • Funayūrei – Ghosts of people who died at sea.
  • Furaribi – A creature engulfed in flames that flies aimlessly.
  • Furutsubaki-no-rei – A soul-sucking plant.
  • Furu-utsubo – A beloved quiver of slain archers.
  • Futakuchi-onna – The two-mouthed woman.

G

  • Gagoze – A demon who attacked young priests at Gangō-ji temple.
  • Gaki – Starving ghosts of especially greedy people.
  • Gashadokuro – A giant skeleton that is the spirit of the unburied dead. Also known as Gaikotsu.
  • Genbu – Japanese version of the Chinese Black Tortoise.
  • Goryō – The vengeful spirits of the dead.
  • Gozu and Mezu – Underworld guards.
  • Guhin – Another name for tengu.
  • Gyūki – Another name for Ushi-oni.

H

  • Hakanohi – A fire which lights on graves.
  • Hakuja no Myojin[1] – A white serpent God.
  • Hachishaku-sama A woman that is 8 feet tall and famous by kidnapping children.
  • Hakutaku – A beast which handed down knowledge on harmful spirits.
  • Hanako-san – A spirit of a young World War II-era girl who inhabit and haunts school restrooms.
  • Hannya – A noh mask representing a jealous female demon.
  • Haradashi – A creature with a giant face on its stomach.
  • Harionago – A woman with a thorn-like barb on the tip of each strand of her hair.
  • Hashihime – A woman-turned-spirit associated with the bridge at Uji.
  • Heikegani – Crabs with human-faced shells. They are the spirits of the warriors killed in the Battle of Dan-no-ura.
  • Hibagon – The Japanese version of the Bigfoot or the Yeti.
  • Hiderigami – The spirit of drought.
  • Hihi – A baboon-like Chinese yokai.
  • Hikeshibaba – An old woman who extinguishes lanterns.
  • Hinode – The Sunrise.
  • Hitodama – A fireball ghost that appears when someone dies, signifying the dead person’s spirit.
  • Hitotsume-kozō – A one-eyed child spirit.
  • Hitotsume-nyūdō – A one-eyed monk spirit.
  • Hiyoribō – The spirit which stops rainfall.
  • Hoji – The wicked spirit of Tamamo-no-Mae.
  • Hone-onna – The skeleton-woman.
  • Hō-ō – The legendary Fenghuang bird of China.
  • Hoshi-no-Tama – A ball guarded by a Kitsune (fox) which can give the one who obtains it power to force the Kitsune to help them. It is said to hold some reserves of the Kitsune’s power.
  • Hōsōshi – A ritual exorcist.
  • Hotoke – A deceased person.
  • Hyakki Yakō – The demons’ night parade.
  • Hyōsube – A kind of hair-covered Kappa.

I

  • Ibaraki-doji – Offspring of an oni.
  • Ichiren-Bozu – Animated prayer beads.
  • Ikiryō – Essentially a living ghost, as it is a living person’s soul outside of their body.
  • Ikuchi – A sea-serpent that travels over boats in an arc while dripping oil.
  • Inugami – A dog-spirit created, worshipped, and employed by a family via sorcery.
  • Inugami Gyoubu – A type of tanuki.
  • Isonade – A fish-like sea monster with a barb-covered tail.
  • Issie – A lake monster.
  • Itsumade – A fire-breathing birdlike monster.
  • Ittan-momen – A possessed roll of cotton that attempts to smother people by wrapping itself around their faces.
  • Iyaya – A woman whose face is reflected as an old man.

J

  • Jami – A wicked mountain spirit.
  • Janjanbi – A soul in the form of a ball of fire, named for the sound it makes.
  • Jibakurei – A spirit that protects a specific place.
  • Jikininki – Ghosts that eat human corpses.
  • Jinmenju – A tree with human-faced fruits.
  • Jishin-namazu – The giant catfish that causes earthquakes and tsunami. It was blamed during the Ansei quake & tsunami.
  • Jorōgumo – A spider-woman.
  • Jatai – Animated folding screen cloth.
  • Jubokko – A vampiric tree.

K

  • Kahaku (河伯) – Another name for a Kappa.
  • Kakurezato
  • Kamaitachi – The slashing sickle-clawed weasel that haunts the mountains.
  • Kambarinyūdō – A monk spirit that spies on people using the toilet.
  • Kameosa – A possessed sake jar.
  • Kanedama – A spirit that carries money.
  • Kappa – A famous water monster with a water-filled head and a love of cucumbers.
  • Karasu-tengu – Crow demon.
  • Karura – Anthropomorphic eagle akin to the Hindu Garuda.
  • Kasa-obake – A possessed paper umbrella monster.
  • Kasha – A cat-like demon that descends from the sky and carries away corpses.
  • Katawaguruma – A type of Wanyudo, with an anguished woman instead of a monk’s head in a burning wheel.
  • Kawauso – River otters.
  • Kawaakago – A river spirit that pretends to be a crying baby.
  • Kechibi – Fireballs with human faces inside.
  • Keneō – An old man seated in the underworld who weighs the clothes given to him by Datsue-ba.
  • Keukegen – A small dog-like creature covered entirely in long hair.
  • Kijimuna – A tree sprite from Okinawa.
  • Kirin – The Japanese version of the Qilin of China, which is part dragon and part deer with antlers, fish scales and an ox’s tail. Said to be a protective creature and the guardian of the metal element.
  • Kitsune – A fox spirit.
  • Kitsunebi – Flames created by the Kitsune.
  • Kitsune no yomeiri
  • Kiyohime – A woman who transformed into a serpent demon out of the rage of unrequited love.
  • Kodama – A spirit that lives in a tree.
  • Kokakuchō – The Ubume bird.
  • Komainu – The pair of lion-dogs that guard the entrances of temples.
  • Konaki-jiji – This yokai disguises itself as an abandoned baby then cries until someone picks it up.
  • Konoha-tengu – A bird-like Tengu.
  • Koromodako – An octopus-like Yokai that lives in the waters bordering Kyoto and Fukui.
  • Koropokkuru – A little person from Ainu folklore.
  • Kosenjōbi – Fireballs that float over former battlefields.
  • Kosode-no-te – A possessed kosode.
  • Kubikajiri – Female corpse-chewing graveyard spirit.
  • Kuchisake-onna – The slit-mouthed woman.
  • Kuda-gitsune – A small fox-like animal used in sorcery.
  • Kudan – A cow with a human face.
  • Kyonshī – The Japanese version of the Chinese hopping vampire, known as “jiangshi”.
  • Kumo Yōkai – A Japanese spider demon.
  • Kyōkotsu – A skeletal figure that emerges from a well.
  • Kyōrinrin – Possessed scrolls or papers.

M

  • Mekurabe – The multiplying skulls that menaced Taira no Kiyomori in his courtyard.
  • Miage-nyūdō – A spirit that grows as fast as you can look up at it.
  • Mikaribaba – A one-eyed old woman.
  • Mikoshi-nyūdō – A bald goblin with an extending neck.
  • Misaki – High-ranking divine spirits.
  • Mizuchi – A dangerous water dragon.
  • Mokumokuren – A swarm of eyes that appear on a paper sliding door in an old building.
  • Momonjī
  • Mononoke – Any mischievous and troublesome creature/entity of uncertain origin.
  • Morinji-no-kama – Another name for Bunbuku Chagama, the tanuki teakettle.
  • Mōryō – A general term for various water demons that eat corpses.
  • Mujina – A shapeshifting badger.
  • Mu-onna – The nothing woman.
  • Myōbu – A title sometimes given to a fox.

N

  • Namahage – A ritual-disciplinary demon from the Oga Peninsula.
  • Namazu – A giant catfish that causes earthquakes.
  • Nekomata – A cat yokai.
  • Nuppeppō – A genderless blob of flesh with a hint of a face in the folds of fat.
  • Ningyo – A fish person or “mermaid”.
  • Nobusuma – A flying squirrel-like monster (possibly inspired by Indian giant flying squirrel).
  • Noderabō – Strange creatures that stand near a temple bell.
  • Noppera-bō – A faceless ghost.
  • Nozuchi – A fat snake-like creature.
  • Nogitsune – A dangerous kitsune.
  • Nue – A monster with the head of a monkey, the body of a raccoon dog, the legs of a tiger, and a snake-headed tail. It plagued the emperor with nightmares in the Heike Monogatari.
  • Nukekubi – A vicious human-like monster whose head detaches from its body, often confused with the Rokurokubi.
  • Nuppeppo – An animated lump of decaying human flesh.
  • Nure-onna – A female snake-like monster who appears on the shore.
  • Nuribotoke – An animated corpse with blackened flesh and dangling eyeballs.
  • Nurikabe – A ghostly wall that traps a traveler at night.
  • Nurarihyon – A strange character who sneaks into houses on busy evenings.
  • Nyūdō-bōzu – A yokai that grows larger the further one looks up.
  • Nyūnaisuzume

O

  • Obake (or Bakemono) – Shapeshifting spirits.
  • Obariyon – Yōkai which rides piggyback on a human victim and becomes unbearably heavy.
  • Oboroguruma – An oxen cart with a face in its carriage.
  • Oiwa – The ghost of a woman with a distorted face who was murdered by her husband. One of the most famous onryō.
  • Ōkaburo
  • Ōgama – A giant toad which breathes rainbow-like smoke and wields a giant spear against whoever attacks it.
  • Ōkami – A powerful wolf spirit that either takes your life or protects it depending on the actions one does in his or her life.
  • Okiku – The plate-counting ghost of a servant girl.
  • Ōkubi – The huge face of a woman which appears in the sky.
  • Okuri-inu – A spectral dog which follows lone travelers, attacking them if they trip. Similar to the Black dog of English folklore.
  • Ōmagatoki – Dusk.
  • Ōmukade – A giant, human-eating centipede that lives in the mountains.
  • Oni – The classic Japanese demon. It is an ogre-like creature which often has horns.
    • Oni of Rashomon
  • Onibaba – The demonic hag of Adachigahara.
  • Onibi – A demonic flame which can suck out life if people come too near.
  • Onihitokuchi – One-eyed oni that kill and eat humans.
  • Onikuma – Bear yōkai.
  • Onmoraki – A bird-demon created from the spirits of freshly dead corpses.
  • Ōnyūdō – Wastebasket taxon for all ‘priestly’ demons.
  • Onryō – A vengeful ghost formed from powerful feelings like rage or sorrow.
  • Otoroshi – A hairy creature that perches on the torii gates to shrines and temples.
  • Onmyoji – A human who has powers like a [[yōkai’s.
  • Osakabe – A old woman yōkai which resides in Himeji Castle who can read and manipulate hearts.

R

  • Raijin – The God of Thunder.
  • Raijū – A beast that falls to earth in a lightning bolt.
  • Rōjinbi – A ghostly fire that appears with an old person.
  • Rokurokubi – A person, usually female, whose neck can stretch indefinitely.
  • Ryuu – The Japanese dragon.

S

  • Sa Gojō – The water-monster Sha Wujing from Journey to the West, often interpreted in Japan as a Kappa.
  • Samebito – A shark-man from the undersea Dragon Palace.
  • Sankai – An amorphous afterbirth spirit.
  • Sansei – A humanoid with a single leg twisted backwards.
  • Sarakazoe
  • Satori – An ape-like creature that can read one’s thoughts.
  • Sazae-oni – A turban snail that turns into a woman.
  • Sesshō-seki – The poisonous “killing stones” which Tamamo-no-Mae transformed into.
  • Seiryū – Japanese version of the Chinese Azure Dragon.
  • Shachihoko – A tiger-headed fish whose image is often used in architecture.
  • Shibaemon-tanuki – A tanuki from Awaji Island.
  • Shichinin misaki – A group of 7 ghosts who sicken the living.
  • Shidaidaka – A humanoid yokai that appears above roads.
  • Shikigami – A spirit summoned to do the bidding of an Onmyōji.
  • Shikome – Wild women sent by Izanami to harm Izanagi.
  • Shinigami – The Japanese Grim Reaper.
  • Shiranui – A mysterious flame seen over the seas in Kumamoto Prefecture.
  • Shirime (尻目) – An apparition in the shape of a man having an eye in the place of his anus.
  • Shirōneri – Possessed mosquito nettings or dust clothes.
  • Shiryō – The souls of the dead, the opposite of ikiryo.
  • Shisa – The Okinawan version of the Shishi.
  • Shishi – The paired lion-dogs that guard the entrances of temples.
  • Shōjō – Red-haired sea sprites who love alcohol.
  • Shōkera – A creature which peeks in through the skylight of an old house.
  • Sōjōbō – The famous Daitengu of Mount Kurama.
  • Suiko – Another name for Kappa.
  • Son Gokū – The monkey king Sun Wukong from Journey to the West.
  • Sunakake Baba – A witch who uses sand.
  • Sunekosuri – A dog-like yokai that rubs up against people’s legs when it is raining.
  • Shuten-doji –
  • Suzaku – The Japanese version of the Chinese Vermilion Bird.
  • Suzuri-no-tamashii

T

  • Taka-onna – A female monster that can stretch its waist to peer inside buildings.
  • Tamamo-no-Mae – A wicked nine-tailed fox who appeared as a courtesan.
  • Tanuki – A shape-shifting raccoon dog.
  • Teke Teke – A vengeful spirit of a school girl, with a half upper torso body, who goes around killing people by slicing them in half with a scythe, mimicking her own disfigurement.
  • Ten – A shapeshifting mischievous weasel.
  • Tengu – A wise demon with two variants: a red man with a long nose, or a bird-like demon.
  • Tenjōkudari
  • Tenka (kaika)
  • Tenko (fox)
  • Tennin – A heavenly being.
  • Te-no-me – A ghost of a blind man with his eyes on his hands.
  • Teratsutsuki
  • Tesso – A priest who was snubbed by the emperor and became a swarm of rats which laid waste to a rival temple.
  • Tōfu-kozō – A yokai that appears as a young boy carrying a plate of tofu.
  • Tsuchigumo – A clan of spider-like yokai.
  • Tsuchinoko – A legendary serpentine monster. It is now a cryptid resembling a fat snake.
  • Tsukinowaguma – A legendary bear.[2]
  • Tsukuyomi – A moon god.
  • Tsukumogami – An animated tea caddy that Matsunaga Hisahide used to bargain a peace with Oda Nobunaga. It is now understood to mean any 100-year-old inanimate object that has come to life.
  • Tsurube-otoshi – A monster that drops out of the tops of trees.

U

  • Ubume – The spirit of a woman who died in child birth.
  • Uma-no-ashi – A horse’s leg which dangles from a tree and kicks passersby.
  • Umibōzu – A giant monster appearing on the surface of the sea.
  • Umi-nyōbō – A female sea monster who steals fish.
  • Ungaikyō – A possessed mirror.
  • Ushi-no-tokimairi – A curse done at the ox hour (between 1 to 3 in the morning) by a black magic user, with various effects.
  • Ushi-oni – A name given to an assortment of ox-headed monsters.
  • Ushi-onna – A kimono-clad woman with a cow head.
  • Ushirogami
  • Uwan – A spirit named for the sound it shouts when surprising people.

W

  • Waira – A large beast that lurks in the mountains, about which little is known.
  • Wani – A water monster comparable to an alligator or crocodile. A related word has been applied to the Saltwater crocodile.
  • Wanyūdō – A flaming wheel with a man’s head in the center, that sucks out the soul of anyone who sees it.

Y

  • Yadōkai – Monks who have turned to mischief.
  • Yama-biko – Small creatures that create echoes.
  • Yamajijii – An old man with one eye and one leg.
  • Yamako – An ape like occasionally cannibalistic creature that can read minds.
  • Yamaoroshi – A possessed vegetable grater, almost porcupine-like in appearance.
  • Yamata no Orochi – The eight-headed dragon/serpent monster slain by the god Susanoo.
  • Yama-inu – A dog-like mountain spirit, that may appear to travelers on mountain roads; may be friendly, or may attack and kill the traveler, depending on the tale, (also see the Japanese wolf).
  • Yama-uba – A Crone-like yōkai.
  • Yashima no Hage-tanuki – A tanuki that protects the Taira clan.
  • Yatagarasu – The three-legged crow of Amaterasu.
  • Yato-no-kami – Deadly Snake gods which infested a field.
  • Yobuko – A mountain-dwelling spirit.
  • Yōkai/Youkai – A class of supernatural monsters, spirits, and demons in Japanese folklore. They can also be called ayakashi (妖?), mononoke (物の怪?), or mamono (魔物?).
  • Yomotsu-shikome – The hags of the underworld.
  • Yonakinoishi
  • Yōsei – The Japanese word for “fairy”.
  • Yosuzume – A mysterious bird that sings at night, sometimes indicating that the okuri-inu is near.
  • Yuki-onna – The snow woman.
  • Yurei – Ghosts in a more Western sense.

Z

  • Zashiki-warashi – A protective of a childlike house spirit.
  • Zennyo Ryūō – A rain-making dragon.
  • Zorigami – An animated clock.
  • Zuijin – A tutelary spirit.
  • Zunbera-bō – Another name for the Noppera-bō.

References

  1.  “The Oriental Economic Review”. Oriental Information Agency. 14 July 2018 – via Google Books.
  2.  Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women who Run with the Wolves (1996), Ch. 12.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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