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Tsuchigumo and Jorogumo

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Originally, the tsuchigumo (translated to "earth spider") and their Distaff Counterpart the jorōgumo ("whore spider" or "binding bride") were a term for people who did not show allegiance to the emperor of Japan, describing them as a frumpy people with disproportionately long limbs and living in holes in the ground. As time went on, the satirical caricature would grow more absurd and the racist connotations would be lost to time and soon they became a malevolent monster known for ensnaring humans for mating and food.

These spiders are monstrous in size (as big or bigger than a man), with Oni-like faces (sometimes including Messy Hair), and can take human form to eat travelers. Jorōgumo uses a lure to attract travelers to feed her offspring, and often has the power to allure men with a song not unlike the Enthralling Sirens of Classical Mythology; other times she may act as a Shapeshifting Lover. Tsuchigumo has a powerful, hairy body, and can also use illusions to keep his webs hidden and make people ill in order to feed on them.


In modern pop culture, they commonly manifest as Spider People, possessing the top half of a human and the lower half of a spider. Whether or not they are monstrous predators who would sooner kill you when your back is turned or if they are just misunderstood, differs.

In modern Japanese, o-tsuchigumo also refers to ground-dwelling tarantulas (which are hairy, sturdy and have large faces), and jorōgumo to a number of species including wasp spiders and golden orb-weavers (which are known for their coloration and impressive webs).

Sub-Trope to Spider People and Youkai.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Inuyasha:
    • The Kumogashira are a group of spider yokai. Their leader poses as a monk as part of a plan of luring Inuyasha to him and stealing his shards of the Shikon no Tama.
    • The Big Bad Onigumo/Naraku is strongly associated with spiders.
    • One of the demons that works under Orochidayu is a tsuchigumo.
  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Both Tsuchigumo and Jorōgumo appear. The first one is a Blood Knight that defeats Rikuo once, and the other one is a board member of the Nura Clan.
  • Rosario + Vampire
    • Keito is a jorōgumo who is a member of the Public Security Commission, the first member to try and undermine the Newspaper Club because they have a history of defying them. Her true form has her other four appendages coming out of her stomach with a spider-like face. She has a special type of venom who allows her to control those she bites, having enthralled the original presidents of the Classical Literature, Japanese Tea-Ceremony Club and Yaoi Manga Club to be made as an example to the rest of the school.
    • Kumocchi is a tsuchigumo member of a group of robbers who work under the doppelganger Phantom Thief.
  • Wasurenagumo: Two female jorōgumos, a mother and a daughter, appear. The mother is a Kaiju-sized jorogumo who appears with a monstrous human woman/spider hybrid. The daughter is tiny and human-looking with an apparent spider-like lower body, which is never seen besides the spider legs.

    Comic Books 
  • In Usagi Yojimbo, two stories deal with such Yokai: one, titled "Gumo", has a village besieged by monstrous giant spiders lead by a Kumo Onna, forcing Usagi and Sasuke to join forces. Another one quotes the famous story of Minamoto-no-Yoritomo and has lord Noriyuki threatened by a Tsuchigumo living in a screendoor animated by a cursed ink set.

    Fan Works 
  • Constellations: A jorōgumo shows up, manipulating and trying to eat Emma Barnes, and is promptly exorcised by some ofuda that Sunny/Ameratsu had had Taylor make in the lead-up to Halloween.
  • Webwork: After Jade is transported to the Emptiness, she's taken in by the Jorōgumo Queen, the former ruler (and last of) that species. She serves as Jade's Evil Mentor, while also slowly transforming her into a Jorōgumo as well so that she can take the Queen's place and have the Vessel containing live eggs implanted into her in order to rebirth the species.

    Films — Animated 
  • Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms: A jorōgumo appears in a scene based on the classic myths; she initially presents herself as a human musician playing a harp-like stringed instrument, then reveals herself to be partially a Giant Spider and attacks Hellboy, seeking to devour him.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • Eight Million Gods: A jorōgumo appears working for the villain.
  • It: Though it may have been entirely unintentional, the eponymous creature of Stephen King's novel has much in common with this particular brand of youkai. Its true form is a gigantic spider, and throughout the story appears in several humanoid shapes, most notably Pennywise the Clown. The balloons are strictly of King's invention, though.
  • InCryptid: Umeko in Magic for Nothing is a jorōgumo who has been killing locals who visit the carnival.

    Live-Action TV 

    Mythology and Folklore 
  • One Japanese tale states that a jorōgumo lives behind the Joren Falls by the city of Izu; the locals avoided this area as a result, but a traveling woodcutter who didn't know of her presence went to her falls to harvest some trees and dropped his favorite axe into the water. As he tried to get it back, a beautiful woman — the jorōgumo — appeared and returned it to him. The man fell in love with her and went to visit her every day, but grew physically weaker as he kept visiting her. The local Buddhist priest eventually caught on to what was going on, accompanied the woodcutter and, when the jorōgumo shot a thread of silk at them from behind the waterfall, repelled it with a sutra. The woodcutter, even after having learned that the woman was in fact a jorōgumo in disguise, wanted to be with her and sought permission to marry her from a tengu who ruled over the yokai of that region. When the tengu denied him, he dove into the waterfall anyway... and was grabbed by the jorōgumo's webs and never seen again.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pathfinder: Jorogumos are monsters resembling highly attractive humanoid women with spider legs sprouting from their backs, which they can retract or extend at will. They reproduce by seducing humanoid males, paralyzing them after copulation, laying an egg in their bodies, cocooning them and leaving them helpless and bound until the infant hatches and eats her way out of her father. The campaign setting has a country, Shenmen, ruled by jorogumos, who took over when its government collapsed and monsters overran it.
  • Ravenloft: The Red Widow may have been inspired by the jorōgumo; it's a female Giant Spider (appearing like a color-inverted black widow) that can assume the form of a human woman, which seduces men to drink their blood and use them to fertilize and then incubate her eggs — a trait that the Pathfinder jorōgumo would go on to use decades later.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • A Punny example in the card Jirai Gumo ("Landmine Spider"), which lurks underground and pops out to attack people who pass by.
    • Tsukahagi, the Poisonous Mayakashi is a Zombie-type monster from the Mayakashi Archetype, his design looking similar to a human samurai with eight astral spider-legs behind him. He has a Synchro-monster counterpart called Tsuchigumo, the Poisonous Mayakashi, a spider-taur with a more mechanized armored appearance.

    Video Games 
  • Atlach=Nacha, an ero-game, has a jorōgumo attempting to blend in with human society. She doesn't do very well with men, but meets a very nice girl...
  • Ayakashi: Romance Reborn: Kagemaru is a highly attractive male jorougumo.
  • In Daily Life With Monster Girl Online, Kuruwa is the member of a sub-species of arachne called the Jorōgumo. She is unique among other arachne as while other species of arachne have a spider's body in-place of legs, Kuruwa has regular human legs with four black and yellow legs sprouting from her back.
  • Dragon Project have two Jorōgumo-inspired Behemoths in the form of Grinning Ayame and Grinning Yurami as the Fire Soul Sword and Shield and Earth Soul Great Sword Behemoths respectively. Both eyeless spider Geishas carry a parasol that nullifies damage above, and in Yurami's case, she casts a shadowy mist that nullifies all damage until it's removed, preferably with a fast hitting fire weapon/magi.
  • Legendary: The Box has "Tsuchigumo" (erroneously translated as "Blood Spiders") as enemies, taking the form of red Spider Swarm that will reform unless you find and destroy the Queen spawning them.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade: A tsuchigumo is fought in a web-filled castle room. He captures Torahime and her soldiers, and is fought alongside his children, who also appear earlier in the dungeon leading to him.
  • The Ninja Warriors: One of the mooks is named after the creature.
  • Nioh has a whole level set in a ruined castle infested by giant spiders with a Jorōgumo as the boss: in this case, it's a huge, monstrous spider with armored legs, a vulnerable abdoment and a woman's torso where the head should be, with two more legs emerging from the sleeves. It is stated that, rather than a person, she's the manifestation of the spirit of Matsunaga Hisahide's beloved teapot Hiragumo (Whose name means Flat Cloud but, since Kumo can be read as spider, has given pretty much everyone free way to give Matsunaga a spider motif).
  • Ōkami: The first boss is based on the jorōgumo (translated as Spider Queen). You later meet the tsuchigumo (Bandit Spiders) as Bonus Boss.
  • Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army: Tsuchigumo appears in the intro and as a summonable minion.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War's version of Shelob is basically a jorōgumo, spending most of the game in the form of a beautiful woman.
  • Sine Mora has a boss named Tsuchigumo. Appropriately enough, it's a huge robot spider that fires out web-like Bullet Hell patterns.
  • Super Paper Mario: Mimi has some characteristics of a jorōgumo: her true form resembles a robotic Giant Spider, but she usually presents herself in less-unnerving, humanoid disguises.
  • Touhou: Yamame Kurodani from Touhou Project is a tsuchigumo with powers over disease. She herself is rather friendly, but her disease powers caused her to be lumped with other hated youkai who lives underground.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: Tsuchigumo (called Arachnus in English version) is a rare "Classic" Yo-Kai introduced in Yo-kai Watch 2, while Jorōgumo (called Arachnia in English version) is a Palette Swap of Tsuchigumo. Both are male instead of the traditional female.

    Web Original 
  • In the Monster Girl Encyclopedia, Jorōgumo is a nice and harmless spider girl by day, but turns into a sadistic rapist when alone with her lover by night.

    Western Animation 
  • Gravity Falls: A jorōgumo-like creature named Darlene appears in the Season 2 episode "Roadside Attraction". She's never identified as one, but her basic appearance and modus operandi — a female spider-like monster who adopts a human guise to seduce and attract the men she preys on — fits the jorōgumo myth quite nicely.


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