Follow TV Tropes

Following

Youkai
aka: Obake

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/youkai.jpg

"I begin this book with the inconclusive story, a mundane modern mystery, because it raises the simple question of how we interpret our world. In particular, how do we explain occurrences that don't easily fit our everyday understandings of the way things work? When we ask who or what turned on the television, we are intimating that there is a living being or animated force interacting with us even though we cannot see it. We may visualize this force as a monster or a spirit or a ghost or a shape-shifting animal. In Japan such a force, and the form it takes, is often called a yokai."
Michael Foster, The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore
Advertisement:

Youkai/Yokai/Yōkai (also known as "Yaoguai" in Chinese pinyin, from which the Japanese term originates, literally meaning "bewitching spectres") are a grand collection of various supernatural creatures or phenomenon that pop up in Shinto religion. They have a lot in common with The Fair Folk—some youkai are good, others are evil, and many have their own alien set of values. Some are mischievous, others avoid humans entirely. Shinto is an animist religion, and youkai are often associated with natural features such as forests and mountains. "Youkai" (literally "strange apparition") are often called "demons" in Western translations, but that word's connotation of purely evil entities make it an inadequate description.note . As noted before, they are closer to The Fair Folk, spanning the entire moral range between good, mischievous, neutral, and actually evil. The closest true Western equivalent is probably that of the ancient Roman genii or spirits.

Advertisement:

Supernatural creatures drawn from Western sources often turn out to seem more like youkai in Japanese works. For instance, vampires.note  In the West you've got Nosferatu — a grotesque, undead monster who burns in sunlight and murders to preserve his hideous unlife. In Japan you've got exceptionally cute Fanservice protagonist Moka Akashiya, who is not undead, harbors no ill-will towards the sun, and drinks tiny amounts of blood that leave her "victim" light-headed at worst, but who has a Superpowered Evil Side who can (and will if you look at her the wrong way) kick your ass thoroughly.

Henge, a subset of youkai, are magical animals with Shapeshifting powers and human intelligence. They often assume human form and get into all kinds of mischief. Kinds of henge include Kitsune, Tanuki, and Nekomata.

Advertisement:

Obake is another Japanese word that can indicate some type of monster. Derived from the word for "to change", it generally covers the subset of youkai that includes shapeshifting animals (hence the terms bake-gitsune, bake-neko, etc.) as well as Animate Inanimate Objects. Confusingly, however, the word obake can also be used to refer to ghosts, also known as yuurei. See Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl for more information.

Ayakashi is a word which is roughly synonymous with "youkai" in current day usage, though it traditionally refers to spirits that appear over water.

Mononoke is a similar term to ayakashi, in that it is widely used but technically refers to vengeful spirits that can cause disease or other harm through possession.

Many types of youkai were codified during the Edo period in the works of Toriyama Sekien. The genre of manga that deals with Youkai was founded by Shigeru Mizuki (1922—2015), who was obsessed with Youkai ever since he was a child. The Trope Codifier of modern youkai manga is his ever-popular GeGeGe no Kitarō that has received an anime adaption at least once a decade since it was written.

The list presented below is by no means complete. Most youkai are regional creations and then there's also the youkai of the past which have survived to modern times only as a small note or drawing in a scroll. Only a few make it into modern national media and last there.

Youkai with their own pages:

  • Bakeneko and Nekomata — Types of cat youkai.
  • Baku — Dream-eating Tapir creature.
  • Gashadokuro — A giant skeleton manifest from those who died of war, plague or famine.
  • Hitodama — Wispy lights that hover around ghosts and possessed people.
  • Hyakki Yagyō — A night festival packed to the gills with Youkai.
  • Kamaitachi — A weasel-like creature with sickle-like claws that rides wind currents and cuts people.
  • Kappa — A "river goblin" resembling a cross between a monkey and a turtle.
  • Karakasa — An old umbrella come to life.
  • Kitsune — Foxes, treated in mythology as having great supernatural powers.
  • Nue — A chimera/manticore-esq beast with the head of a monkey, a tiger's body and a serpent for a tail.
  • Nurikabe — A living obstructive barrier.
  • Oni — A huge, muscular humanoid, similar to ogres.
  • Onryo — A vengeful female ghost, usually with long, stringy black hair and pale skin.
  • Orochi — A giant, multi-headed snake.
  • Raiju — The animalistic-personification of lightning.
  • Shinigami — A spirit of death.
  • Tanuki — A real animal also known as the "raccoon dog", treated in mythology as a shapeshifting trickster.
  • Tanuki/Kitsune Contrast — When Kitsune and Tanuki appear in the same work, they tend to be paired together and treated as rivals, or otherwise compared and contrasted.
  • Tengu — Mountain-dwelling humanoids which either have long noses or resemble crows.
  • Tsuchigumo and Jorogumo — Shapeshifting spider youkai.
  • Tsuchinoko — A stout little snake cryptid.
  • Yuki-onna — A pale, snow spirit lady.
  • Yurei — Japanese counterpart of vengeful ghosts, Onryo being the most known type of Yurei.
  • Zashiki-warashi — A childlike spirit that should be cared for to keep the one's house in good fortune.

    open/close all folders 

Tsukumogami: Inanimate objects that come to life after a hundred years. These can range from weapons to clothes to umbrellas. Well-known traditional examples include karakasa (paper umbrellas), ittan-momen (a floating strip of cotton cloth), biwa-bokuboku and koto-furunushi (stringed musical instruments) and burabura (lanterns). Strangely, they avoid electrical energy in common folklore from the 1940s and it is said that no modern object could ever become a Tsukumogami.

    Tsukumogami Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Tsukumogami in Ayakashi Triangle are ayakashi that took over inanimate objects (if they existed separate from the objects beforehand isn't specified). While ayakashi are typically Invisible to Normals, tsukumogami have physical bodies that make them visible to regular humans.
    • Garaku is the tsukumogami of an ink brush used by a famous artists hundreds of years ago. Atypically, he has a human Shapeshifter Default Form resembling his creator, and has a similar personality to match.
    • Another tsukumogami is made from a sohachi-bon, a type of cymbal used for Buddhist rituals. It flies around randomly, causing UFO sightings.
    • Some other ayakashi seem to be objects brought to life, including a paper lantern that chased Matsuri as a child and a clay jar that caused Yayo to constantly trip. However, they are not identified as tsukumogami, are still Invisible to Normals, and are presumably not created from corporeal objects.
  • GeGeGe no Kitarō has an ittan-momen whom Kitaro and his friends often ride on. It is weakened when it gets wet.
  • In Hakumei & Mikochi, Mikochi and another singer sing a song to celebrate the tsukumogami living among them. Their song causes various objects (chairs, tables, brooms, etc.) to come to life and start dancing along.
  • Hakushon Daimao: Hakushon is a genie who sometimes turns himself into objects and claims to be a tsukumogami.
  • Hell Girl: Ichimoku Ren is a Tsukumogami; specifically, he is the spirit of a sword. He was given a human form by Enma Ai, so he could better work for her.
  • Inuyasha: Yura of the Hair turns out to be a comb that became a youkai after being used to comb the hair of hundreds of corpses.
  • In Love Hina, there is the Tsukumogami called "Moe", a near life-sized doll/puppet who comes to life about halfway through the series, disappears after spending some time with Keitaro, and reappears in the sequel OVA Love Hina Again.
  • My Monster Secret has Mikan's cheap fake glasses becoming a Tsukumogami inhabited by a self-proclaimed fortune god. The example is atypical because what triggers the "tsukumogamization" isn't the age of the object, but how much Mikan cherishes it as a gift from Asahi, whom she secretly loves.
  • Omamori Himari features as one of its protagonists a Tsukumogami based in an English teacup.
  • RIN-NE features a "Tsukumogami sticker" which when placed on an object gives it the ability to talk.
  • In 3×3 Eyes, in the second part of the manga, an amnesiac Pai is targeted by living marionettes (who can take human form) who want to force her to make their "father" immortal (despite his death, a phenomenon that they cannot understand). To drive the point home, their creator's name is Soichi Tsugumo.
  • Shrine of the Morning Mist has two Tsukumogami among its characters.
  • Tsukipro's youkai AU features Rui as a Cute Monster Boy karakasa.
  • Tsugumomo revolves around these, both good and bad.
  • Tsukumo Happy Soul is a one-volume manga that involves Tsukumogami. While some are fairly normal, the main character's Tsukumogami is a pink vibrator she inherited from her mom that can turn into a boy. It is a bit ecchi, but it ran in a shonen magazine so it's more gag ecchi.
  • Ushio and Tora has a killer marionette Youkai who needs hearts from young women to charge its mechanism. Later on the author shows a rare example of "modern" Tsukumogami with Ikkaku, a swordfish-like, speed-eating demon born from a motorbike and forcibly possessing people to make it drive faster and faster.

Fan Works

  • Kamikakushi has three: Botan, a boroboroton (futon-Tsukumogami); Churippu, an ichiren-bozu (prayer-bead-Tsukumogami); and Higanbana, a koto-furunushi (koto-Tsukumogami).

Literature

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • Pathfinder features Tsukumogami as a monster type, using a variant of the Animated Objects monster template. Specifically, the Tsukumogami template goes over the Animated Object template, transforming the former golem into a Kami-subtype native outsider with full intelligence and an array of mystical abilities.

Video Games

  • AdventureQuest Worlds has a place called the Yokai Junkyard filled with tsukumogami, the specific types being Bakezouri, Biwa-Bokuboku, Bura-Bura, Kara-Kasa and Koto-Furunushi.
  • Yura and Gaku in Ayakashi: Romance Reborn are a tsukumogami flute and drum, respectively.
  • Ensemble Stars!: in the 2019 school festival event, Valkyrie dress up as living dolls.
  • Gaia Online: A variation of Tsukumogami, known as "The Animated", are the primary enemies in the Gaia Online MMO: zOMG!. Players can encounter animated Cotton Balls, Garlic Cloves, Purses, and even imperialistic Lawn Gnomes. Other enemies (including other youkai) exist as well.
  • Izuna: Not only are some of the standard Tsukumogami found as enemies, you can actually make your own! The more you use a weapon, the more its "LUV" stat increases. When it hits 100, you can burn in a Tsukumo talisman to turn the weapon itself into a talisman; anything you stick it on will gain that weapon's special abilities. (It only works on weapons, not armour.) Make enough of these and you can get all the best powers in the game on a single claw.
  • Onmyōji: A large portion of the cast, but the only time the term is actually used is by Seimei regarding Onigiri, the pseudo-personification of the (real) Minamoto treasure sword Higekiri/Onigiri (Yasutsuna)/Tomokiri/Sunnashi/Shishinoko.
  • Pokémon: Several Pokémon appear to be based on Tsukumogami; unusually, some of these are modern objects, and indeed Electric-types. These include Magnemite (magnets), Voltorb (Poké Ball), Gardevoir (possibly anesama ningyou, a style of paper doll), Shedinja (the discarded exoskeleton of a Nincada after it evolves), Nosepass (Moai statue), Baltoy (shakokidogu), Shuppet (Teru-Teru Bōzu, a Japanese paper doll resembling a ghost), Banette (Voodoo doll), Bronzor (a bronze mirror), Bronzong (a bronze bell), Rotom's forms (refrigerator, lawnmower, oven, fan, washing machine), the Klink line (gears), Darumaka and Darmanitan (Daruma statues), Trubbish and Garbodor (garbage bags), Litwick (candle), Lampent (lantern), Chandelure (chandelier), the Vanillite line (ice cream cones), the Honedge line (swords) and Klefki (keychain). Though one would wonder how a candle or an ice cream cone would last the required hundred years without melting long before them.
  • Touhou Project:
    • Kogasa Tatara is a Karakasa. However, the umbrella creates a projection of a human-like body to carry around the umbrella itself.
    • Medicine Melancholy may or may not be a doll Tsukumogami.
    • Hata no Kokoro is a varation of this that's known as a menreiki.
    • Double Dealing Character introduces Benben Tsukumo, a biwa tsukumogami, Yatsuhashi Tsukumo, a koto tsukumogami, and Raiko Horikawa, a taiko tsukumogami (although she also has thunder god characteristics as well).
  • Yo-Kai Watch features various yo-kai of this sort, such as hat yo-kai, remote yo-kai, and umbrella yo-kai.

Web Original

  • Dungeons of the Unforgiven: This can be the only explanation for a good half of the monstrosities strewn throughout the titular Dungeons.
  • In Vivere Militare Est, the term "tsukumogami" is used in magitek thanks to the Japanese having been important pioneers in the field, and describes various preternatural control systems for "smart" consumer appliances, automobiles, and computers. It's specifically stated that tsukumogami do not come with age, which is just a myth. One major downside is that they can be possessed, which is responsible for most malfunctions.


Rokurokubi and Nukekubi: These two creatures are humanoid monsters, usually but not always female; the Rokurokubi are human by day but have extremely elastic necks during the night, while Nukekubi can detach their heads from their necks and float away in search of human flesh and blood, as well as vermin and lamp oil. In some depictions rokurokubi aren't a true species, but the Partial Transformation form of a snake youkai. Sometimes enter Ambiguously Human territory, being treated as humans afflicted by a strange curse or medical condition.

    Rokurokubi and Nukekubi Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Hell Teacher Nube: Rokurokubi are a HUGE part of the series, as the Genre Blind Miki insists on trying out techniques for astral projection and, instead, ends up turning herself into a rokurokubi. She's unable to control this state at first, and honestly believes that Nube, as the resident exorcist, will kill her because she's become a youkai, but he simply shows her how to control this new side of herself and the ability to extend her neck (sometimes across town) becomes another aspect of her personality... one that she uses incessantly to play pranks, annoy others, and, on at least one occasion, save the lives of herself and her friends.
  • Junji Ito Kyoufu Manga Collection: "The Hanging Balloons" riffs on the classic nukekubi tales. After a Teen Idol is found nearly decapitated by an apparent suicide, her fans begin seeing a giant version of her head floating in the sky. From there more giant noose-bearing balloons of people's heads show up, hunting their own living counterparts.
  • Mononoke Sharing: Kuro is a rokurokubi and aspiring comedian. Most of her jokes revolve around her long neck.
  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Kubinashi is a nukekubi.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Kubisaki from the Fan Club Coaltion is a rokurokubi.
  • Ushio and Tora: The Gamin-Sama are a family of five monstrous nukekubi (grandfather, mother, father, son and daughter) who are accidentally fred by workers and proceed to wreak havoc looking for the woman who sealed them, only to run into Tora who's annoyed enough to teach them a lesson or two. Also according to Tora, they come from China and they're also known as "Hitoban" (Barbaric Flying Heads, which is the collective name given to flying head monsters).
  • In YuYu Hakusho, one demon that showed himself to Yusuke after the Hell Tournament Arc, with news on his demon ancestor was an example of a Rokurokubi with surprisingly human looks for a demon. It was nighttime as well.

Comic Books

  • Hellboy:
    • The story "Heads" has Hellboy accidentally running across a household of Nukekubi. Needless to say, he hits them and pokes fun at them.
    • The OVA Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms includes a scene that's an almost word-for-word adaptation of "Heads". In another scene, Hellboy encounters female Rokurokubi.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Rokurokubi sometimes appears among Youkai, but a single, old Nukekubi is the protagonist of a story of the same title in the book A town called Hell, where he ambushes Usagi. Usagi manages to capture him and gives him to a talkative old woman who lives by herself and is plagued by lizards, so that the woman has company and the Nukekubi can sustain himself by eating the lizards.

Literature

  • Fighting Fantasy: The gamebook Sword of the Samurai has the protagonist visit an entire village of nukekubi, though the book mistakenly referred to them as rokorokubi.
  • Pact: At one point, Blake encounters a group of Others in the form of Japanese women who can "unspool" their internal organs into a long neck, or detach their heads entirely (though reattaching them is implied to be difficult). He notes that they don't seem very strong, and that the mage commanding them likely uses them as scouts rather than fighters.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • Pathfinder features the rokurokubi as one of their many varieties of Japanese monsters. They are stated to be a Tian relative of the hag, although they seem to also be a variety of Snake People; in addition to their extendable necks, they have mouths full of sharp fangs, clawed fingers, and green-scaled skin, which they hide behind clothing and makeup. They are much more malicious than the typical rokurokubi, with murderous inclinations and a taste for human flesh, but at the same time, they need to breed with humanoid men, as they are an Always Female One-Gender Race.

Video Games

  • Nioh: Dragon of the North adds Rokurokubi to the enemy roster: they normally look like any simple samurai warrior, but when engaged they extend their necks to attack, revealing a gaping mouth and Amurita crystal spikes all over their head and neck. Also, the "hands" on the side of the head makes the neck appear as a pair of arms.
  • In Onmyōji, there is a creature called No-neck (kubinashi) whose head floats over his body. Appears as NPC, monster and attainable shikigami.
  • Rei from Sable's Grimoire is a rokurokubi, which doesn't immediately seem to mean much, as she's basically just another (rather bad) student at the game's Wizarding School. Her route however shows that using her human appearance to pass for actually being human to avoid Fantastic Racism has given her some deep seated issues.
  • Team Fortress 2: The viral video nope.avi seems to reference rokurokubi. Or submarine periscopes.
  • Touhou Project: Sekibanki is officially called a Rokurokubi, but has flying head related abilities closer to a Nukekubi. However, her one spell card that directly references the Rokurokubi gives her flying head a stretchy neck. It's implied she is both, thanks to the two youkai often being confused for each other.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: Rokurokubi are one of the "Classic" Yo-Kai introduced in Yo-kai Watch 2. The English version renames her "Lady Longnek".
  • The Teacher in Little Nightmares II has the ability to grotesquely elongate her neck.


Futakuchi-onna and hari-onna are youkai resembling human women. In the case of futakuchi-onna, the catch is that they have a second mouth on the back of their heads and a voracious appetite. They get up at night and use their Prehensile Hair to stuff their second mouth full, leaving any human households they occupy in financial ruin from the constant loss of food. Sometimes, suspision is drawn away because the human-looking side of the head doesn't eat much or at all. Hari-onna do not have second mouth, but they have prehensile hair that ends in needles. With these, they rip apart their victims to make them consumable to a human physiology.

Not to be confused with the Kuchisake-onna, who has only one mouth even if it's ripped open from ear to ear.

    Futakuchi-onna Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • GeGeGe no Kitarō: Futakuchi-onna is a member of the Yōkai Castle trio alongside Tantanbō and Kamaitachi, with whom she abducts children to convert into youkai. In the 1968 anime, her monster mouth is on the front asnd she has no human face. In this form, she goes by the name Ōguchi-onna. Futakuchi-onna is commonly depicted as having snake hair instead of just prehensile hair.
  • Onmyōji: Heian Tales: In Episode 2, Futakuchi-onna has to deal with social rejection because her second mouth has a will of its own and its will is to eat. She's a sweetie who doesn't ask for much and she's barely aware of her monster mouth and the large tongue that sprouts from it, so she doesn't understand why people keep their distance from her. To gain populairty, she resolves to go on a diet and she's doing well at it until one night her other mouth has had enough and breaks open the food storage to dine. Futakuchi-onna is confused when the next day she sees back to before she started dieting.
  • Yokai Doctor: A cute futakuchi-onna is Kotoko's first patient after becoming Gokukuji's assistant. It complains about toothache, which Kotoko is happy to treat until she realizes it's one of her monster teeth at the back that hurts. After treatment, the futakuchi-onna stays around and develops a crush on Gokukuji in Chapter 4. This is a problem because a futakuchi-onna's basic instinct is hunger and she will increasingly forego food to satisfy her appetite with her object of affection. This is regardless of any personal desire not to hurt anyone. Because her yokai nature reaches its peak during a full moon, Gokukuji devises a plan to stay alone with her and when her monster mouth takes over he'll switch out himself for a doll made of meat buns and a vial of his own blood. The plan is risky but successful, leaving Futakuchi-onna cured and Gokukuji alive.

Tabletop Games

  • Malifaux: Asami Tanaka used to manage a temple with her father, which came to an end when the temple was attacked. Her father perished and Asami was left dying. At this moment, she was contacted by Amanjaku with a deal for her to live. She accepted and was turned into a futakuchi-onna. In this form, her hair is a weapon with which to attack enemies and toss them into her monster mouth. The bodies aren't consumed, but turned into and spat out as oni that serve her and Amanjaku. It's also not hunger that drives her, but a desire for motherhood that was otherwise taken away by the injuries she sustained during the temple attack. This is why she can barely cope when any of her oni are killed and she doesn't enjoy her role as a Master of the Ten Thunders. Asami knows Amanjaku is untrustworthy, but so far hasn't made a move against him because he keeps making promises of further healing.

Video Games

  • Pokémon: Mawile is based on the futakuchi-onna. The Pokémon is of both the Steel and Fairy types and presents as a humanoid figure with a large leaf sprouting from its head. That leaf is a mouth the size of the rest of Mawile. Its strong form Mega Mawile even has two mouths.
  • Skullgirls: Filia and her Palette Swap Fukua are both women with a parasite that manifests as a large mouth on the back of their heads and replaces their hair. Filia's parasite is named Samson and there is an alternative timeline version in which he is the dominant identity and essentially wears Filia's body as a funny hat. Fukua's situation appears different in that the two identities function as one and are both Fukua.
  • TimeSplitters 2: Nikki and Jinki are twins, possibly the autosites of quadruplets, from an unspecified East Asian village. They were sold to and adopted by the Ringmistress when they were still babies and have been with the circus ever since. Nikki looks like a normal person until she turns around. From her back grows another woman with a monstrous face with a huge mouth. Her twin Jinki is the very opposite, being monstrous on the front and having a normal woman growing from her back. The parasites don't seem to have awareness.

Western Animation

  • Adventure Time: The fruit witches in "Dad's Dungeon" are a trio of witches that try to get travelers to eat one of their apples. People who do so are turned into giant apples that may retain flesh qualities because there's bones inside. As soon as a giant apple comes to be, the witches go into a frenzy and rip it apart, feeding the chunks to large-mouthed black critters that reside on the back of their heads. Whatever the relation between the witches and the critters, it appears the critters are in command. The witches at one point try to get Jake and Finn to eat an apple, but the duo forcefeeds it to one of the witches. It means nothing for the appetite of the remaining witches that their latest meal is one of their own.


Nyuudou: Youkai that look like Buddhist monks, commonly encountered on roads. They existed in many different varieties and were one of the favorite forms for youkai possessing Voluntary Shapeshifting powers to assume.

Mikoshi-nyuudou, Miage-nyuudou and Nyuudou-bouzu are short monks who would grow taller as one looked at him until either one's neck was completely exposed from looking up at the nyuudou, at which point it would cut off one's head, or one fell backwards from trying to see how tall the nyuudou became, at which point it would laugh at you and disappear. Hitotsume-nyuudou are, just as their name indicates, one-eyed, cyloptic nyuudou.

    Nyuudou Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Monster Musume: In the anime, one of the listed sub-species for Cyclops/Monoeye is One-Eyed Monk, what is basically just a Monoeye who converted into Buddhism.
  • In Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Hitotsume Nyuudou is a member of the Nura Clan and the chairman of the One-Eyed Demon Clan. Four hundred years ago, he was part of Nurarihyon's Hyakki Yakkou and as a result of Kokehime's rescue, she became attached to him.

Live-Action TV

  • Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: The Movie featured two Hitotsume Nyuudou brothers (referred in the movie by their alternate name Hitotsume Kozou) as secondary antagonists. Their boss and the film's main villain was another type of Nyuudou called Onnyudou.

Video Games

  • Nioh has Nyuudo as huge, hard-hitting enemies with round eyes and long, lolling tongues they can use to whip the player. They are something of a Mini-Boss. Their cyclopic one-eyed variants also appear, and they can be weakened by slashing their eye.
  • Touhou Project: Though only identified as a "Nyuudou"note , Unzan used to be the road-roaming, size-shifting and decapitating kind of nyuudou before Kumoi Ichirin defeated him. These days he acts much like a Guardian Entity to her and his Megaton Punches and Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs are a popular source of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure references within the fandom. It's also explained the reason why nyuudou grows taller when seen is because they're just really shy.


Wanyuudou: A burning wheel, frequently with a man's/monk's face serving as the hubcaps. This bizarre entity flies about at night in search of humans to slaughter on sight and kidnap their souls. Often lumped with the Buer from the Ars Goetia.

    Wanyuudou Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Berserk: Guts is attacked by burning wheel monsters at some point, but they're easily dispatched.
  • Hell Girl: One of Enma Ai's servants is a Wanyuudou (name's the same). He can turn into a whole cart to serve as Ai's transportation to her targets. His human form is an old man with a pretty sweet hat.
  • Nichijou: Mio sees that one has inexplicably replaced the bus that she is supposed to get on with Yuuko and Mai, which lets her know that the previous conversation she had with them about winning a manga contest was All Just a Dream.
  • One Piece, elite of the Animal Kingdom Pirates Black Maria wields a weapon which is best described as a Wanyuudo on a pole, complete with flames. In an odd case of Doing In the Wizard, the Wanyuudo is actually a Smile-user who ate the Pug Smile, turning his entire body safe for his big head in a little pug's body hidden by the head, and creates flames by running at super speed on the mobile wheel.
  • Toriko: The phantom beast Tonyuudo is based on this creature. Like most things in Toriko's universe, the Tonyuudo's tears are edible and made of exquisite soy milk.

Comic Books

Live-Action TV

Video Games

  • AdventureQuest Worlds: Soultaker, the boss of Yokai Isle's Bamboo Forest, is a wanyuudou.
  • Castlevania: Several of these appear under different names as enemies in the series.
  • Goemon's Great Adventure: Appear as common enemies in the Underworld.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade: Wanyudo is Momohime's second boss.
  • Mystical Fighter: The boss of Stage 3 is a wanyuudou.
  • Nioh has the Wanyuudo as fire-elemental monsters whose deformed heads seemingly grow out of the hub like tumors. They can breath fire as they roll.
  • Ōkami features fire, ice, electric, and wind wheels each with a different sensory organ on them, an eye, lips, ear, and nose respectively. The nose is unintuitively called the Earth Nose.

Inugami and Okami: Dog and wolf gods. Usually malevolent, and often found serving as Familiars.

The okuri-inu and okuri-okami tend more towards Noble Wolf, following travellers and protecting them from harm. However, they have a tendency to attack people who mistreat or offend them... or sometimes just those who show too much weakness; as a result, "okuri-okami" has become an idiom referring to stalkers and Wolves in Sheep's Clothing.

    Inugami and Okami Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Amatsuki: Kuchiha is possessed by a wolf-like inugami, rumoured to be the last of her kind.
  • Engaged to the Unidentified involves the relationship between between two teenage girls and a family of inugami.
  • Gintama: Sadaharu is implied to be one. Considering that he's a bull-sized white chihuahua with the strength of a bear and his former owners were a couple of miko, this is plausible.
  • Inugami is a manga series by Masaya Hokazono about a boy who finds an inugami. His appearances are those of an extinct Japanese wolf, but he can grow spikes from his back to fight.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Inuyasha is a half dog-youkai. Inuyasha's father, stepmother, and half-brother Sesshoumaru are full dog-youkai. However, the story distinguishes between what Inuyasha's family is and "inugami" when villagers mistake Inuyasha for one and the gang are confused the mistake could have happened. This is because in Japanese lore "inugami" are a very specific type of sorcerer whose power comes from a dog they've killed and imbued on their behalf. The logical reason for how they made the mistake is because of Kagome's magically reinforced control over Inuyasha, which obviously looks similar to an inugami bond to an outsider.
    • The series also has a tribe of wolf youkai under the leadership of Kouga. The youkai have power over wolves and are wolves themselves that can transform into human form.
  • Kekkaishi has Madarao, Hakubi, and Kouya, who in their sealed forms resemble ghostly dogs, but when unsealed become massive spectral wolves.
  • In Natsume's Book of Friends, Madara/Nyanko-sensei's larger youkai form.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Kotaro Inugami is half dog-youkai shapeshifter partly based on Inuyasha. His default form has dog ears and tails, however he can also take on a Beast Man form, a dog form and a wolf form.
  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Inugami-gyoubu Tamazuki often appears as a human with of habit of panting with his tongue hanging out. His real form is that of a giant dog.
  • One Piece: the Wano arc reveals the existance of the mythical Zoan Dog Dog model Ookuchi-no-Makami, which allows the user to transform in a divine wolf (named after a real but obscure Japanese deity) able to breathe frost and considered the guardian God of Wano. Kaidou got his hands on the fruit, which however was eaten by Yamato.
  • Ushio and Tora: the manga-only monster "Gedo" is revered as a protector deity in a small community in Shikoku and manifests as a trio of monstrous white hounds which can split when wounded and can destroy monsters by devouring them. Gedo must rest in special pretty boxes made of rare materials. Stray Gedo are more akin to Hellhound monstrosities and feed on negative emotions.
  • X/1999: Yuzuriha Nekoi (surname is deliberately misleading) has a dog spirit Inuki protecting her.
  • Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Fu has a Fairy Companion named Inugami. He grants her a sword.

Films — Live-Action

  • Inugami is a Japanese film about Akira, a teacher that falls for Miki, a papermaker. Miki's family is said to be under the curse of the inugami.

Literature

  • Inukami! is a Japanese Light Novel series written by Mamizu Arisawa. Instead of the term "inugami" which is mostly associated with malevolent dog spirits, it uses the word "inukami" to describe a type of benevolent dog spirit. Inukami! revolves around Keita Kawahira, a descendant of a Inukami-tamer clan and a inukami named Yōko, who later is revealed to actually be a kitsune.

Video Games

  • ''Kuon: Utsuki's unique summon Saiga takes the form of a medium-sized white wolf with bristled fur and paper talismans covering parts of his body. It's a loyal creature and easily the strongest summon in game, except for Zenki and Goki in the Kuon chapter.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade: Inugami play a background role. Kongiku and Yuzuruha are kitsune, with Yuzuruha trying to stop the release of the singular Inugami sealed in the Kuzuryu blade. as a Historical Villain Upgrade from his established love of dogs, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi is corrupted and eventually highjacked by Inugami.
  • Nioh 2 has the starting spirit Makami, a fiery wolf associated with the volcano god and named after the divine wolf Ookuchi-no-Makami, and the Guardian Spirit of Maeda Toshiie, the Okuri Inu, a lantern-carrying dog Youkai who's said to stalk his victims in the mountains and devour them once they're desperate enough.
  • Ōkami: Amaterasu and her son Chibiterasu from Ōkamiden are wolf-like mythical creatures living in a world inspired by Japanese Mythology, and the names of their games make it fairly clear what creatures the games' makers had in mind.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Inugami appear in some games, and sometimes they can even grow into their more powerful Makami counterparts.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: Inugami is a rare Yo-Kai in the series, named "Frostail" in English.

Visual Novels

  • Dancing Blade: Katte ni Momotenshi!: Oinu is a dog-youkai in the form of a young human girl. The only dog-like physical features she has are her ears, which are hidden in her hair and only seldom pop up. She's a benevolent, meek and loyal girl who loves dog-related items, and in Tears of Eden, the power-amplifying artefact she gets is a dog collar that belonged to a legendary and almighty demon dog. The intro movie of the same game also hints that she has a giant, grey-coated dog true form.

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ushi_oni.jpg
Ushi-Oni or Gyuuki: Meaning "bull fiend", this is a sort of counterpart to the minotaur. In some stories it's a demonic-looking ox with many tails and claws, in others a sort of horned Giant Spider, and in others still a wisp of fire. It's frequently seen with a half-women, half-snake youkai called Nure-onna, and reputed to be mates with her.

    Ushi-Oni Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Berserk: Nosferatu Zodd's Apostle form is a winged minotaur with a tiger-like face and paws.
  • Gantz: One Ushi-Oni-like Kaiju has a bovine upper body and spider-like lower half.
  • As expected, GeGeGe no Kitarō has had the title character encounter several of these. One story has a Ushi-Oni that's really a transformed fisherman, and when Kitaro defeats the beast, he's temporarily cursed by the Ushi-Oni's spirit before returning to normal. As a nod to the wisp variant, in the 2018 version the real form of the monster is a gaseous mass of luminescent fire.
  • Inuyasha: Gyuu Oh is a half-demon called Izumo who turns into a wicked minotaur-like monster after the sunset. As a result he's gone crazy, but unlike the typical stereotype he's a Genius Bruiser.
  • Naruto: The Eight-Tailed Beast is a giant bull-like demon with four horns and eight Combat Tentacles in lieu of tails.His name is, ironically enough, Gyuuki
  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Gyuki is implied to be a Ushi-Oni. Heck, his name is the alternate character reading of Ushi Oni.
  • Ranma ½: Pantyhose Taro's monster form can be associated to the Ushi Oni.
  • Ushio and Tora: one of the Monstrum captured by H.A.M.M.R. resembles an Ushi Oni, being a monster with a bovine head, massive horns and a series of chitinous spider legs emerging from under a round black body.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has some Ushi Oni-inspired cards. One of them is a demonic bull with a spider body, and the other one is a fiendish minotaur with four tentacles.
  • Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Yuna's Fairy Companion Gyuki is based on the ushi-oni. He's a cute pink steer that allows Yuna to use her "Hero Punch" attack.

Literature

Live-Action TV

Video Games

  • Digimon: Dokugumon is an enormous, monstrous spider whose face is entirely concealed by a bull-horned helmet.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Ushi-Gozen is referenced in regards to Minamoto-no-Raikou, as there are legends of the youkai being the younger brother of Minamoto-no-Yorimitsu. The twist being that Raikou is Ushi-Gozen, who exists as a split personality for her that favours her demonic heritage.
  • Goemon's Great Adventure: Ushi-Onis appears exclusive at night and can take quite the beating before going down.
  • Nioh 2: Gyuuki is fought as a boss halfway through the game, and is a huge boss resembling the traditional depiction but with a more bovine-like body (the spider legs are located in the same position as an actual bull's and are tipped with hooves), a tail and the ability to grow feathery wings from the top of his back to fly over the arena and bodyslam anything beneath him.
  • Oira Jajamaru Sekai Daibouken: An Ushi-oni serves as the first boss. Like most enemies, he is completely replaced in the localized Maru's Mission, in this case with a Faceless Eye named Eyeclop.
  • Ōkami: The Bull Chargers can be best described as something between a bull, a centaur, and a Giant Spider.
  • Urumi Ushizaki from Touhou Project is an ushi-oni. While her appearance is that of a cow, she seems to have aspects from the nure-onna, prominently her trademark stone baby, which she used to use to drown people. Since killing human villagers became forbidden in Gensokyo, nowadays she runs a fishing business in the Sanzu river, fishing up extinct fish.
  • Gyuki from Warriors Orochi is one, though he looks more like a boar demon than a bull. He's a Giant Mook type encountered as an officer among Orochi's forces alongside the Serpent Demons and the Dodomeki.
  • Yo-Kai Watch has a kudan named Predictabull. He is a benevolent fortune-teller who can only tell the weather.

Web Original

  • Monster Girl Encyclopedia: Ushi-Oni are a subspecies of the Spider-Girls family native to Zipangu, and appear as buxom tarantula girls with cowgirl-like horns. They are the most primal and savage of the spider-girls in the setting so far, a primitive race who tend to simply snatch, grab and rape men they find attractive. They are renowned for their strength, and feared for their blood, which is so heavily laced with demonic energy that it will instantly transform humans exposed to it into incubi or new ushi-oni, depending on their gender.


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/suushi_nuppeppo.jpg

Nuppeppō: A fleshy blob creature that lumbers around in deserted places, mainly temples and graveyards. They have a smell comparable to that of rotting flesh, leading some to believe they are made of corpses. In spite of this, nuppeppo are generally peaceful creatures.

    Nuppeppo Examples 

Live-Action TV

Video Games

  • Goemon's Great Adventure: Nuppeppo appears in the Mafu Island. True to what the blurb states, they won't try to attack you on the spot unless you attack them first, causing them to go berserk.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade: Nuppeppo are enemies resembling purple blob creatures with eyes. They mainly try to throw pieces of themselves at you, but otherwise stand in place to allow you to whack on them.
  • Pokémon: Gulpin and Swalot resemble this creature, being voracious ambulatory stomachs that emit repulsive gases while digesting their food.
  • Yume Nikki has two examples:
    • The Mouth Monsters are a trio of brown blobs with large mouths and varying hairstyles. Each of them are seen near blood stains, and are the only NPCs in their respective areas.note  One of them even has poop on their head, so at least that one doesn't smell good.
    • Uboa is a rare malicious example, as it traps Madotsuki and takes her to an inescapable world. In the manga, it even assaults her and steals her effects.
  • Yo-Kai Watch:
    • Everfore ("Oiran" in Japan) is related to the nuppeppo yokai but is not directly based on it. She is the evolved form of Grumples after fusing her with Ageless Powder. She goes from a wrinkly old woman to a beautiful, young looking one. It's implied that the Ageless Powder is a powdered form of nuppeppo.
    • Dismarelda ("Don'yorinu" in Japan) seems to be loosely based off of nuppeppo. She is a huge purple blob that puts people in a bad mood.
    • A proper Nuppepo is introduced in Yo-kai Watch 4.


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/umibozu.jpg
Umibozu: A shadowy, humanoid giant that rises from the sea and sinks ships. Its name means "sea monk" (not to be confused with the European sea monk) or "sea baldy". Umibozu often demand a barrel which they use to fill their target ship with water; to avoid this danger, the umibozu must be given a barrel with a missing bottom. They physically appear as gray or black giants with bald heads and no facial features save for a pair of eyes. Sometimes translated as sea bonze or called "Uminyuudo".

    Umibozu Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Mononoke: The series plays with the meaning of the term. While seeking passage on a ferry, the medicine seller meets a literal human monk, whose guilt over his village's human sacrifice to the ocean has corrupted him into a mononoke. At one point the monk casts a giant shadow with visible eyes, but this is the closest the series comes to showing a traditional umibozu.
  • One Piece: At the end of the Thriller Bark arc, a huge shadow with glowing red eyes appears within the fog of the Florian Triangle. Its true nature or even shape are never revealed, but it considerably dwarfs Thriller Bark, an island-sized pirate ship, in size. During the Fishmen Island arc they actually mistake the giant fishman Wadatsumi for a Uminyudo, a variation of the Umibozu.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • Pathfinder: Sea bonzes are colossal undead creatures created from maritime disasters — typically, a sea bonze is animated by the linger fear, pain and despair of entire crews who died at sea. They resemble limbless, featureless humanoids with rubbery black skin and glowing eyes, and exist only to stalk and destroy ships. They show no mercy to those who try to fight back with brawn or weapons, but have an odd respect for those who can outwit them and are sometimes talked out of their attacks thanks to the efforts of fast-talking crew members.

Toys

  • Monster in My Pocket: Umi Bozu — later rebranded as Giant Sea Phantom — is Monster #118. It resembles a large, bald humanoid with serpentine limbs, and its description summarizes its mythical behavior before comparing its habit of drowning people to the undine and its appearance to the bishop fish.

Video Games

  • Goemon's Great Adventure: An Umi Bozu shops up as a background stalker in the Underground Castle where it tries you squash you flat with his giant metal club. It also appears along with Kabuki 64 in his boss fight.
  • Monster Hunter: Rise: The rare Endemic Life Monksnail is based on Umibozu, with it being a gigantic sea snail who surfaces during the night, with its eyeball-like glowing spots and colossal silhouette being dreaded by every sailor in the region.
  • Nioh features the Umibozu as a gargantuan blob made of seawater with a giant shining core made of Amrita, which initially attacks William's ship as he set sails from Kyushu and is later fought as the boss of a seaside, half-submerged temple. It can spawn lesser Umibozu, attack by spitting flotsam but is vulnerable to fire.
  • Nioh 2: in the first DLC, the boss of the first mission is the Uminyudo, a monster resembling the Umibozu with an alternate smaller humanoid form, resembling a monk-like figure composed of water tentacles with a fiery humanoid visage, and is actually the Youkai form of Taira no Kiyomori.
  • The Ocean Hunter: Umibozu, one of the minibosses, is a gigantic, dark blue octopus whose rounded mantle somewhat resembles a man's shaven head.
  • Onmyōji: In a play on "sea monk", umibouzu are Fish People in priest clothes. They have an undeserved bad reputation, because they try to protect people but people only listen when they threaten them. Their attacks are water-based and can both harm enemies and heal allies.
  • Yo Kai Watch: Swosh — Umi-bōzu in Japanese — is a Water-attribute Yokai resembling a large mobile lump of soil, with rounded counters and only a pair of eyes for a face.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade: Umibozu is an optional encounter while riding the fishing boat, appearing as a gigantic octopus. It's only ever referred to as a sea monster, but you can hear "umibozu" in the fisherman's speech.


Nurarihyon are youkai that would like humans if only their head didn't protrude so far behind them. Sometimes it's a spherical head, other times the protusion consists of multiple bumps. They're always male and aristocratic, and in modern day are viewed as commanders of other youkai. In that regard, theirs is comparable to the status assigned to vampires in Western works. Nurarihyon carry one or even two swords with them to signal their importance. "Nurari" means "slippery" and "hyon" combines the meanings of "floating on the surface" and "(dried) gourd".

    Nurarihyon Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • "Honored Ancestors": A reimagined nurarihyon is the whole of Makita's family. Each child of the family line dons the scalp of their parent once they pass the bucket, resulting in a long line of scalps for the present generation. Each scalp retains the self of the original owner, creating a particularly wretched hivemind.
  • Gantz: A nurarihyon is a commander of the youkai-alien troops. His peers are a tengu and an inugami.
  • GeGeGe no Kitarō: Nurarihyon is an arch-enemy of Kitaro and on occasion has raised an army against him.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Nurari is a nurarihyon, one of the most powerful youkai in existence. He presents himself as bus driver who's never seen without a cigar and who always just knows what's going on. He takes on a protective role towards Tsukune Aono and makes sure the boy achieves greatness.
  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Protagonist Rikuo Nura is a quarter nurarihyon and heir of the leader of the Nura Clan. Due to his mixed heritage, he's a human by day and a nurarihyon by night, with his nurarihyon form being reasonably handsome as his protruding head is hidden beneath Anime Hair. Rikuo possesses power over the perception of others, allowing him to become functionally invisible or appear where he isn't.

Video Games

  • Genjyu Monogatari 2: Nurarihyon is the owner of a small circus and takes in any creature that has nowhere else to go but is willing to perform. For a nurarihyon, he is remarkably congenial, but there is an air that leaves others intimidated. Nurarihyon has a relatively small head lacks sword, but he's richly dressed and from the mist surrounding him it seems he has dimensional powers. He's a Class SS creature of the ma type and their signature item is the Trunk holding the Mirage of Reality.

Webcomics

  • Bakejo! Youkai Jogakuen e Youkoso: A nurarihyon is the principal of Bakejo.


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/muramasademonblade_aobozuboss.png
Aobōzu means "blue monk" and is the name for a youkai that looks like a monk, often with blue skin and other times dressed in blue. As with the aonyōbō, he color is theorized to signify inexperience, akin to the use of green in the West — traditionally, "ao" even refers to both blue and green. Aobōzu are commonly depicted with only one eye, a trait not inherent to them but copied from the mehitotsubō and the hitotsume-nyūdō.

    Aobozu Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • GeGeGe no Kitarō: Aobozu is a human-like youkai with a horn, blue hair, and a magic third eye that's usually kept closed. He's also dressed in blue and is a cherished friend of Kitaro.
  • Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Aobozu is a small creature hidden inside a white egg with a morning glory print. It is a spirit owned by Mimori Tougou.

Urban Legends

  • In the early 20th century, aobozu became part of the school ghost stories. He's a youkai that lurks around bathrooms and sometimes within the drain. Anyone visiting the bathroom will be met with his staring head sticking out.

Video Games

  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade: The Blue Monk is the first boss fought by Momohime-Jinkuro. He holds an unspecified grudge against Jinkuro, revenge for which he's willing to condemn his soul. Despite being defeated, the Blue Monk scores a victory in that he served as a distraction for the other monks to steal Momohime's soul.
  • Onmyōji: Aobouzu are human-looking monks dressed in blue and white, which becomes red, black, and green if awakened. He combats with seals that can cure allies and harm enemies and his quotes are all about Buddhist philosophical considerations.
  • Onigiri: Aobozu are one-eyed and blue skinned youkai priests. Depending on the encounter, it is a friendly youkai or a fiendish one. It is encountered in the Shimmering Forest Depth and the Assault! Dragon Ark Tenshou dungeons and, true to its human past, drops sutra scrolls it still carries with it.


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/anime_varioussazaeoni.png
A shell game with a valuable ball.note 
Sazaeoni means "turban shell spirit" and refers to a humanoid turban shell. The usual way this obake comes about is when a regular turban shell reaches 30 years of age, but there's also folklore claiming that sazaeoni are human women drowned because of their libidinous lifestyle. Sazaeoni may be perfectly harmless, be testicle thieves, or discreetly roam the coast for a human to dine on.

Compare umidebito and shussebora, as well as the princess from the Javanese fairy tale Keong Emas.

    Sazaeoni Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Ga-Rei: A sazaeoni is a sesshouseki-powered monster dealt with in Chapter 13. It is an enormous humanoid head from which tentacles emerge. This sazaeoni is connected to two shells, which like horns are located on its head. It takes up residence in a sunken warship and raises it to the surface. To make matters worse, the corpses and souls of people who died in a shipwreck are drawn to it and protect it. It takes a lot of pure rage for Kensuke to manage to land a killing hit and retrieve the sesshouseki.
  • GeGeGe no Kitarō: The sazae-oni is one of Kitaro's most dangerous enemies, best known for its attempt to eat him. The sazae-oni consists of a blobular body with shell decoration and long hair covering the eyes, if there are eyes at all on its face. This, blobular body, however, is the "shell" of the true sazae-oni, which is the tongue with an eye on the tip that peeks out from between the lips. Only this part of the sazae-oni is susceptible to harm.
  • Raise Kamika: En route to the Palace of the Dragon King, the protagonists run into a small group of sazae-oni. They're gigantic octopi which head is hidden inside a turban shell. One of them tries to eat Kamika, but because she's wearing an armored diving suit, she escapes. Loki subsequently destroys the sazaeoni to save her.
  • Sailor Moon S: The Daimon U-Ndoukai is a blue-skinned athlete with a shell on her back. In episode 28, she is summoned to extract the Pure Heart Crystal of Shun Hayase. She succeeds, but is nearly obliterated by Hotaru. A quick retreat into her shell saves her, yet in there she's an easy target for Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi-Moon.

Comic Books

Live-Action TV

  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Turbanshell is a crustacean humanoid with a turban shell for pants and a turban shell-themed staff. He is created in "Green No More" from an odd shell Kimberley had found earlier at the lake. Turbanshell is very powerful, but impulsive. When it's discovered his only weakness is to be heated on the inside and cooled on the outside, Tommy hides among some melons to get eaten by Turbanshell and shoot him from the inside. Outside, Zack grabs a water hose to take care of the cooling part. This isn't enough to end the creature, but makes it possible for the Thunder Megazord to deal the finishing blow.
  • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger: Marigomori is an armadillo-like ayakashi whose shell surrounds his back and shoulders. He is summoned in Episode 16 and his shell makes it difficult for the Shikengers to hurt him until they crack it with heat and water. Marigomori is finished off with the Tora Drill Strike.

Tabletop Games

  • Mitos y Leyendas: Sazae Oni is one of the cards in the Sol Naciente expansion. She looks like a hermit crab which face is a blue-skinned female humanoid with an octopus as hair. She is classified as an oni and her design references the fairy tale.

Video Games

  • Pokémon: Slowpoke's evolutions (and through it Cloyster's evolutions) are based on the sazae-oni and explore the formation variation of the obake. Default Slowbro has a shell on its tail. Galarian Slowbro has a shell on its arm. Mega Slowbro is almost fully enclosed by the shell. Default Slowking wears the shell like a hat and Galarian Slowking wears it as a helmet. It can be argued that slowpoke and cloyster represent the two origins of sazae-oni assigned to it in folklore, with slowpoke corresponding to the drowned women and cloyster corresponding to the 30-year old turban shells.
  • Digimon: Shellmon and its subspecies Mori Shellmon have the appearance of a hermit crab if the crab gets replaced by a dinosaur-like creature with anemone hair. They inhabit the Net Ocean, and attack either physically or with water.
  • Kakuriyo no Mon: Sazae-oni are green imps with turban shells for hats. They are encountered at Yamabushi Pass and drop spirit pearls.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade: Shelled Devils are encountered during the fishing minigame. They swing their arms around to do damage, but even if they're parried they still will steal a fish if they collide with the protagonist.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: The Doyagari are yo-kai that belong to the slippery tribe. They are crab-like humanoids who wear shells on their heads and they are natives of Karakuri Island.


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/anime_variousamanojaku.png
"Hey, Jaki, what are you rebelling against?"
"What've you got?"note 
Amanojaku, also known as amanjaku and jaki and to a small extent akki, are a type of oni distinguished by, on one hand, their strength and the intensity of their vileness, and on the other hand, their contrary and manipulative nature. They strive to make people act in opposition of what is right, of order, of the community and/or of themselves and accomplish this with mind-reading, possession, voice impersonation, and regular impersonation which can be done with magic but also by stealing and dressing up in a human's largest organ if they're so inclined.

In modern depictions, the contrariness amanojaku stand for may translate to an obsession with opposition to the point of predictability akin to a Mirror Monster. This can be used against them. For instance, if one is hounded by an amanojaku one should tell them how happy they are with the company and the amanojaku is bound to leave. Mental discipline might be required if the amanojaku is a mind-reader or takes possession of people. In youkai-centric works, amanojaku are usually prey to internal contrariness. Such amanojaku can not act with consistency or in accordance with (social) expectation.

A noteworthy manifestation of their contrariness is sex and/or gender muddling. Someone, whether the amanojaku themself or the person that has to deal with them, changes sex, gender-presents ambiguously, crossdresses, and so on. Both this and the aforementioned skin-stealing derive from the amanojaku in the Fairy Tale Urikohime and the Amanojaku. In it, an amanojaku, which is more often than not portrayed as male, tricks and replaces an innocent maiden. Sometimes this is done by stealing her clothes, other times she's murdered for her skin. Additionally, Urikohime and the Amanojaku is a "Just So" Story because the amanojaku's spilled blood is given as the reason certain plants have red roots. Other folkloric tales about amanojaku also are Just So Stories, but about rock formations. Sometimes the amanojaku themself is responsible for them, other times they're the remnants of another person's abandoned labor after the amanojaku tricked them into thinking morning had come by impersonating a rooster.

Amanojaku have a history in both Shinto and Japanese Buddhism and several possible origins that could be all true. The main theory is that they are a derivation of the goddess Amenosagume. She's mentioned in passing in the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki which leaves the modern era with only two facts: she owns a stone boat and she was a companion of Earth's ruler Amewakahiko. When the other gods sent a pheasant to contact him, Amenosagume saw it as a bad omen and advised Amewakahiko to shoot it, which by the nature of his weapon or the gods' temper caused the death of the lord himself. Another theory takes a look at the goddess Amanozako mentioned in the Kujiki, who is an obnoxious goddess vomited up by Susanoo. The "zako" portion of her name means "opposing all". At least in modern day, Amanozako is regarded as the ancestor of all the youkai like her, which includes the amanojaku and the tengu. On the Buddhist side of things, amanojaku have been incorporated as symbols of wickedness. Whenever a statue depicts Bishamonten or the other Heavenly Kings stepping on a monstrous creature, that's an amanojaku they've defeated. The face on Bishamonten's armor is also regarded as an amanojaku. It's assumed this role is due to syncretism with the early Buddhist interpretation of the yaksha.

As it goes with folklore, there isn't a solid distinction between amanojaku and other oni. "Amanojaku" means "heavenly evil 'oni'" and the synonym "jaki" is "amanojaku" minus the "ama no", so "evil 'oni'". Another synonym for "jaki" is "akki", which is "wicked 'oni'". All three terms denote the oni trampled by the Four Heavenly Kings, while "amanojaku" leans towards Amenosagume, Amanozako, and contrariness, and while "jaki" leans towards power and evil. A specific example of the latter are Tentōki and Ryūtōki, two oni who were defeated by the Four Heavenly Kings and converted to Buddhism. They now serve as lantern-carrying niō, with the lanterns symbolizing Buddha and his teachings. The duo is famously visualized by a set of 13th Century wooden statues by Kōben. Tentōki is the more lively posed of the two. He's red, has two horns, three eyes, and represents the agyō. He holds the lantern in his left hand. Ryūtōki is a stately figure but for the dragon coiling around his neck. He holds its tail with the right hand while the left one holds the other wrist. He has spiky eyebrows, his color is green, and he represents the ungyō.

Another duo which more ambiguously involves jaki are at the base of statues of Tobatsu Bishamonten. These depict him being held up by the goddess Jiten while she is flanked by two members of the Ten Rakshasis: Niranba and Biranba. Unlike jaki, they aren't being trampled and appear as a retinue.

    Amanojaku Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Dororo: In the anime-original episode 14, Dororo is tricked into freeing three amanojaku who are stuck as temple statues by overturning the warrior gods stepping on them. The amanojaku are human-like with a notable aberration each: one has a horn, another a tail, and the third wings. They cause chaos through mischief, but help out when they accidentally free a carnivorous and truly evil youkai. Nonetheless, Hyakkimaru cuts off their horn, tail, and wings to return them to their places at the bases of statues.
  • Dororo (2019): In episode 19, an amanojaku is freed from the war god temple statue that served as his prison. He is about half the size of a human, has red skin, and has a tall head from which several stumps protrude. He makes the entire village act and speak opposite of what they intend, which almost gets Hyakkimaru to abandon his quest and kill Dororo when the amanojaku gets a hold of him too. Munetsuna timely sneaks up on the youkai and knocks him out. Afterwards, he's sealed back on the statue's base.
  • Gantz: Tentōki and Ryūtōki are among the Buddhist Temple Aliens being slaughtered in Chapter 68.
  • GeGeGe no Kitarō: Amanojaku and jaki are treated as separate youkai starting with the 2007 anime iteration.
    • Amanojaku is a recurring enemy of Kitaro in all adaptations. He is usually defeated by having a boulder dropped on him or a statue placed on top of him. In the 1996 anime, a reference is made to Urikohime and the Amanojaku when Amanojaku abducts a girl named Yurika to eat her.
    • Jaki are slug-like youkai in Episode 69 of the fifth series. They are under control of Anagura-Nyūdō and stick to people to feed on their motivation. They cannot be removed, but they'll let go voluntarily if someone with more motivation is nearby to feast on them.
  • Ghost Stories: Amanojaku is the main youkai of the series. He encounters the protagonists in the old school building at a time when he's harmless. He gains power from human fear, though, and with five specimen running around it's easy to get the emotional energy to become a giant monster quite capable of killing them. The protagonists attempt a ritual to seal Amanojaku inside the old camphor tree behind the school, but because it's been chopped down the ritual instead traps the youkai inside Kaya. With no immediate solution from either party, Amanojaku stays with the children as a familiar and comes to care for them. During the final battle against Ohma, he manages to free himself from the feline body and chooses to fight his fellow youkai to buy the children time to gather the spiritual energy needed to seal Ohma. It's implied that due to the ritual Amanojaku gets sealed in another camphor tree, but he's okay with that.
  • Hanada Shounen Shi: In episodes 13 & 14, Ichiro is forced by an amanojaku to travel 13 years into the past to prevent a mistake. Back then, the amanojaku made a man drunk on the day he was supposed to conceive his child. The delay affected the child's gender from girl to boy and for this grave intrusion on the child's destiny the amanojaku became locked inside him. With trial & error, the winning tactic is to convince the past-amanojaku that he should keep the man from going home, which prompts him to send the man home, and then banish the amanojaku with a big hug because his kind doesn't like love. Ichiro is pulled back to the present when he succeeds, but instead of thanking him the amanojaku insists Ichiro owes him for taking so long.
  • Hell Teacher Nube: Nube's class receives a transfer student named Yuka in Chapter 88. Yuka is androgynous and her behavior leaves much to be desired. Whenever someone asks for something, she pulls an Exact Words. Nube suspects she carries an amanojaku with her and corners Yuka to pull the youkai out. Yuka insists that he's just holding a doll and that she's always been like this, after which she doubles down on her behavior. It all comes to a head when she witnesses Nube banish a jibakurei and has to acknowledge obake exists. From then on, she does her best to get along with her classmates. Nube reflects on this good ending, because that amanojaku he pulled from her really just was a doll and Yuka's social problems were purely psychological.
  • Hozuki's Coolheadedness: After the incident with the pheasant, the goddess Amenosagume became the very same Amanojaku that went on to kill Urikohime. As a goddess, she can't be punished in Hell, but she can be banished there. Hozuki assigned her to Amanojaku's Den, the area for people who were contrary or incited others to be so, as the worst overseer the sinners can encounter. In modern day, Amanojaku has perfected her obnoxious nature by means of social media and especially likes flaming. By her own request, Urikohime also is an employee in Amanojaku's Den so she may punish the people who behave like her killer. She invites Rurio over because she feels a kinship between them: not only is Rurio a companion of her peer Momotarō, he's also a divine pheasant like the one killed through Amenosagume's machinations. Rurio goes along with it and to Urikohime's delight violently headbutts Amanojaku for irritating him.
  • Naruto: One of the Wood Release attacks is the Wood Human Technique. This generates a huge wooden oni with a dragon wrapped around him in resemblance of Ryūtōki. Wood Human Technique is in some capacity a stronger form of Wood Dragon Technique, which only summons the wooden dragon. The oni is capable of normal combat, but can also spawn more dragons to sic at the opponent.
  • Noramimi: In Chapter 24 and Episode 4, an old acquiantance of Noramimi drops by named Cinnamon. She's a fellow oni, but unlike him she's an amanojaku. She looks like a human with horn and whiskers and she's very tiresome because she can't ever make up her mind or do what she proclaims she'll be doing. She's also a bit of a trickster and aims to make is big as a stand-up comedian.
  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: One of the inhabitants of Tōno Village is an amanojaku named Awashima. He has a male form by day and a female one by night, which he's not too fond of because he considers himself male at all times.
  • Sailor Moon R: In episode 11, Ail summons a Cardian named Amanju. Despite that Cardians cannot disobey him, this one always does something other than what he orders her to do, like draining ducks when he tells her to drain humans. After causing some uncoordinated ruckus, she's defeated by the Sailor Senshi and Ail just never figures out why she supposedly didn't obey him.
  • Saint Seiya: Jaki is a very oni-looking giant of a man who on orders of the Pope attacks Eagle Marin. When he fails to squash her by throwing a boulder, they grapple. Just as Jaki is about crush her to death, Eagle Marin causes the both of them to tumble off a cliff. She shows up later, while Jaki seems to have died from the fall.
  • Takeo-chan Bukkairoku: An amanojaku by the name Wakahiko inhabits a shrine fronted by a statue of Bishamonten trampling an amanojaku. There's some implication the youkai and the statue are the same being because Wakahiko is dressed as a guardian himself and hates Bishamon. Years ago, he overheard a group of people talking about the dead cherry tree next to the statue and as a prank made it bloom in winter. Among the group was a little girl named Uriko, who was so delighted that Wakahiko repeated his prank every winter. However, because youkai can only exist through grudges and the prank evolved into a gift, Wakahiko had to stop to save himself. Three years later, Uriko intends to marry at the shrine and is confident the tree will bloom for her as it's always done in the past. Takeo, unaware of Wakahiko's self-preservation, tricks the amanojaku by ordering it to do nothing at the wedding. She's told the truth the next day and begs Wakahiko to leave the tree alone, forgetting for a moment that an amanojaku will always do the opposite. Content, Wakahiko accepts that this is his end and gifts Uriko a blooming cherry tree for her wedding day.
  • Yokai Doctor: An amanojaku child travels to Earth by lightning bolt to be treated by Gokukuji in Chapter 2. Kotoko offers to nurse the cute little thing to health, but despite all her efforts like foregoing sleep to play sugoroku and bearing the amanojaku's pranks, the amanojaku only ever tells her she sucks and that everyone hates her. Kotoko snaps, assures them the feeling is mutual and orders them to buzz off. The amanojaku does, but returns with Gokukuji, who belatedly explains to Kotoko that amanojaku speak in reverse truth. Realizing the child's affection for her, Kotoko happily exclaims that she "hates" them.
  • YuYu Hakusho: In Chapter 18 (Episode 5), Jyaki is a small blu eoni that enters Sakamoto's mouth and possesses him, which is spiritually visible from the horns the young man grows on his head. Jyaki worsens Sakamoto's behavior as a gang leader until Yusuke banishes and apprehends them. As a wanted criminal, the creature is handed over to Botan and Koenma.

Fairy Tales

  • Amanojaku no Kasaneiwa: There's an area on Mount Futakami in Okayama that is littered with boulders. This area is called Amanojaku no Kasaneiwa or The Amanojaku's Pile of Rocks. The legend goes that an amanojaku wanted to reach the heavens, either to be there or to take the stars for themself. They gathered many rocks and arranged them into a tower, but the tower toppled and the rocks were left as they are today.
  • Hashiguiiwa: There's a series of rocks going out into the sea in Wakayama called Hashiguiiwa or The Bridge Pillar Rocks, named so because they look like the abandoned pillars of a bridge that was never finished. There's a legend attached to it that explains that the Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi made a bet with an amanojaku that he could build a bridge from Kushimoto to Oshima in one night. A tall order, but it did seem to the amanojaku that Kobo Daishi was going to win. To stop him, the amanojaku imitated a rooster's call. Kobo Daishi believed that the morning had come and therefore gave up, leaving the bridge forever unfinished.
  • Otohime: The chaotic daughter of Emperor Tenji, Otohime, gets cast into the sea at Shibushi in Kagoshima for her mischief. So, she raises Biro Island overnight and goes to live there. After a while, either she wants to return to shore or visit the deity living on Gongen Island just off the coast, so she makes a deal with another deity that she'll be allowed her path if she can finish building one before morning. An amanojaku makes a rooster crow early, tricking Otohime into giving up and living in loneliness on Biro Island. At low tide, the remains of the path are still visible.
  • Urikohime and the Amanojaku: Urikohime's parents leave her alone at home and warn her not to open the door for anyone in their absence. Their warning is no match for the amanojaku's treachery and once inside they force Urikohime out of her clothes. Depending on the version, they might also kill her, don her skin and clothes, and hide the body by eating it. If not, then they tie her up outside in a persimmon tree and make do with the clothes as disguise. The amanojaku convinces Urikohime's parents at first that they're their beloved child, but a bird or Urikohime herself warns them of the deceit. The amanojaku is slain and their spilled blood is why the roots of the millet are red.

Films — Animated

  • Legend of the Millennium Dragon: Among the oni taking up arms against Genun's army is Amanojaku, whose unmasked form is a little boy.

Films — Live-Action

  • Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura: The Big Bad Tentōki is modeled after the folkloric one, but is different in several ways. Firstly, he's a bad guy. Secondly, the "tō" in his name doesn't use the kanji for "lantern" but for "boss". And thirdly, he can change into a quadrupedal dragon-like creature. He wishes to marry Akiko and has been going after several of her incarnations, but she always ends up with Masakazu. This time, he arranges for her soul to be whisked away to the Afterlife while Masakazu is distracted by another spirit inhabiting Akiko's body. When Masakazu inevitably figures everything out and comes to save Akiko, they escape the overconfident oni by jumping out of the window and making a run for it. Tentōki takes on his dragon-like form and catches up with them shortly after they've boarded the train home. He takes Masakazu hostage to force Akiko into marriage, but the two humans are saved by Binbōgami, whom the couple had shown hospitality to earlier. Tentōki is left having to wait for the next incarnation.

Literature

  • Joji and the Amanojaku: While on vacation, Joji comes across a female scarecrow in distress. There's an amanojaku named Nojak around who plants thornbushes in the rice fields to sabotage the harvest. Joji disguises himself as the other scarecrow and instructs the crows that he'll trick Nojak into planting all the thornbushes he has tonight and they are to pull them out immediately. The plan succeeds.
  • Kakuriyo: Bed and Breakfast for Spirits: Ōdanna is a jaki, which is a type of youkai known to dwell in temples and with has such a bad reputation that no other youkai want to associate with them. As such, Ōdanna keeps his identity a secret. Ōgondōji found him as a child on the spot where Tenjin-ya would later be built and took him under her guidance, which made him the upstanding man he is today. In Volume 4, he even fights and kills a jaki that attacks Aoi at the Dragon Palace, ignoring the villainous jaki's recognition and subsequent argument that as kin they should be on the same side.
  • Shadow of the Fox: Amanjaku are tiny demons fighting against the protagonists.
  • The Zashiki Warashi of Intellectual Village: Shinobu is at the center of a CIA project to control reality by means of an amanojaku. Unbeknownst to Shinobu, the amanojaku has been installed at his right temple, courtesy of the oni's ability to wear another's skin. It operates through Shinobu's perception of reality and makes him change it by writing the Singer Song Liar story. After the CIA's plan is uncovered, Shinobu deduces where the amanojaku is located and takes a knife to his own head to cut it out. After the first cut, the amanojaku expands from the wound to stand as an oni of less than a meter tall. It has disheveled hair, two horns, and Shinobu can't make out whether it even has a sex. Despite the amanojaku's creepy demeanor, Shinobu reasons that it was forced to do what it did by the CIA and lets it go. The amanojaku declares it isn't grateful, which Shinobu figures means it probably is grateful.

Live-Action TV

  • Choujin Bibyun: In Episode 20, a group of young youkai fans perform a ritual to summon one from the Youkai Daihyakka. What they get is Amanojaki, a bunch of floating skulls. Amanojaki procedes to attach skulls to the heads of the children to turn them into minions, but the children inherit Amanojaki's contrariness and do not obey properly. Once Bibyun shows up, Amanojaki generates a humanoid purple body covered in swirls to do battle. It is defeated when it throws its weapon at Bibyun and Bibyun swing his sky sword to flip Amanojaki's weapon right back at it.
  • Guru Guru Medaman: Amanojaku is one of the six heroic obake protagonists. His body is totem-like and easily falls apart, but the separate pieces still function and can even fly. Amanojaku strongly believes that obake should act like obake and not adopt human customs and overall he's confrontational and uncooperative unless there is an emergency. In times of crisis, he's a valuable and reliable teammate.
  • Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: In episode 33, Sasuke's cousin Kosuke is tricked into removing the iron pole that kept an amanojaku trapped inside a temple. He abducts (but claims to have killed) and disguises himself as the head priest in order to distribute mind-altering mushrooms to make everyone in the village act contrary and in some cases even hostile. In a further nod to Urikohime and the Amanojaku, inedible persimmons are handed out at the police station. Because the amanojaku kept the mushrooms away from Kosuke as a thank-you, Kosuke is able to inform the Kakurangers of what's going on. The amanojaku is defeated in battle and head priest freed soon after.

Music

  • The VOCALOID song series "The Fox's Story", also known as the "Onibi Series", features an Amanojaku named Shikyou, whose name translates to either "death" or "misfortune" and who is played by Kagamine Rin. She serves as the series' main antagonist and cuts off poor Mai's head and sends it to Akari in a basket as punishment for Mai and her mother, Ryou, not believing in gods or supernatural beings.

Tabletop Games

  • Future Card Buddyfight: Lesser Fiend, Amanojaku is a The Dark Lord's Rebirth monster card and looks like a blue-skinned elvish thief with a horn on his forehead. He belongs to the Katana World and has the Oni Assassin attribute.
  • Malifaux: Officially, Asami Tanaka is one of the Masters of the Ten Thunders. In truth, it's Amanjaku who's calling the shots. He is a short, blue-skinned creature with large horns, and the one that turned Asami into a futakuchi-onna to serve as a builder of bodies for the oni to take up residence in. Asami wants to be rid of him, but so far he always convinces her they make a good team. Included among their best warriors is Ama No Zuko, named after the goddes and possibly an amanjaku too.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: "Amanojaku" is the name carried by Dreamlanders who hijack human bodies for their own use. They're considered the lowest of Dreamland's citizens and before their workings were discovered they were thought to be parasitic entities. Their modus operandi is to enter a human's dream and if in the dream they manage to catch their target's self image, they throw it into the Dreamlands while they take control of the body. This leaves the human stuck as an inhabitant of the Dreamlands while the amanojaku has to painstakingly learn to live as a normal human.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: There are two amanojaku-based cards. The first is Reverse Trap (Amanojaku no Noroi in Japanese), which is a trap card depicting a shaman-like ghost. It reverses all effects that add or subtract to the attack and defense values. The second is Amanokujaki, a light-attributed monster card based on a portmanteau of amanojaku and kujaku (peacock), ending in "jaki" because that is the pronunciation of the kanji when it doesn't directly follow on "amano-". It's a humanoid monster with horns and peacock tail feather bat wings.

Video Games

  • Akanesasu Sekai de Kimi to Utau: Amanojaku is one of the youkai inhabiting Naraku. He plays the blue oni to pretty much all of his peers, putting brians before brawn.
  • Ayakashi: Ghost Guild: Amanojaku is a female oni that loves nothing more than doing the exact opposite of what she's ordered to do.
  • Icchibanketsu -ONLINE-: Amanojaku is a mischief-making man who falls under the ayakashi race and whose type is samurai. He is armed with four katana. In combat, he benefits from strong resistance against physical attacks.
  • Monster Retsuden Oreca Battle: Amanojaku is card B07-051 and depicts three blob-like creatures: an angry red one, a happy green one, and a sad blue one. They're brothers and each stuck with a singular emotion. This alone would be annoying enough to others, but they also always say the opposite of what they mean. They're of the earth element and belong to the Kaminari Mei no Gekirin set.
  • Onmyōji: The imps with horns and cards in front of their faces are amanojaku. Ranked from weak to strong, they come in the colors green, blue, yellow, and red. The green one attacks with a paddle. The blue one is female, scratches her opponents, and flies a kite to boost her allies' speed. The yellow one rides a drum and either throws his drumsticks or beats a tune to up the chance for his allies to land a critical hit. The red one is pure brawn. He throws his entire body into an attack or spanks his own butt to direct fire his way and force the enemy into using normal attacks.
  • Onmyoji~Heian Yokitan~: Amanojaku and Komanojaku are sisters who look like humans with sideway horns. "Koma" is written with the kanji for "small room", contrasting the expanse of "ama"/"heaven". They're miko. Amanojaku akways goes against what others say and do and with her onusa she can force others to go against themselves. Komanojaku looks up to her big sister and tries to be like her, but for now she's just too honest.
  • Darkstalkers: The combatant Bishamon is designed around the amanojaku-faced armor the Buddhist deity Bishamon wears. The combatant Bishamon's armor, Hannya, is alive because it's infused with a Makai beast and even has a separate skeleton. Paired with the sword Kien, Hannya tries to take control of Bishamon, but so far Bishamon is still fighting back. The Palette Swap Oboro Bishamon is Bishamon when he is in full control of Hannya and Kien.
  • Dragon Quest VII: The cheeky devil (Amanojaku in Japanese) is a monkey-like golden devil who's part of the Demon Family. It has three lines: one about food, an attempt to convince the protagonist to give up, and a piece of advice not to listen to a thing it says.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2: Amanojaku are rare enemies that look exactly like and appear alongside the notsugo. They're encountered in the Bresha Ruins. Neither look or act like their folkloric namesakes.
  • Jaki Crush: Following on aliens and devils, the third game of the Crush Pinball series is themed around jaki. They're the main obstacles, but other evil creatures show up too.
  • Ken ga Toki: Tentōki and Ryūtōki belong to the marebito grouping and are brothers. Tentōki claims to be the eldest and Ryūtōki doesn;t object. In any case, Tentōki is the dominant one, but the quiet Ryūtōki can be surprisingly sharp-tongued. Tentōki lacks his third eye and Ryūtōki's eyebrows are switched out for a single horn. He has both a dragon curled around his neck and a dragon tattoo along from his legs to his shoulders.
  • Momotaro Densetsu:
    • Amanojaku is a recurring enemy and party member in the series. He's a thin cephalothorax with messy hair and a single horn modeled after Kazuhiko Torishima. In games in which he's playable, such as Momotaro Densetsu Gaiden, Amanojaku is hard to control because any instruction can lead to multiple outcomes one of which is picked at random. There's also a stronger Palette Swap named Amanojaku Z. He wears a crown over his horn and is never a party member.
    • Ryūtōki is a villain who abducts three children and is fought in a boss battle inside a cave. He combines traits of both the folkloric Ryūtōki and Tentōki. He looks like and poses as Tentōki, but his colors are Ryūtōki's and instead of a lantern he holds a dragon up in his left hand.
  • Momotaro Dentetsu: Amanojaku is a recurring playable character. He does such as things as steal at random, change the train destination at random, and temporarily change the name of other players.
  • Ōkami: Hostile imps (Amanojaku in Japanese) come in five classes: green, red, yellow, blue, and black. They wear masks with the first katakana of the Iroha sequence, are monkey-like in movement, and most carry an instrument with them. The green one has a flute, the red one a shamisen, the yellow one a kendama, the blue one a kite, and the black one a small drum. Neutral imps also wear masks, although the merchant's version doesn't contain katakana but the kanji for "merchandise".
  • Ōkamiden: Hostile imps (Amanojaku in Japanese) come in five classes: green, red, yellow, blue, and black. They wear plain masks and paper hat, are monkey-like in movement, and most carry a toy with them. The green one has a paddle (and explosive ammo), the red one a spinning top and a nail-augmented paddle, the yellow one a large drum, the blue one claws, and the black one small mallets. Neutral imps are encountered in both the past and the present. Of note are Aji and Umami, the cooks of Orochi.
  • Onigiri: Both an amanojaku and references to Tentōki and Ryūtōki are present.
    • Amanojaku is a Vanguard Swap partner recruited during the "Oni in Onigashima" quest. He's stolen beans from Izuna and needs to be tracked down in the Onigashima shrine, where after a good trouncing it's revealed he's an old friend of Izuna and, unlike what he'd let everyone think up until that point, a boy. Although he is an amanojaku, he's kind-hearted and, to his own annoyance, a terrible liar.
    • Tentōki and Ryūtōki are represented by the Tōdaiki class of youkai. The name "tōdaiki" derives from a youkai that's an enchanted human with a candle on their hand. This youkai is commonly posed in a way very similar to Ryūtōki. In the game, Tōdaiki resemble Tentōki minus his lantern. They are said to have carried around a lantern in the past and that if they'd reacquire them they'd be even stronger. Variants are the blue Frost Tōdaiki and the green armored Tadakatsu. A boss version named Tentōki also shows up. They've got four horns, are blue, carry a club, and still have their lantern. Despite the bestiary stating it's accepted Buddha's teachings, it is hostile.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Amanojaku are recurring monsters in the series. Depending on the game, they belong to either the Jaki race or the Ogre race.
    • Shin Megami Tensei I: Amanojaku make their debut in the form of a boss battle. Said boss, true to Urikohime and the Amanojaku, disguises themself as a police officer, probably by killing a human and wearing their skin. With some manipulation, they are allowed in by the protagonist's mother, whereupon they eat her and disguise themself as her to trick the protagonist into letting his guard down. The disguise is of little value because the protagonist and his friends see right through it and the amanojaku doesn't survive the subsequent battle.
    • Devil Children: Fire Book & Ice Book: Amanojaku is encountered while wailing on Mecchii for his reluctance to enter battle against the Devil Children. He turns his ire on them as they approach, but is defeated and killed.
    • Devil Children: Messiah Riser: Amanojaku flees when the Imperium opens attack and returns when they're defeated.
  • Touhou Project: Seija Kijin and Sagume Kishin are classified as amanojaku.
    • Seija is a creature of contradiction and wants to remake society into its opposite. Her ability as a boss in Touhou Kishinjou ~ Double Dealing Character is Turn Over Anything, through which she can flip the screen. After her defeat, her story continues in Danmaku Amanojaku ~ Impossible Spell Card, where she is the protagonist. She no longer has any switching around powers and her journey ends with her losing all of her allies, which she's fine with because that's just how it is for an amanojake.
    • Sagume is a boss character in Touhou Kanjuden ~ Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom. She is named after Amenosagume and therefore is part deity too, in contrast to Seija. She has the ability to reverse any situation by describing it and therefore doesn't speak much.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: Contrarioni (Amanojaku in Japanese) is a yo-kai that belongs to the shady tribe. It has yellow skin, two stacked eyes, and a horn. It makes people argue with each other no matter what the subject is or what the person truly thinks.
  • Shikihime Garden: Amanojyaku and jaki are treated as separate youkai. There's also a hime known as Amanosagume who is closely related to amanojyaku.
    • Amanojyaku is a red-haired hime with two horns. She has a white snake for a pet that she usually has wrapped over her shoulders and she drags a huge club with axe blades with her. Her description states she can never be honest, and she furthermore is of the axe-attribute, has access to Reverse as her special skill which makes one stronger if the ATK is low, and can be obtained either through a summon or by matching Enma with a Killing Stone Avatar. By putting her through an Eight Gods Awakening, Kei Amanojyaku is unlocked. She's available in the variants Setsubun, Christmas, and Chibi.
    • Amanosagume is a pink-haired hime with two horns. She's mechanical and herself the founder of all demon clans, but she refuses to divulge who made her. Her weapon of choice is a giant meat cleaver. Like Amanojyaku, she is of the axe-attribute and has access to Reverse as her special skill which makes one stronger if the ATK is low. She can be obtained either through a summon or by putting Amanojyaku through a Five Element Awakening. Using another Five Element Awakening turns Amanosagume in Cho Amanosagume. She's available in the variant Chibi.
    • Jaki is a purple-haired hime with two horns. She's a demon of curses and carries around an axe. She is of the axe-attribute and has no special skills. She can be obtained from a summon, a Pattern Quest, or by upgrading Akki or Momijigozen. She's available in the variants Christmas and Chibi.
    • Akki is a blue-haired hime with two horns who spreads disease and misfortune. She has no special skills and is armed with an axe and therefore is of the axe-attribute. She can be obtained from a summon or a Pattern Quest, and she's available in the variant Cosmos and Chibi. By putting her through an Eight Gods Awakening, Kei Akki is unlocked.


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/oganamahagestatues_chibiartsharipan.png
"Demons are strong and scary. They bring disaster upon mankind. Some come from Hell, others from Akita."
Makoto Takiya, Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid

Namahage are winter visitors that for their appearance are often conflated with oni. By origin, they are marebito and they come down from the mountains on New Year's Eve to correct the behavior of troublesome children and unmotivated newlywed wives. In doing so, the visited households are left with good fortune for the following year. Namahage are readily recognized by their monstrous faces with horns and tusks and their thick straw clothes consisting of a coat, arm and shin guards, and shoes that signify their long trek down to the villages. The accessories characteristic to them are deba knives, onusa, and wooden pails, notwithstanding that large troupes of namahage may carry additional small tools like torches, walking sticks, and sickles. There are no true demands as to the look of the namahage mask, but usually a singular namahage is associated with a red mask and a pair tends to consist of a red and a blue visage.

In 1811, the writer Masumi Sugae visited Oga, Akita and documented his experiences in Oga no Samukaze. This work contains the oldest known account of the namahage tradition. Both then and now, unmarried men dress up as namahage and visit various houses. Visits are pre-planned so that the namahage can be instructed by the head(s) of the household on what lessons to impart. Houses where a death or birth recently occurred or where people with physical limitations live are acknowledged with an outside call, but not disturbed. When namahage enter a house, there are three formulaic questions they might ask: "Nakuko wa inee gā?" ("Are there any crybabies around?"), "Waruiko wa inee gā?" (Are there any naughty kids around?"), and "Uchi no yome wa hayaku oki teru gā?" (Is the woman in here an early-riser?"). After they've properly threatened their targets, they are offered a small meal to appease them. In turn, the namahage give a quick prayer for the household's well-being and after a final admonishment they leave. Straw that falls from the namahage's coats is left where it is until the next morning, upon which it is assigned healing properties if held against a sore spot.

The name "namahage" is theorized to be derived from "namomi" and "hageru", respectively "blisters" and "to peel". The blisters are the kind one gets from spending too long near a source of heat, which implies one is lazing about near the hearth and not being productive. This is where the knife and the pail come in: the former is to cut off the blisters, the latter to collect them. With this symbolic gesture, the target is assumed to be cured of their laziness.

There are several theories as to how the namahage tradition came to be. They may have been based on the mountain ascetics and their occasional visits to the villages. They may also be a derivation of Toshigami, the Year God, or a local mountain god. Drifters from the continent are another possible inspiration. The latter ties in with a mythical explanation that states that Emperor Wu (157 BC – 87 BC) of the Han dynasty visited Oga and brought with him five demonic bats. These bats took up residence in the mountains and came down only to steal crops and young women from the villages. Powerless to stop them, the villagers offered to willingly hand the oni whatever they desired if in one night they could build a stone staircase of one thousand steps up to a local temple. If they failed, they'd leave. The oni would've won the bet if a villager didn't trick them by imitating a rooster, making them think dawn had arrived just as they'd finished the 999th step. They left, but came to be worshipped at the Akagami Shrine Goshado and thus inspired the namahage.

Originally, namahage's arrival corresponded with the end of the celebration of the Asian Lunar New Year. Back then, the entity visited on the 15th day of the lunar year, which is when the year's first full moon shows up. The lunar year sets its months from new moon to new moon for a total of twelve, of which the eleventh month is defined by the occurrence of the winter solstice. This is roughly December 22nd. Thus, the 15th day of the lunar year usually falls in February. In 1873, Japan replaced the lunar calendar with the Gregorian calendar. This changed the date of New Year's Eve and the namahage's visitation to December 31st. However, because the Asian Lunar New Year does survive as the Little New Year and because a singular visit on New Year's Eve doesn't make namahage very useful for the tourism industry, the Namahage Sedo Festival was founded in 1964. It is a three-day long celebration held at the Shinzan Shrine from the second Friday to the second Sunday of February.

In fiction, namahage that aren't humans in costume are handled in one of two ways: either the namahage is a creature in the costume's likeness or the costume is still a costume but the being inside is not human. Even if the namahage is of the non-costume variety, they may still have aspects that remind of a costume, such as a stiff face or a notably large head. Namahage are just as likely bloodthirsty sadists as gentle souls who just want humans to be the best they can be. They're occasionally paired with shishimai, which are another costume creature that drops by for the New Year celebrations.

Though the New Year's visitor is best known acorss Japan as "namahage", this name is specific to the Oga Peninsula in Akita. The same or comparable creatures are known by other names in neighboring prefectures. Other areas in Akita have the yamahage and the nagomehagi. Yamagata is visited by the amahage, while Ishikawa and Niigata are familiar with the amamehagi. The appossha handles Fukui, the suneka Iwate, and amaburakosagi is welcome in Ehime.

See also The Krampus and Santa Claus, two other winter visitors, and oni, which the namahage technically are not but commonly depicted as.

    Namahage Examples 

Advertising

  • 2001 World Games: The pink female namahage Nami and the blue male namahage Hagi were the torch-carrying mascots for the 2001 World Games held in Akita and thereafter became the mascots for the Namahage Museum in Oga and the Akita Shinkin Bank. Aside from the folkloric creature, the names "Nami" and "Hagi" are also meant to evoke the English sound of "num(erous) hugs".
  • Akita Prefecture: Starting 2015, a namahage robot named N-Datchi has been busy promoting Akita Prefecture. At first, this was in conjunction with Sugitchi, a pine tree mascot active since 2004, but Sugitchi retired in 2017. A year later, N-Datchi was promoted to Akita PR Captain.
  • Yakult Tough-Man Refresh 2020: A group of namahage led by what may or may not be a namahage crash an office building and harass the employees until they relax with a drink.
  • Kampu: A red namahage holding a chisel and mallet is the mascot of Kanpu, a masonry company based in Oga.

Anime and Manga

  • Elegant Yokai Apartment Life: The whole cast celebrates the New Year in Chapter 90 and Episode 26 when actual namahage crash the party looking for ill-behaving children. Especially Yushi and the bookseller are terrified of them and their knives and sickles, but the perceived threat dissipates when the namahage are invited to the celebrations. They have a good time and leave shortly before midnight.
  • Farewell, My Dear Cramer: Naoko Nomi's nickname is "Namahage Nomi" for her terrifying dedication to soccer and sink-or-swim views on training contrasted by the care she has for the well-being of her team mates.
  • GeGeGe no Kitarō: There's both namahage and amamehagi.
    • In the 63th episode of the original series, namahage is both a boy in a costume who thinks he scared an old man to death and that very same old man, who is an actual namahge in disguise. In the 2007 series, Namahage is the Yokai Warrior that represents Akita.
    • In the manga, Amamehagi originally was depicted as a youkai with a large, bulbous, and bald head. Their body was fully hidden in straw. In the anime, he became indistinguishable from a human except for the mushrooms growing on his head.
  • Hell Teacher Nube: It's New Year's Eve in Chapter 210 and while Nube and his class are preparing a party, they meet an awkward news reporter when he saves their money from sinking into the river. The reporter is named Momotaro Oga and he explains that he is compelled to always help others before running off to do more good deeds. Later that day, Hiroshi is taken prisoner by a murderous burglar when Oga reappears and reveals himself to be a namahage, a type of oni that loves humankind and therefore lives with them and protects them from their own rotten apples. Oga frees Hiroshi, but Nube objects when he moves to kill the burglar. Oga acknowledges Nube as a fellow protector and leaves the burglar alive.
  • Higanjima: In Chapters 292-294, Akira faces Chihuahua, a huge monster with the face of a namahage, the body of a tiger, and the hind legs of a human. It can rotate its neck freely and breathe fire. Chihuahua guards the ground floor of the pagoda Miyabi uses to rest and like all guards is a danger to both genuine intruders and Miyabi's own troops if for whatever reason they enter the building.
  • Hozuki's Coolheadedness: Namahage are employed as wardens in the Eight Cold Hells, where it's so cold that only creatures with an affinity for snow and ice can get anything done. In Chapter 27, Hozuki and his colleagues become lost in one of the Cold Hells and are saved by a patrol of mammoth-riding namahage.
  • Kidou Senshi Gundam San: In the strip "Namahage", Char compares himself to a namahage wandering by and becomes insecure about the creature being like him, but better.
  • Mokke: Two namahage attend the flaying party of the mokurikokuri in Chapter 7.
  • "The Monster of the White World" by Go Nagai: On New Years' Eve, Mamoru wakes up at 2:00 AM to a ringing alarm clock, a blizzard, and his family missing. Through the window, he spots a simian monster that tries to get in. He arms himself with a bat, but breaks down in tears when the monster reaches him. This is when Mamoru's family comes out of hiding to tell him it's all a new take on the namahage tradition. Modern children, raised on toku, no longer are afraid of the straw-clothed and masked traditional costume, so they came up with a realistic costume and set up their own disappearance for extra effect (thereby violating the rule that parents need to protect their children from the namahage). As dawn breaks, they celebrate, utterly proud of themselves and utterly oblivious as to how badly the experience damaged Mamoru.
  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Among the inhabitants of Tōno Village is a duo of namahage, one with a blue face, the other with a red. Their heads are bigger than a human's entire body is and make up over half of their own bodies. In Chapter 68, they take Rikuo with them to train in Tōno Village on his grandfather's request.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: In Episode 24, Tamaki drives Kyouya up the wall with his ridiculous sightseeing requests. Among others, he has a fantasy of getting to see a namahage and a shisa duke it out, which is a tall order for many reasons, one being that namahage are from the cold north of Japan and shisa from the tropical islands far to the south of the main island.
  • Shaman King: Flowers: Namaha is a namahage and the guardian spirit of Ibuki Gakko, who like her is from Akita. Outside of combat, she looks like a regular human girl and interacts freely with the shamans. When engaged in combat, she dons her mask and grows into her costume into a bird-like take on the usual namahage look. In this form, she insists on being called Namahage instead of Namaha, which Gakko sometimes forgets. Namahage is armed with a knife and a pail and when she fuses with Gakko the pail becomes an arm-gun. The duo also has the inherent ability to nullify demonic energy.
  • So I'm a Spider, So What?: In Chapter 49.2, Kumoko imagines herself as a namahage-spider hybrid when she concocts a plan to punish the bandits.
  • Space Dandy: While at a ski resort on Planet Trendy in S2E10, Dandy discovers and gets hunted by an unregistered alien species that takes the forms of various winter figures. There are five of them: a namahage, a santa claus, a snowman, a yeti, and a yuki-onna. As the namahage raises their knife and enquires if there are any bad children, Scarlet deals a round of devastating kicks to the group. Dandy takes them with him for the bounty.
  • Ushio and Tora: In Chapters 54-58, a youkai that at first seems to be a namahage is on the loose in Akita and later Aomori, but it turns out to be a macaque-henge who has dressed up as a namahage as an excuse to carry around a large knife. It murders people in search of a compatible skin to wear to become human. The macaque-henge believes to have a match in Shiori, who coincidentally loves namahage. It amuses the macaque-henge and it speculates that after he's killed her she'll turn into a namahage herself. Fortunately, she's saved and the macaque-henge perishes from its own actions.
  • Yokaiden: One of the first yokai Hamachi encounters is a namahage. The namahage is disgusted that the boy walks around with a kappa foot around his neck.

Films — Live-Action

  • Yasei no Namahage: A 300-years-old namahage is captured and put on transport to a zoo in Tokyo. He escapes by using his knife against the lock and wanders around the city until he spots Mamoru. The boy already is playing hooky when the namahage catches him in the act of littering and so he goes after the bad child with his knife raised. At home, Mamoru tames his pursuer with meat and hides him in the closet until he can return him to Mount Tensho in Akita with the help of Professor Yamada. Along the way, the namahage corrects Mamoru each time he does wrong, but also cares for the boy as he cares for him. Their eventual goodbye would've been tearful if the namahage didn't remind Mamoru that he doesn't approve of crying children.

Live-Action TV

  • Choujin Neiger: Neiger and Neiger Geon are sentai heroes who respectively protect the agriculture and the natural environment of Akita. Their armors are modeled after the namahage with Neiger being the red one and Neiger Geon the green one. The name "Neiger" is derived from the line "Nakuko wa inee gā".
  • Ultraman Ace: It's Christmas in "Resurrection! The Father of Ultra" and the kaijin Namahage is at the end of his patience with Japan's embracement of this foreign holiday. With assistance from Yapool, he goes to war on the country by commanding Snowgiran into various acts of destruction and mayhem. His revenge spree comes to an end when the Father of Ultra shoots him,causing him to fall off the roof he'd been standing on.
  • Ultraman Cosmos: Mahagenom is an Oni that causes trouble in Episode 36. It is a humanoid creature combining traits from the namahage (name, horns, etc) and the shishimai (color, jaw, etc). It is a mountain-dweller and the arch-enemy of Yamawarawa, who sealed them long ago nearby Hidaka Village. Because the seal gets damaged during roadworks, Mahagenom gets out in present day and it takes the joint forces of Yamawarawa and Ultraman Cosmos to reseal the Oni.

Music

  • "Namahage", Ningen Isu: When snow falls, the namahage come to visit. They are strict and overbearing, but any less would not free the people from their faults.

Toys

  • Neclos Fortress: Namahage is one of the monsters from the third line. It's a blue humanoid with a red face and an open coat that's barely got any straw on it. He's armed with two knives.

Video Games

  • Blood Brothers: The red-faced Namahage and its blue-faced evolution Namahage II dwell in the Cemetery, The Sakura Gardens, and the Shi-en Castle Sanctum. They're armed with knives and possess the skill Riposte, which allows them to launch a counterattack upon being attacked.
  • Dragon Quest of the Stars: Namahage Troll is a variety of troll belonging to the Demon Family. They are a rotund green humanoid with a red face who wears a straw tunic and wields a large cleaver. It's an event encounter for Aomori Prefecture.
  • Empires & Puzzles: RPG Quest: Namahage is a fire-aligned creature of the Barbarian Class and the Sakura Family. They're a creature hidden beneath a costume that only doesn't cover their eyes, which see through the mask's mouth, and possibly their hands. Their armed with a large knife and possess the special skill Bloodthirst, which increases the effectiveness of their attack.
  • Genjyu Monogatari 2: Namahage is a divine messenger who goes door to door in winter to terrify people into behaving and grant good fortune. They're armed with a single knife and their hair flows over into a tail of fire. They're a Class S creature of the ma type and their signature item is the Fearsome Straw Coat.
  • Guilty Gear 2: Overture: Namahage are among the youkai-like inhabitants of the Backyard. They're the largest of all youkai and go unseen as they're hidden by a costume from which they peer out through the mask's mouth. Namahage are first encountered in the third chapter as enemies due to brainwashing, which is the reason Sol takes the effort not to harm them. In the ninth chapter, all youkai are freed from the brainwashing and from then on Izuna can summon them to his aid. Namahage are Armored Units that cost a lot to summon. They attack with knives and their special skill is "Where the bad kids at?".
  • Icchibanketsu -ONLINE-: Namahage is a man wearing a horned half-mask that leaves the lower-right of his face exposed. He falls under the god race and his type is samurai. Namahage wields a knife about 3/4th of his own height and is well-rounded warrior who can throw a punch and take one.
  • Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times: Krampus is the name under which Namahage appears in the localized versions. Armed with a knife and a pail, he is a Seasonal Mystery that appears from January 24th to the 31st. To solve his mystery, the protagonist has to be a good kid, which means they have to follow the rules on the bulletin board, pick weeds, don't play tricks on anyone, shut down the game to go clean the house, etc. It's also important to only talk to Krampus once a day. Failure to live up to being a good kid by being mischievous or lazy causes Krampus to change the protagonist's hair at will. Being good nets the protagonist a gift in addition to getting the mystery solved.
  • Momotaro Dentetsu: Namahagen is a recurring harmful specialty monster associated with Akita. If it manages to reach the player, it is capable of taking property, cards, and halving their money.
  • Monster Hunter: Rise: Goss Harag is a huge beast with blue and red skin that's visible on the limbs protruding from under the thick white fur covering its torso. It dwells on the Frost Islands, where it inhales the cold air to cool its own bodily fluids so it can spit them out on its arms to create icy blades. Naturally, Goss Harag's element is ice, while it's sensitive to fire and thunder. It is hunted in two quests: Abominable Snow-beast and A Frosty Stalemate. In the former, a parent asks the protagonist to kill a Goss Harag that dwells in the area because their child is terrified by its roars. In the latter, two territorial Goss Harags make the region unsafe and thus need to be dealt with.
  • Monster Retsuden Oreca Battle: Namahage and its evolution Araoni Namahage are cards B07-026 and B07-027. They're of the earth element and belong to the Kaminari Mei no Gekirin set. Their hair and limbs are blue and they wear straw clothes and silver masks, while the knives they carry are about the length of their bodies. Namahage is said to hunt ill-behaved children without realizing that it itself isn't exactly a pillar of society either.
  • Monster Strike: Namahage is one of the wood-aligned monsters and gets classified as a demihumane. Their strike shot is called Crybabies Beware and involves pelting the opponent with acorns. Namahage has no ascended form, but it can evolve into Mountain Deity Namahage. Their strike shot is Yearly Havoc and still about hurling acorns. For their bump combo, they have Cleave during which they swing an elementally charged blade.
  • Nioh 2: Namahage are from the Oga peninsula in northern Dewa Province and attack with cleavers or a spear.
  • Ōkami: There are five classes of namahage, all encountered in the cold north that is Kamui. The first is the green Namahage, who is armed with a roadsign. The second is the red Blade Namahage, who is armed with a large blade. The third is the yellow digging Bucket Namahage, who is armed with a bucket. The fourth is the blue Umbrella Namahage, whose umbrella allows flight. And the final black Cannon Namahage, which has a portable cannon loaded with stone heads. The namahage have monkey-like motion and from their description aren't very bright or confident.
  • Sonic Forces: Infinite's appearance is partially inspired by the namahage, accounting for his mask and hair. The association with the namahage is solely for the creature's malicious side.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Namahage are a staple creature of the series. Sometimes it's one individual, sometimes there are many. The individual Namahage is friends with Shishimai and the two have a past with the taiko drum factory that manufactured Don and Katsu.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: Snartle, Brutle, Namahage O, Goku Namahage, and Necrosnartle are namahage. Snartle's Palette Swap Zerberker and its prior form Hissfit might be too on account of visual similarity, but if so they're fire variants to the other five's ice element.

Webcomics

  • Bakejo! Youkai Jogakuen e Youkoso: Komachi Namahage is a sweet girl who is very insecure about her head being about a quarter of her body mass and about her reputation as a stern and fearsome youkai. Due to Azuki's meddling, the students think Miko is a counsellor and Komachi is the first to have a meeting with Miko. Miko does an excellent job and makes a first friend in Komachi.


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/elementalstory_korpokkurlviii.png
Korpokkur, rendered in Japanese as koropokkurunote  and romanized in more ways than there's fingers to count with, are Little People from Ainu folklore said to have lived on Hokkaido before the Ainu arrived. There is debate on the meaning of the term, but "kor-pok-kur" is generally taken to mean "people under the butterbur (leaves)".note  In modern media, they are typically depicted as fairy-like beings dressed in traditional Ainu-inspired clothes while carrying a butterbur leaf to hide or take cover under. They are shy and harmless nature spirits that straddle the line between youkai and cryptid.

According to the Ainu, the korpokkur were more hairy than they are, had reddish skin, and were a lot shorter. Depending on the retelling, they are a pygmy-esque 120 cm in height tops (as opposed to the Ainu average height of around 160 cm) or they are as small as 10 cm. The korpokkur are given credit for the flint tools and samples of pottery left behind in and near pit-house remnants of 1 to 2 meters deep. It is thought that these pit-houses were thatched with butterbur leaves.note  The korpokkur are variously said to have left gifts and to have been secretive trading partners of the Ainu, only operating by night or through gaps and windows. Either scenario is consistent with the principles of silent trade. There are multiple stories as to why these little people disappeared, a notable one being that an Ainu man was curious and grasped a korpokkur's arm during a trade. The korpokkur were furious and left after that incident never to return. The popular version of that tale states that the korpokkur was a woman with tattoos on her arm and that hers were the inspiration for Ainu women to get tattoos, but it's also said that the korpokkur didn't do tattoos. Another tale in regards to their fate is that the Ainu drove the korpokkur to extinction, but there's also the claim that the korpokkur are the ancestors of the Ainu.

Prior to the 1880s, the korpokkur had been reported on to Mainland Japan by travelers such as Matsuura Takeshirō. A nationwide introduction began with Edward Morse, a pottery enthusiast who did archeological research in Japan in the late 1870s. One thing he took note of is that there was pottery to be found on Hokkaido, but that the Ainu didn't make any and claimed never to have done so. Morse reasoned that there must have been another culture before the Ainu settled on the island. Morse's student Shōgorō Tsuboi heard of the korpokkur and ran with it, proposing that they were the pottery-making Jōmon of yore and the Ainu invaders. Thus the korpokkur became a subject of fierce debate in Japan's climate of rapidly developing nationalism and desires of colonization. The contention died down in the 1900s when Tsuboi's own protégé, Torii Ryūzō, pointed out that the Kuril Ainu did live in pit-houses and made pottery. To this day, there's no definite answer what inspired the stories of the korpokkur, but contact with the Kuril Ainu remains a candidate.

In 1959, Satoru Satō finished A Little Country No One Knows, the first book of the Korobokkuru Monogatari series. Satō was born in 1928 when the korpokkur were receding from Mainland Japan's awareness and grew up reading Western Fairy Tales such as Aesop's Fables and the works of The Brothers Grimm. Korobokkuru Monogatari reimagines the korpokkur as fairy-like liliputians that live beneath human notice and stand for a nature-compatible Japan in the face of the rapid industrialization of the post-war era. The novel was distributed in private circles in March and picked up by Kodansha for commercial publication in August. The novel and its sequels were a huge hit with lasting impact both on the Japanese fantasy genre and on the image of the korpokkur.

To this day, Satō's fairy tale version remains the dominant template for the korpokkur, but Ainu culture is infused as far as Mainland Japanese assumptions and aesthetics allow. For instance, korpokkur commonly dress and adorn themselves as per Ainu tradition, but because of the stigma on tattoos, korpokkur aren't ever depicted as having those. If the korpokkur are from a fantasy counterpart of Hokkaido, it is likely called Kamuy, the Hokkaido Ainu word for "deity". The key attribute of a korpokkur is the butterbur leaf they carry around as umbrella or parasol. To further emphasize the korpokkur's size, they tend to be put next to small animals like frogs and mice and sometimes are depicted as anthropomorphic animals. If there's an elemental theme in a given work, the korpokkur will fall under plant and/or ice. The former derives partially from Satō's work and partially from the butterbur association, while the latter comes from Hokkaido being Japan's cold north. The korpokkur have an affinity with children.

See also other little people in Japanese folklore, such as the majimun kijimuna, the god Sukunabikona, and the hero Issun-boshi. The tsuchigumo and living dogu are related youkai on account of their historic origins and interpretations, while snow rabbits share in the winter sentimentality.

    Korpokkur Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Act-age: In Chapter 70, Hanako relays how she grew up in the middle of nowhere in the mountains of Hokkaido. During winter, she was left alone as her farmer parents went away for jobs. To cope with the loneliness, Hanako made an Imaginary Friend called Fukiko ("Butterbur Girl"), a korpokkur who floated on the wind hanging from her butterbut leaf. Continuous disappointments railroaded Hanako into adulthood and she stopped seeing Fukiko, which is a loss that defines her adulthood. Her goal as an artist is to see Fukiko again, but no matter how much she tries, she can never quite recreate Fukiko's image. She burns all of her failed attempts, which is the bulk of her oeuvre.
  • Bouken Korobokkuru: As a loose adaptation of Korobokkuru Monogatari, the anime centers around four characters: the heroic korobokkuru trio of Bokkuru, Couscous, and Love Love, and the human boy Seitaka. The korobokkuru trio have come from Hokkaido to the city because humans no longer believe in them. Many adventures follow, such as other korobokkuru visiting them, Seitake becoming korobokkuru-sized, and battles against animals that are very dangerous to anyone the size of a leaf.
  • Eko To Issho: In Chapter 29, a tanuki presumes that Eko, who has shrunken considerably due to bathing in hot water, is a korpokkur.
  • Honey and Clover: In Chapter 1 and Episode 1, Hagu draws the attention of Morita for a profitable venture. Hagu is 18 years old, but she looks and dresses like a child. Upon meeting, Morita hands her a butterbur leaf and a toadstool prop for a korpokkur photo shoot. He edits the photos and uploads them as evidence that korpokkur exist on his advertisement-riddled website.
  • Inu × Boku SS: The childish and energetic Chino is a maid at Maison de Ayakashi with korpokkur heritage. As a result, her youkai form is a tiny human dressed in Ainu clothes and carrying a butterbur leaf. Her work benefits from her korpokkur form, because it allows her to clean really narrow places.
  • The Littl' Bits: The eponymous Littl' Bits (Fanit in Japanese) are inspired by the korobokkuru of Korobokkuru Monogatari and Bouken Korobokkuru. They are tiny people who live a peaceful but adventurous life in the forest away from humans.
  • The Morose Mononokean: Abeno introduces Ashiya to the korpokkur Okina in Chapter 23 (Episode 11). He is an elderly figure just short of knee-high with long hair, thick eyebrows, and a beard. Okina's full name is Inogaratake Yuuhi Takino Okinagami, the "kami"-part being a title bestowed on him by humans who've dedicated a shrine to him. He lives there among the butterbur leaves. Many youkai visit the shrine for a chat or for help to reach the underworld, which is why he came in contact with Abeno. Okina is a voice of wisdom and reason and well-liked by the Mononokean team.
  • Shaman King: The korpokkur (minutians in the American dub) are endangered due to the ongoing destruction of butterbur fields for development projects in Hokkaido. As the Shamans of the Ainu, the Usui Family are tasked with getting the title of Shaman King to have the means to reverse the damage. Both the main contestant Horokue and his father Lycan have a korpokkur as guardian spirit and both these korpokkur are unusual. Lycan's spirit is Gororo, a mutant korpokkur who dwarfs even humans. Horokue's spirit, Kororo, is a former human, Tamiko. Tamiko was a close friend of Horokue, but their relation was put an end to because Tamiko's parents were among the dam-builders demolishing the Hokkaido landscape. Because Horokue ignored Tamiko from then on, she followed him to talk but got lost and froze to death. Her soul rejected the korpokkur's help in passing on and so she was offered training by Gororo to become a korpokkur in order to reunite with Horokue, relieve both their sorrows, and help restore the butterbur fields she'd come to love.
  • Takeo-chan Bukkairoku: The korpokkur are blobular humanoids less than a centimeter in height, which is why even in the youkai-populated Hyakkisou Inn no one knows they're fellow residents. They take whatever items they need as resources for their own community, hence why small things go missing, and they keep insects as mounts. They used to live in the kitchen until a ferocious rat they declared the incarnation of the deity Kim-un-kamuy chased them out. Takeo meets the korpokkur when she's fed a Alice's Adventures in Wonderland-inspired shrinking potion in Chapter 27. In her quest for the antidote, she defeats Kim-un-kamuy and is declared Pirka-kamuy by the grateful korpokkur. They move back to the kitchen, return her stuff to her, and every so often Takeo leaves cookies for them on the floor.

Literature

  • Korobokkuru Monogatari by Satoru Satō: The kobōshi ("little boys") are a race of tiny people that live all around humans, but distrust them and therefore don't go near them. However, they allow Seitaka to meet them. The boy is reminded of the korobokkuru and calls them such, a name which they happily adopt and go by from then on. When Seitaka is an adult, the korobokkuru turn to him to save their hill from being demolished to make room for a highway. Seitaka is the protagonist of the first book, while in most books following a korobokkuru is the main character. Seitaka's success in saving the korobokkuru's hill generates good will and they willingly interact with other humans near Seitaka later on.
  • Utsunomiko: Kijimuna is said to be the same creature as the Korpokkur from Ezo. Utsunomiko meets them on Akonaha and befriends them, after which Kijimuna becomes another one of his companions.

Music

  • Vocaloid: The 2015 edition of Winter Miku is dressed like a korpokkur and Yukine's green ribbon evokes the look of a snow rabbit. The theme of 2015 was "Plant Life in Winter".

Tabletop Games

  • The Caster Chronicles: Card SDS2-b08 of Phase 2's 1st starter deck, "Tenshi no Enbukyoku VS Akuma no Rondo", is Korpokkur and depicts a girl in a short Ainu dress who holds a butterbur leaf in her hands. The unusual element here is that she also has wings, and is classified as both an angel and a youkai. Her type is Mystery.
  • Kara-tur: Korobokuru are dwarf-sized humanoids with a peaceful disposition and an unfair reputation as being uncivilized and arrogant. Due to bad prior experiences and harsh living coonditions, the korobokuru mostly keep to themselves. They are excellent hunters, practice shamanism, and maintain a semi-democracy. Female korobokuru can grow a little bit of chin hair and tattoo their hands and faces with blue ink.
  • Legions! by FLIPFLOPs: Korpokkur no Senshi is card BS02-001143, released as part of the "Ryuhime no Kakusei" booster pack. It's a minion of the fairy and warrior types which skill is to hide under its butterbur leaf to avoid damage and effects.
  • Shadowrun: The Koborokuru are a dwarfen metavariant which is the dominant in Japan. They're smaller, less muscular, and less hairy than most other dwarves.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: There are two korpokkur-inspired cards: Acorno and Pinecono. Acorno is Korobokkuri in Japanese, which is a portmanteau of "korobokkuru" and "donguri" ("acorn"). Pinecono is Matsubokkuru in Japanese, which is a portmanteau of "korobokkuru" and "matsu" ("pine"). The both of them are anthropomorphic nuts and they fall under the earth attribute and the plant type. Acorno and Pinecono show up side by side in the artwork of the Mini-Guts spell card and the Xyz Pieces trap card.

Video Games

  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness: One mid-tier member of the Feary class is the koropokkoru. They're a human-sized dark creature with an outfit between a Christian priest and a stereotypical voodoo doctor.
  • Divine Gate: The pok-gurus are small elemental beings with one button eye and one wingding eye. There are six of them, as there are six elements, and each pok-guru has a three-step evolution. There's pika-pok-guru (light), hino-pok-guru (fire), koro-pok-guru (void), mizu-pok-guru (water), yami-pok-guru (dark), and kaze-pok-guru (wind). Evolutions go from [koro]-pok-guru to [koro]-pok-gurun to mega [koro]-pok-gurun.
  • Dragon Collection: There's Korpokkur and the halloween-themed Witchpokkur. Korpokkur is a shy guardian spirit who resembles a child-like figure in Ainu clothes hiding beneath the leaves. He is of the forest attribute and has some control over plants. Witchpokkur is largely the same, but hides under a pumpkin cookie instead of a leaf and is dressed as a witch.
  • Dragon Quest: Korpokkur show up every once in a while in the series.
    • Dragon Quest VI: One member of the Plant Family is the tree feller, which Japanese name is hellbokkur. It's a short, rotund, and tree-themed fellow.
    • Dragon Quest VII: There's a mob family of acorn-themed forest creatures that resemble korpokkur. The Japanese names of several reveal as much: Kor Fighter, Kor Hero, Kor Mage, and Kor Priest.
  • Elemental Monster: Online Card Game: The snow-dwelling korpokkur is a four-eyed fae-like being with vulpine attributes and companions. Both their fur and dress display Ainu-inspired patterns. Korpokkur's element is Earth and they belong to the Spirit family, and their main skills are Breath of Nature, which undoes an opponent's stat changes, and Butterbur Cutter, which guarantees a critical hit against other earth-attributed monsters.
  • Elemental Story: Korpokkur is a monster with three stages of awakening, all of which resemble a little lady in Ainu clothes holding a leaf decorated with water drops. She's of the Water element and has water-based skills, which because she controls the drops through her leaf are named "Leaf [Attack/Smash/Splash]". She is enlisted in the Frozen Water Continent.
  • Final Fantasy: Korpokkur show up in a myriad of roles and shapes.
    • Final Fantasy XI: Koropokkur are members of the Mandragora family, which are humanoid plant bulb monsters. They live in the Yuhtunga Jungle and are effectively identical to the Yuhtunga Mandragora, but more rare.
    • Final Fantasy XIV: Korpokkur looks like a freshly sprouting seed with limbs and a bird-like face. They show up as enemies, minions, and mounts. As enemies, they belong to the seedkin class and mainly reside in Saint Mocianne's Arboretum. There's the green Korpokkur, the brown Muddy Dorpokkur, and the mud-covered and blooming boss Tokkapchi. A copy of Tokkapchi known as The Mudman is an enemy in II Mheg and the green Korpokkur show up as Polis Korpokkur in Aquapolis. The minion Korpokkur Kid, a green Korpokkur, is obtained at the Saint Mocianne's Arboretum or in Heaven-on-High. The mount is known as Korpokkur Kolossus. It is a giant green Korpokkur that is said to have been small ones but through its adventures it became big. It is bought from the Gold Saucer Attendant and is summoned with the Korpokkur Kolossus Horn. As a 2021 promotion with the chocolate company Lawson, a Chocorpokkur, which is a Korpokkur Kolossus covered in chocolate, is available to anyone who buys 18 pieces of Final Fantasy-licensed candy.
    • Mobius Final Fantasy: Korpokkur are humanoid mice with the ability Earthslide. They're a support card with an elemental alignment to Earth.
  • Genjyu Monogatari 2: Korpokkur is a small, shy being who feels most comfortable hidden underneath a butterbur leaf. She's a Class C creature of the rei type and her signature item is her Large Butterbur Umbrella.
  • Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons: The korobokkuru, which in English get the name "harvest sprites" and "nature sprites", are a staple of the series ever since the second game. They're modeled after the korobokkuru from Korobokkuru Monogatari, and as such are small fairies who serve the Harvest Goddess and the Harvest King and who help out the player if they take the effort to befriend them. For the most part, the sprites are reimagined and new characters feature in each game, but there is chromatically arranged trio by the names of Nic, Nak, & Flak that is present in multiple games.
  • Icchibanketsu -ONLINE-: Korpokkur is a shy boy dressed in clothes that include Ainu elements. He falls under the ayakashi race and his type is shaman. His magic centers on healing and boosting stats.
  • THE iDOLM@STER: SideM: From November 8-November 14, 2020, the members of Mofumofuen and F-LAGS participated in a promotional event for Hokkaido. During this event, they dressed up as korpokkur. The korpokkur were suggested to be very small because they were depicted as living inside hollowed out acorns.
  • Kingdom Corps: Koropokkuru is among the common cards. It's a little man wearing Ainu clothes sitting under his leaf alongside a snow rabbit. His element is water and therefore his primary skill is Aqua Whip, but he also learns Fire Ball.
  • Legend of the Cryptids: There are two korpokkur lines.
    • Korpokkur Gnome and its evolution (Nature) Korpokkur Gnome are liliputians associated with the wind and butterflies. Playful Gale is their proactive skill and the lore for (Nature) Korpokkur Gnome reads that when three full moons rise at dusk and generate a rainbow, the korpokkur are out and about riding the gale with their leafs.
    • Runevalis Korpokkur and its evolution (Fuzzy) Runevalis Korpokkur are anthropomorphic rodents associated with water and wind instruments. Whisker Healing is their proactive skill and it's said that obtaining a whisker comes with a blessing of good fortune.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: The Minish are largely based on the korobokkuru from Korobokkuru Monogatari, with their Japanese name Pikkoru being a portmanteau of "pygmy" and "korobokkuru". Other sources include the small people from The Elves and the Cobbler and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Minish are mouse people who leave gifts for humans to find and who can only be seen by children and animals. The Forest Minish are associated with clovers the same way korpokkur are associated with butterbur leafs. The Hurdy-Gurdy Man may be a Minish living in the human world, although by what means he got and stays human-sized is unknown. Both Link's hat Elzo and Big Bad Vaati are Minish too.
  • Little King's Story: It's in King Corobo's very name: "Korobo"kkuru. All in the kingdom are implied to be korobokkuru as per the portrayal of the creature in Korobokkuru Monogatari. To drive the point home, there's a scarecrow UMA at the Melon Patch who commands the meloncholies. The scarecrow resembles King Corobo and itself is named "Korobokle" ("Korobokkuri" in Japanese).
  • Mega Man: IceMan.EXE is an ice-based NetNavi with a green suit and a curl on his cap reminiscent of the korpokkur's leaf.
  • Neutopia II: Korpokkur are brown-furred critters native to the frosty Shinoro Headwaters. They have the ability to curl up into a ball and bounce around. They are reused in Super Bomberman 3.
  • Ōkami: The poncles (korpokkur in Japanese) are the inhabitants of Ponc'tan (Ponkotan in Japanese, which is Ainu for "small settlement"), a village that is located inside a tree stump. Ponc'tan is part of the frozen lands of Kamui, but itself is a cozy hideout. In addition to the korpokkur, the poncles are also based on the legend of Issun-Boshi, which is why they're so tiny. They are bug-themed humanoids with strong bodies and that can get a lot older than humans. They are invaluable servants of the gods because the gods need the faith of humans and every time that wavers it's the poncles who sent out their best artist to restore the connection. This artist is known as the Celestial Envoy and at the time of Amaterasu's return Issun is the one selected for the task. Therefore, is is he that accompanies her on her quest.
  • Otogi: Spirit Agents: Koropokkur is a card obtained via Jewel Summon. Its image is of a young man in Ainu clothes carrying a butterbur leaf (wrongly translated as a burdock leaf). In a rare case of Ainu tattoo customs being acknowledged, he has them on his arms. Traditionally, Ainu men don't have tattoos, but there's technically no word on whether korpokkur men do or do not have them. He also has tattoos on his neck and face where Ainu don't have them. Korpokkur is a butterbur connoisseur, a proud hunter capable of catches twice his height, and good at camouflage.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Koropokkuru/koropokguru/korbacle are recurring peaceful monsters in the series. Depending on the game, they belong to either the Jirae race or the Mute race. They're represented by a little bearded man in Ainu clothes, without shoes, and carrying a butterbur leaf. The koropokkuru's elemental associations change from game to game.
  • Stardew Valley: The junimo are expies of the harvest sprites of Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons and the Minish from The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. They're tiny, colorful, sprout-like creatures from another dimension. While in the valley, they secretly distribute gifts to spread happiness around. Furthermore, they reside in junimo huts. A junimo hut is a building that can be magically placed on the farm so that the junimo will help with the harvest.
  • Super Bomberman 3: Korpokkur are white-furred critters native to Winterland. They have the ability to curl up into a ball and bounce around. They are reused from Neutopia II.
  • Tokyo Afterschool Summoners: Korpokkur is a butterbur leaf-bearing korpokkur and a member of the Rule Makers. He is the World Representative of Kamuy Kotan, a frozen world where adults are killed to serve as food for children. This seems to be a reference to the historical bear worship of the Ainu, which saw bear cubs taken care of better than children, but adult bears killed because that was viewed as sending the god back home. Korpokkur is principally only visible to children, but in Tokyo everyone can see him. He's not happy with that because he has a mindset reminiscent of Peter Pan: children are good (and should not grow up) and adults are horrible. When he's defeated, he curses that "all the water and fish shall dry up now!!!", which is a reference to the legend that the area of Tokachi derives its name from "Tokappuchi", a korpokkur curse aimed at the Ainu that means the same thing. His move list is largely defensive and his offense is ice-based.
  • Trials of Mana: The heroes visit Koropokkur Woods, located within Rabite Forest, to speak to the brilliant strategist Domperi for advice on how to retake the kingdom. The koropokkur are modeled after the ones from Korobokkuru Monogatari'' anddon't trust humans, which means the party first has to get the Midge Mallet to turn themselves small and then pretend to be koropokkur. They do such a poor job at it that Domperi immediately sees through the ruse and messes with them before helping them.

Visual Novels

  • Koropokkur in Love ~A Little Fairy's Tale~: The koropokkur are people tiny enough to be carried in a human's hand. They wear Ainu clothes, have Ainu names, and possess magic to turn into a human, but they've been living separate from humans in their own dimension for a long time now. One koropokkur, Asirrera, gets permission to leave the village and take a chance on becoming human, as there's legends saying that's possible. Asirrera ends up ruining an important event at Petit Fille, a maid cafe owned by Satoru Segawa, and makes a deal to work for him for free to compensate for the damages. Through the Spring of Clairvoyance, her friends Cirta and Haruante learn of what happened and they decide to leave too to assist her. It isn't long before Satoru realizes the three aren't human because any stress returns Asirrera to her true form, but he keeps it a secret.
  • Moe! Ninja Girls: In Season 17, the ice-ninja Ricka saves Koropokkur from a wild dog. The tiny girl settles herself in Ricka's breast pocket, but not only out of gratitude. Koropokkur is millennia-old being with a mission to revive her master, the goddess Mistress Swan. Ricka is a dead ringer for the goddess and with some manipulation Koropokkur succeeds in getting her to wear the necklace that houses Mistress Swan's soul. Ricka gets possessed by the goddesss, who is happy to reunite with Koropokkur, but Ricka's friends want her back. It all ends well when Mistress Swan leaves Ricka's body in an act of self-sacrifice. Thereafter, Koropokkur sticks around, partially because of an uneasy friendship with the club and partially to keep looking for ways to revive Mistress Swan.

Web Games

  • Daily Life With Monster Girl Online: Shinotcha is a korpokkur. She's a tiny person in a very short Ainu dress who carries a butterbur leaf around. She's got the reputation of being a cheery and diligent worker.
  • Shikihime Garden: Korobokkuru is a fuchsia-haired hime with animal ears and feet and a large fluffy tail. Her description proclaims the korobokkuru to be a Beast Fairy race. She is a bow-type hime and can be obtained through a summon, from a Pattern Quest, by matching Kurousagi with an Spricot Spirit, or by upgrading Izuna. By putting her through an Eight Gods Awakening, Kei Korobokkuru is unlocked, which is the only version to wear Ainu-inspired clothes. She's available in the variants Tanabata and Chibi.


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/akagenokijimuna_coverart1988.png
If a tree falls in a forest, are we sure there's no one around to hear it make a sound?
Kijimuna are Little People in Okinawan folklore the size of children and on occasion smaller. They are banyan tree spirits characterized by their copious red hair. They may or may not have matching skin, and if not, then their skin is bark-brown, all of which well visible because their choice of dress are skirts made of green leaves and little more. Kijimuna are fiercely protective of the banyan trees they inhabit, but roam widely. They're avid fishermen that spend a lot of time on and around the water and they enjoy the company of humans, so they'll invite themselves over whenever they feel like it. Kijimuna are friendly majimun, bringing good fortune to the houses they pick, but if they're treated unjustly, their vengeance is severe.

Kijimuna can be found in any banyan tree, locally known as gajumaru, but the older and bigger the tree, the more likely it is a kijimuna or even a whole kijimuna family lives within its branches. It is common for banyan trees that stand nearby buildings to have a nail driven into the trunk in order to keep any kijimuna inside or prevent them from taking up residence in the first place. Because while kijimuna are friendly, they're also insistent and mischievous. Among other things, they're known to sit on sleeping humans, accounting for sleep paralysis, or disturb their sleep by flipping their pillows. Stories of people who were accosted by kijimuna while out on a walk claim that a human covered in the creature's hair becomes immobilized. Kijimuna also have a small habit of stealing fire from hearths and lanterns. To them it's just play, but to humans it can have consequences. Fortunately, one of the things kijimuna absolutely despise is humans passing gas, so that's a solid way to get rid of them.

The other things kijimuna are known to dislike are hot pot lids, chickens, and, most of all, octopi. There's no reason given why any of those anger the creature, but there is a story that the kijimuna's ancestors were killed by octopi. Kijimuna are fond of fishing, but they're picky eaters who strongly prefer the eyes of the fish and sometimes even only the left eye over the rest of the meat. Rather than let it go to waste, they donate their catch to humans. Fishermen that find their nets filled with one-eyed or eyeless fishes may rest assured that the kijimuna are looking out for them.

Like several other youkai, kijimuna are associated with ghost fires. Occasionally when they walk along the shore, they'll be accompanied by ghost fires and similar inexplicable lights on the sea surface are attributed to the kijimuna. A ghost fire above a roof is a kijimuna's sign that someone in the household will die. Like most majimun, kijimuna are active on Shibasashi Day and this is when their fires are most common.

Kijimuna are known by various names across Okinawa, the second most common being "bunagaya", which calls attention to their slightly oversized heads. An argument can be made that these are all separate majimun, but they're commonly regarded as the same creature. There are also a handful of similar majimun that are specifically defined and therefore have a more complicated relation to the kijimuna.

  • Kinushi: Kinushi are banyan tree spirits that are one with the tree. If they have forms separate from the trees, then they never show themselves as such. There's a lot of modern speculation what kinushi are compared to kijimuna, leading to such theories that kinushi is an elderly form of kijimuna or that kinushi and kijimuna have a symbiotic relation. It is said that if a tree is heard falling over but no tree actually falls, that's the kinushi in pain and the tree they inhabit will soon die. Because of the strong connection between the majimun and the tree, in some areas an old banyan tree can only be cut down on Muchi Day, because that's when the kinushi is out.
  • Akana: Akana is a kijimuna-like majimun and folklore that addresses the similarity states that Kijimuna as a single individual is the older brother of Akana. Akana isn't known for eating fish eyes, but he does love crabs. Unlike Kijimuna, Akana doesn't live on Okinawa but on the moon and is the local equivalent of the Moon Rabbit. There are several stories as to how he got on the moon, of which two are most prominent. One is that Akana bullied an oni and the oni wanted to kill him. Akana promised the gods that he'd be a humble servant if they'd save him, so they lowered a ladder from the moon for him to climb to safety too. The other is a story with similarities to The Crab and the Monkey. A monkey shares a house and peach tree with Akana and wants all of it for himself, so he forces a bet. He and Akana will each take a basket of peaches to the market and whoever sells the most gets to kill the other. The monkey only gives Akana unripe peaches, so Akana sells none. On the way home, he begs the moon to save him and a bucket is lowered for him to be pulled up in. Depending on the legend, the dark parts of the moon are Akana fetching water, Akana washing something in a pail, or like the Moon Rabbit he's making rice cakes.
  • Kenmun: There's a significant overlap between the kijimuna of Okinawa and the kenmun of Amami. They're both red-haired banyan tree dwellers with a love for fishing. However, the kenmun is often depicted with the same bowl-heads as the kappa. As the kijimuna and the kappa are hypothesized to be related, the kenmun could be considered a midway point.

It's usually up to the kijimuna if and when they approach humans, but there are means to coax them out. For instance, whistling while out in the middle of the night might garner their attention. More effectively, there's a child's play to call kijimuna. It consists of drawing a circle in a quiet and dark place and sprinkling white powder such as flour in it. A candle is to be put in the center and the partakers are to hide and concentrate for 20 seconds. After that, kijimuna footprints will be visible in the powder.

The kijimuna are in use as Okinawa's mascots. Tourists are bound to bump into statues of the creatures, both male and female, at key places on the island. This is why they're the go-to pick in supernatural fiction when a creature from the Ryukyu Islands would liven up the cast. Historically, kijimuna have been close to exclusive to Okinawa, but the creature's popularity compared to other Ryukyuan monsters means it sometimes gets assigned to other islands. If a fantasy counterpart of Okinawa is used, it is likely called Chura Shima ("Beautiful Islands"), Japan's nickname for the Ryukyu Islands, or Nirai Kanai, the Ryukyuan divine realm located Eastwards. Another reverberation of kijimuna's popularity is that from time to time they are paired with shisa, the second most well-known majimun.

See also other little people in Japanese folklore, such as the youkai korpokkur, the god Sukunabikona, and the hero Issun-boshi. Kappa are considered to be related to the kijimuna. Other comparisons include the Zashiki-warashi on grounds of being beneficiary and child-like house spirits and the kodama for being small tree spirits too.

    Kijimuna Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Aqua Planet Chronicle: In "Kijimuna Majimuna", Himeko befriends a kijimuna that looks like a lanky teenager. He has pointy ears, wears shorts rather than leaves, and resides in the banyan tree that's iconic to the bed & breakfast ran by Himeko's family. In fact, kijimuna was sealed inside the tree until a storm loosened the nail. He and Himeko never talk, but they communicate through their semi-chance encounters, most of which centered around fishing. Himeko comes to compare the two of them and realizes that the kijimuna is bound to their island while she is free to explore the world, which she resolves to do.
  • C.M.B.: In Chapter 87, Shougo Oonaka is afraid to morally stray because there's a kijimuna by his side that will strangle and devour him if he ever does so. Unlike the red-haired forest children commonly imagined, his kijimuna is a large cephalothorax with vast brown hair covering him down to his knees that lives in a hut in the forest. With Obon around the corner, Shougo visits his grandmother in Okinawa. As he explores the places of his youth, it is discovered that his kijimuna is a figment of his imagination pieced together from memories, such as learning that banyan trees are also called strangler figs and, most importantly, spending time with a kind, large, and bearded man who lived with the regret of a past moral error. When that man suddenly died, Shougo began seeing the kijimuna. Shougo realizes there never was a threat of being devoured and that instead the kijimuna, be it the form of his own moral compass or a true guardian spirit, only wants him to make better choices than the kind man once did.
  • Doraemon: The Sleeping Sea Kingdom: The Unnaana are aliens that closely resemble the standard description of kijimuna as applied to the model outline of the eponymous character of Jungle Kurobe. The Unnaana came to Earth long ago and lived on a star-shaped island amidst the Ryukyu Islands from where they traveled all across the globe to help the infant human civilizations. When the Ice Age ended 12.000 years ago, the island was flooded and the Unnaana hurried back home. Jikim was accidentally left behind. One rocket remained for him in the domed capital city, but it required both an Unnaana and a human to launch. The Unnaana are only visible to kind-hearted humans, so Jikim had to wait. Keeping him company for that time was Oji-san, a holographic caretaker of the city who resembles a hairy elderly human. He commands at least one likely mechanical octopus for security. In present day, Jikim meets and befriends Nobita and tricks him into coming aboard the rocket with him so he can go home. Racked with guilt, Jikim destroys the rocket right before its launch. He reasons that he'll just stay with Oji-san, but the fact is that the barriers of the city are crumbling. Oji-san asks Doraemon for help and of course the robot has a space capsule to get Jikim home. A distressed Jikim promises Oji-san he'll return for him as he, Doraemon, and the children are transported to the surface.
  • Gaist Crusher: Jungle Kijimuna is a gaist that looks like it's composed of wood and leaves. It has the ability to stimulate plant growth wherever it pleases, which not only sabotages whatever the jungle overgrows but also gives Jungle Kijimuna a huge terrain advantage. Jungle Kijimuna is native to Okinawa, but Cypher summons it to Tekkou City in Episode 5. It subdues the city and easily evades Kuruma through the numerous branches. Rekka combines his fire power and the local river to create steam and catch Jungle Kijimuna off-guard, after which Kuruma's Extreme Form finishes off the gaist.
  • GeGeGe no Kitarō: Kijimuna are small furballs with bird faces, some of which are cephalothorax while others have a small body underneath their large heads. Depending on the medium, they're brown, yellow, or purple. They move in groups and switch around being Kitaro's allies or enemies. As allies, they're commonly good friends of the youngster Shisa.
  • Haitai Nanafa: Nina and Rana are kijimuna who live inside the two banyan trees in the Kyan Family's garden. They're locked into the kijimuna's realm by nails that are driven into the trees, but one day those come out and the kijimuna go live at the Kyan Household. Nina and Rana both have human form, being only recognizable as kijimuna to the eye by their red hair and green clothing accents. Their mother, Nana, is a blonde and wears no green at all. Personality-wise, all three can be brought to their knees by presenting them with octopi, the two girls are crazy about fish eyeballs, and at least Rana likes crabs. Nina is an unfortunate combination of delinquent and slacker and maintains a rivalry with both the shisa Ina and eldest Kyan sister Nao. Rana isn't innocent, but mostly gets hurt because she's Nina's sister. Kijimuna are supposed to bring blessings with them, but Nina couldn't be bothered and Rana has no control over her plant boosting so for her touching any greens is to be done with caution.
  • Interviews with Monster Girls: Kaoru Higa is a transfer student from Okinawa that joins the cast in Chapter 45. She's a kijimuna and can read people's emotions from the colors in their eyes. Not looking for social isolation, she wears shades to minimize the readings. The first friend Kaoru makes is Kyouko, because the dullahan is delightfully upfront. From Kaoru's talk with Takahashi about the nature of her Demi-ness, it is confirmed that kijimuna have reddish skin and ensure a good fishing trip, but if the whole living in trees thing ever was true it no longer is. It is furthermore found that Kaoru doesn't eat fish eyes and in fact is creeped out by them. Takahashi proposes that the eyes of corpses display colors from a different dimension and that kijimuna can pick up on those. This would merely catch the attention of a normal kijimuna, but a powerful one like Kaoru would experience the glimpse into the other dimension as uncanny. The theory goes even further with the suggestion that kijimuna can overwrite other creatures' thoughts and that is why their catch is always so abundant.
  • Stitch!: Kijimunaa is the sanshin-playing protector spirit of Izayoi Island and lives in the largest banyan tree in the center of Chitama Forest. He has a sister, Kijimagii, who lives on another island, and it's suggested that there was once a thriving kijimunaa community on Izayoi, but today there's only Kijimunaa. Kijimunaa are short and rotund creatures with brown skin and enough red-to-pink hair to hide in. Elderly kijimunaa have greyed hair, but no less volume. The hair hides the eyes, which is not immediately obvious because kijimunaa have prominent upturned nostrils that look like eyes. These nostrils can emit powerful gusts of wind and are an important symbol of the kijimunaa as shown by the kijimunaa sanctuary located in the Twin Caverns, which are giant nostrils hewn out of stone. In fact, the caverns are part of a giant stone kijimunaa with plant hair which origins aren't expanded on. Kijimunaa are very plant-oriented, as they have the ability to fuse into trees and heal plants with their tears. Kijimunaa himself becomes a friend of Yuna and Stitch when they help him get his tree back from a fire-breathing youkai named Tachichu.
  • Ushio and Tora: In "Story 35: Full Moon", three kijimun on Iriomote Island save a baby from being eaten by Kani-Majimun, a giant crab. They'd witnessed such a killing many times before, aware that Kani-Majimun would destroy them if they'd interfere, but because this child's face resembles the moon they take a chance. They fly a tree branch broomstick-style to the Sky Mansion in hopes of getting help from its lord, but find Ushio and Tora instead. The duo comes to their aid and fairly easily destroys Kani-Majimun.

Films — Animated

  • Summer Days with Coo: Kappa and kijimuna are related youkai. Once Coo becomes big news all over Japan, a kijimuna in Yanbaru on Okinawa invites him to stay with him for a while far away from human society. The kijimuna's face resembles that of a shisa and his mannerisms have a slight stutter as if he's partly inanimate. His hair is brown and his skin red and he has the ability to take human form. He and Coo get acquainted in the peaceful surroundings of Yanbura and the kijimuna promises Coo he'll teach him how to turn into a human too once he's properly rested.

Literature

  • Utsunomiko: Utsunomiko meets Kijimuna when he visits Akonaha in Volume 8. Kijimuna is a former god who's fallen into the state of youma. At the time of the meeting, Kijimuna is tormenting the locals in their sleep. Utsunomiko defeats and befriends them. Seeking to regain its divine nature, Kijimuna joins Utsunomiko on his own quest to achieve godhood. Incidentally, Kijimuna is said to be the same creature as the Korpokkur from Ezo.
  • The Zashiki Warashi of Intellectual Village: In Volume 2, Shinobu's grandmother finds a full-grown banyan tree on the path in her garden and so Shinobu checks it out. He's greeted by a shisa who explains that the tree is a kijimuna. The shisa has come to experience snow and the kijimuna only came along as a friend. While the shisa goes to see the yuki-onna, the kijimuna moves over to the garden so as not to be in anyone's way. Shinobu compares the way the roots move to the way snakes slither. Once in the garden, the kijimuna gets in a turf war with the furutsubaki and things only intensify when a second furutsubaki joins in. Rather than fight as trees, the youkai take the form of kimono-wearing children to beat each other up, which is simultaneously a transformation show-off. The fight comes to an end when the shisa calls that it's time to go home.

Live-Action TV

  • Churasan: Shortly before his death, Kazuya and his brother Fumiya dress up as kijimuna to entertain Eri. Years later, Eri faints from an untreated tumor while out on a walk with her and Fumiya's son Kazuya on Kohama Island. As the young boy rushes off to find help with no idea which way to go, his deceased uncle appears before him as a kijimuna and leads him to the nearest houses.
  • The Yokai King: Ippei is a coconut-born human who drifts ashore and is raised on Okinawa. His childhood friends are the kijimuna, which makes for a precarious friendship because his ability to see youkai is why he's alienated by his human peers. After his mother is attacked by a majimun, Ippei closes himself off from the supernatural and loses contact with the kijimuna.

Tabletop Games

  • Pathfinder: Kijimunas are goblinoids distinct from the rest due to their bright red hair and the little matter that they have a capacity for kindness. They are easily mistaken for children until the final years of their lives, with is on average at 15. Kijimunas love two things: fishing and pranking. They never target each other and believe that humans who are targeted should feel honored. Elderly kijimunas no longer have the physique to go out pranking, but they pay others to do it for them with the fish they catch now that fishing is all they have left to do. Kijimunas have a deep hatred for octopi and aren't very fond of spiders either because they could be octopi in disguise.

Video Games

  • Bahamut Brave: Kijimuna is a child-like nature spirit armed with a spear or harpoon. They're a long distance attacker and a rare card.
  • Dragon Collection: Kijimuna is of the forest attribute and resembles a puffy bird with a tree growing on top of them. They are the protector of the island and while friendly by default, they hold no mercy for anyone who cuts down trees.
  • Goemon's Great Adventure: Kijimuna are encountered starting Kaiware Road of the Underworld. As per Shigeru Mizuki's design, they are small bird-like creatures that operate in groups. They drop down from above to attack travelers, but aren't dangerous beyond their numbers.
  • Icchibanketsu -ONLINE-: Kijimuna is a woman with fiery red hair and a playful disposition. She falls under the ayakashi race and her type is deva. In combat, she benefits from resistance against fire and wood attacks.
  • Monster Rancher Advance 2: Kijimuna is of the Garu species and the Octopee breed. It's an orange furry creature with a tentacle as its prehensile tail. It's fond of fishing.
  • Monster Retsuden Oreca Battle: Kijimuna is B03-051, a weak wind-attributed card, and belongs to the Kaze Komo no Inbou set. It looks like a black ball with limbs hidden underneath red petals that serve as hair and that are tied together with green beads. Their home is the realm of Nirai Kanai.
  • Kemono Heroes: Kijimuna are red furballs with a green leaf crown. They're encountered in World 1-2, where they passively wait for the protagonists to jump on the hook of their fishing rod to momentarily stun them. They have no means to do damage themselves.
  • Onigiri: Kijimuna are a youkai family of tree spirits and comprise Kijimuna Maiden, Kijimuna, Akana, Momijina, and Onmoraki. With the exception of the humanoid Kijimuna Maiden, they look like bird-faced leafballs topped with two larger leafs. Kijimuna are blue, although the bestiary states that the skin underneath is red. They're both pranksters and protectors and are notably affectionate towards Kikuzou. Akana are red and reside on the moon ever since they were saved from a voracious oni. They're excellent fishers and enjoy crabs in particular. Momijina are an autumn-like orange and well-regarded medics. Onmoraki look like undead Akana with toothed top leafs and are said to be born from unburied corpses. Despite their origins and appearance, they're not that harmful. Lastly, Kijimuna Maiden appears as an anthromorphic Kijimuna with her blue hair and playful demeanor.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Kijimuna are recurring timid monsters in the series. Depending on the game, they belong to either the Fairy race or the Yoma race. They're represented by a little green furball with a flower sprouting from its head. The kijimuna's elemental associations change from game to game.
  • Tokyo Afterschool Summoners: Kijimuna is a tattooed kijimuna dressed mostly in just a few leaves. His hair is brown at the root and become red towards the ends. He carries mugwort with him for medicinal purposes, has no alliances, and only shows up during events. Kijimuna hails from an old giant banyan tree in Nirai Kanai, the world for which he is a Pillar. His move list is largely restorative and movement-based, whilehis offense is particularly effective against Gardeners and Creators.
  • Tomba!: Tomba's default look takes design cues from the kijimuna. He has wild pink hair and wears green fur or grass shorts. His monkey-like movement versatility also matches the kijimuna.
  • Yatagarasu: Kijimuna is a shadowy figure with red accents. He is the game's final boss and a Palette Swap of the protagonist Kou Hinukan, in whose body he resided prior. Kou himself is half human, half hinukan, the latter being an Okinawan hearth deity. Kou and Kijimuna both have an affinity with fire.
  • Yuki Yuna Is A Hero: A Sparkling Flower: Kijimuna is a brown furball with a tail and a myrtle binding together a tuft at the top. It is a spirit owned by Natsume Kohagura.

Visual Novels

  • LifeSigns: Surgical Unit: The people of Waginoma Island view the Kijimuna Elves as protector gods, although few actually believe they exist. Shizuku remembers seeing one as a child and Kaori regularly communicates with them. The Village Chief lost his wife and son 40 years ago in accident foretold by the kijimuna in a dream that he didn't heed. Ever since, he's wary of any bad omens. When three major misfortunes occur in quick succession, the Village Chief views these events as messages from the Kijimuna Elves to postpone the Greenery Day Festival. Kaori insists the kijimuna would never harm humans and along with Tendo uncovers logical explanations to get the Village Chief to put the celebrations back on schedule. During the festival, Kaori is telepathically warned by the kijimuna that Sora and Hikaru suffered a fall. She and Tendo find them and realize that Sora needs immediate intervention for a punctured lung. They have the tools, but no light. Right then, a Kijimuna Elf, a little rabbit-like creature with prehensile ears, jumps out of the bushes and generates a light ball. It leaves the moment Sora is stabilized, which is before anyone else arrives.

Web Games

  • AdventureQuest Worlds: There are several female forest spirits bearing the name "kijimuna". Green Kijimuna are found in Shogun War. Some need to be fought during the "We Need Supplies" and the "Tea for Me" quests for their pollen, which have healing properties. A green Mini Kijimuna as pet is a possible reward for completing "Tea for Me". Giant Kijimuna are red and wear oni masks as representation of their alliance with the Shadow Shogun. They can be obtained as pets by completing the "Empowered Shadow Medallions" quest in Shogun War. Defeating the blue Aozora Kijimuna found in the Aozora Hills may lead to the attainment of a Mini Aozora Kijimuna or a Giant Aozora Kijimuna as pets. Aozora Kijimuna Cape is another possible drop, which is a living Aozora Kijimuna that act like a cape.
  • Shikihime Garden: Kijimuna are mobs found in several areas and as boss fights in Forest of Banquet and Castle of Snow Banquet. They're red furry creatures with a hat, a bird mask, and clawed feet. Their description stated that they're fond of fish and fishing.


Haniwa are clay statues from the end of the Yayoi period through the Kofun period to the early part of the Asuka period. They're funerary objects and may have been made to replace human sacrifices. The Nihon Shoki mentions that Emperor Suinin, who is thought to have ruled from 29 BCE to 70 CE, issued an edict to erect clay statues furing funerals and not hurt people.

Haniwa are an example of Haji pottery, mass-produced objects of clay that are unglazed but sometimes painted. They become popular during the 1970s along with the dogu and have been incorporated in loads of fiction. The funerary element may be present, but just as likely they are present for comedic purposes. Haniwa are also prone to be connected with other elements assigned to their general era of production, whether by legend or science. The legendary Queen Himiko and the Seven-Branched Sword are examples of such elements.

    Living Haniwa Examples 

Advertising

  • 8020 Yogurt by Shikoku Yogurt (2010): Two haniwa dance around a carton of yogurt and show off their healthy teeth.
  • Izumizaki: Izumi-chan is a haniwa with a magatama necklace who acts as the mascot of Izumizaki, Fukushima. She's 1400 years old, loves fashion and collecting magatama, and before becoming a mascot she had a job as a grave keeper.
  • Sakai: CHO (Chief Haniwa Officer) is the Haniwa Director of the Furuichi Kofungun and Mozu Kofungun and active in Sakai, Osaka since 2019. He is 1600 years old and looks like a man with a full dancing haniwa for a head.
  • Shibayama: Since 2014, Shibakko-kun is the mascot of Shibayama, Chiba and the Shibayama Haniwa Festival in particular. He is 1400 years old and shares his birthday with the festival's date (second Sunday of November) because that was the day he woke up to its sounds. Prior, he was asleep in the museum. He has a jetpack in honor of Narita Airport and is good friends with Unari-kun and Kutan. On the nature side, the jetpack is decorated with a lantern lily, he wears a flower necklace, and from Shibakko-kun's helmet grows a little sprout.
  • Takatsuki: Hani-tan is the haniwa mascot of Takatsuki, Osaka since 2012. Their place of birth is given as the Imashirozuka Kofun and the date is August 20th, which is Haniwa Day in Takatsuki. Hani-tan is modeled after a warrior dug up at the Imashirozuka Kofun, but may or may not share its gender.
  • Tokyo National Museum: Since 2012, the haniwa-based Tohaku-kun is the mascot of the Tokyo National Museum alongside the liriodendron-inspired Yurinoki-chan. They were introduced to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the museum.
  • Yao City Shionjiyama Kofun Learning Center: The mascot of the Shionjiyama Kofun museum in Yao, Osaka is the Haniwa Emperor. His design is a clothed, humanoid adaptation on the kinugasagata haniwa that were recovered from atop the kofun. The Haniwa Emperor seeks to expand the Haniwa Empire by giving tours at the museum.

Anime and Manga

  • Flint the Time Detective: There are two haniwa-based time shifters due to one being replaced by the other when the franchise went through a final revision.
    • Haniwani is introduced in Chapter 1 of the manga. It is a crocodile-based haniwa without legs and with mizura-styled head ornaments. It has has very strong jaws capable of crushing through rock. The name "Haniwani" is a portmanteau of "haniwa" and "wani", which means "crocodile".
    • Jitterbug (Hani-Hani in Japanese) is a simplistic human-shaped haniwa with mizura-styled head ornaments. He has the power to force others to dance in a metronome-like fashion and, being pottery, he both easily breaks and is reassembled. Before being retrieved, he hangs around in 2nd Century Japan when Queen Himiko has only just begun her reign and isn't a strong leader yet. In the manga, she reassembles and befriends Jitterbug, but one piece of the time shifter ends up in Petra's hands. This piece gets stamped and returned to Jitterbug, which brings him under Petra's control. As Jitterbug-Con (Hani-Waru in Japanese), he is capable of consuming clay to turn into missiles, which is too much for the Time Police to handle. Himiko's pleas to Jitterbug to remember her do work and the time shifter returns to normal. In the anime, Jitterbug barely interacts with Himiko and instead bonds with Flint.
  • Gregory Horror Show: It is said that all cubicle-dwellers that live only for raises and promotions and forget about their friends and family become hollow and deadened haniwa in the end. Stephen Haniwa Salaryman, for instance, is strongly implied to be the new form of the First Guest.
  • Inazuma Eleven GO Galaxy: In Episode 21, Shinsuke and Tetsukado become trapped in a holographic match in the Black Room. The arena is underground and their opponents are a team of animate haniwa. Because the match was set up for Shinsuke to work on his capacity for defense, the only means to end the program is for him and Tetsukado to prevent a goal by the Haniwa Team. It takes a little, but eventually Shinsuke succeeds, ending the program and the haniwa.
  • Kasumin: Ms. Haniwa (Alice Clay in English) is the loyal and reliable housekeeper of the Kasumin Household. She has hair, is composed of a tan-colored clay, and wears a shirt with a magatama depicted on it. Haniwa gets married and officially quits around the arrival of Kasumi, to whom she hands over her duties. Nonetheless, she shows up daily to make sure everything's running smoothly. In S1E21, she invites the moai representatives to stay at the Kasumin Household instead of going to a hotel and is most in tune with their customs and needs. Starting the second season, it's revealed that Haniwa has a sibling who is a dogu. Her niece, Dogu, visits from time to time.
  • Magical Circle Guru-Guru: When Barckweener got bored writing the Guru Guru Tome, he enchanted it with incarnation gas that would bring about a haniwa to give instructions to who would inherit the tome. Kukuri opens the tome in Chapter 27 (Epsode 24 of the 1994 anime and 6 of the 2017 anime), thereby summoning the richly dressed haniwa. It gives the instructions and dissolves back into gas once its task is finished.
  • The Monster Kid: Haniwa is a living haniwa posing as a human with surprising success given his minimally humanoid appearance. He's a zealous defender of justice who beats up bullies as readily as he broadcasts to the entire school that Hiroshi intended to cheat on a test. Every time he is about to deliver justice, he strikes a dancing pose, and if needed, his eyes start glowing as he grows into a giant haniwa warrior. He is powerful in that form, but still only as strong as hollow baked clay can be. Tarou smashes Haniwa into pieces, but as he means well he and Hiroshi put the haniwa back together. Grateful, Haniwa leaves the area to spread justice elsewhere.
  • Monster Strike (2016): The haniwa-commanding Himiko is Shino's signature monsters. Her army consists of a lot of small ones and one giant armored one that is entombed in a kofun until he is called for. In Episodes 30-31, Himiko and the haniwa take on Napoleon and her usafines as summoned by Aoi. While Himiko theoretically is superior, her element is fire and that of Napoleon is water, so Napoleon wins the battle. In Episode 43, Haruma summons Himiko and her army as a means to defeat the wood-aligned Kushinada, which ends much better for the haniwa army.
  • Nintama Rantarou: Sekito Haniwa is a transfer student whose face resembles a haniwa, hollow eyes included. His hair is in the mizura-style and his clothes sport a haniwa print.

Films — Live-Action

  • Daimajin: Daimajin is a kaiju-sized haniwa warrior infused with a violent spirit by Shino, the warrior who defeated it. While holding the spirit, the statue bleeds if injured and it has a green hidden face that reveals itself when Daimajin is roused from its slumber. In times of chaos, such as that of the Sengoku Period, Daimajin comes to life one way or another to punish all evildoers. Because the threshold for "evildoer" is low, his appearance is not solely a blessing and only someone willing to give their life can stop the haniwa warrior. This usually ends with the spirit leaving the statue, which returns it to its rocky state.

Live-Action TV

  • Choudenshi Bioman: In Episode 18, the Mecha-Gigan Haniwa Canth awakens, but the Biomen are warned in advance by a local girl, Risa, who can see the future. Unbeknownst to anyone, she gets this power from her necklace, which contains a piece of the planet Levy. The necklace also can temporarily disable Haniwa Canth, which gives the Biomen a chance to escape after the robotic warrior gives them a beatdown. The next encounter proceeds in favor of the Biomen and even when Haniwa Canth opens its face to reveal a laser cannon it can't prevent its own destruction.
  • Gosei Sentai Dairanger: Haniwa Ventriloquist is one of Gara's soldiers. He appears as a man with a moon-face and a haniwa-shaped ventriloquist puppet, but the truth is that it is the "puppet" who is the puppeteer of the moon-faced "man". Any time the large body gets destroyed, Haniwa Ventriloquist can reassemble it. In Episode 16, he is tasked with turning children into statues in order to find those who could join the Gorma Tribe. Haniwa Ventriloquist's short stature is useful in this regard, because it allows him to pretend to be another child. It takes the Dairangers a bit to figure out the large body is a mere puppet, but eventually they get it right and electrocute him through his own puppeteer wires.
  • Ooi! Hanimaru!: Hanimaru and Hinbee are a haniwa duo consisting of a princely warrior and a horse. They started as a painting by Seiichi and were brought to life by the frame he'd created. Because they are from the Kofun Period, they initially don't speak modern Japanese, but learn with the help from their new friends. Hanimaru's Catchphrase is "hanya" and Hinbee is prone to say "funya". In addition to being Hanimaru's mount, Hinbee also is his valet and decidedly smarter than his master.

Tabletop Games

  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Haniwa and its Palette Swap Rock Spirit are haniwa monsters. They're of the earth attribute an while Haniwa's type is rock, Rock Spirit's is spellcaster. Haniwa is a member of the Normal Quintet featured in three trap and spell cards and also shows up as Treasure Panda's loot.
  • Z/X Zillions of enemy X: The three cards Invincible Haniwa, Honey-One, Strongest Haniwa King, Honey-One, and Perfectly Invincible Haniwa, Honey-Shogun all represent living haniwa. Invincible Haniwa, Honey-One depicts a dancing haniwa, while the other two look little like any of the usual haniwa forms. Perfectly Invincible Haniwa, Honey-Shogun is the only one with wings, but the other two share in the flight theme because they each have a bird perched on their shoulder. All three are inhabitants of the technologicallly advanced Blue World.

Toys

  • Neclos Fortress: Haniwa is one of the monsters from the third line. It resembles the haniwa warrior.

Video Games

  • Animal Crossing: Haniwa have enjoyed a solid presence in the series from its inception.
    • Gyroids (Haniwa in Japanese) are a type of sapient furniture usually obtained by digging them up on days that follow after rain or snow. Gyroids are organized into 39 families of which members share similar aesthetics but differ in sizes. The name "gyroid" comes from the fact they gyrate to the rhythm of the song playing in the house they're placed in. Gyroids are worth 828 points to the housing association and they sell for 828 bells, "828" being an homonym for "haniwa". In the first game, a gyroid is permanently stationed next to the player's house as the save point and as a representative of the player should a visitor drop by. Animal Crossing: City Folk introduces Lloid, a gyroid who goes through several jobs: auctioneer, foreman, rental store owner, and miner.
    • If in the first game the player visits another town and shuts off the system, they'll have a haniwa face the first time they start up their game file thereafter. This serves as a reminder to always save at the gyroid stationed at your house.
    • Coco is one villagers that are living objects. She is a haniwa rabbit. Her Japanese name, Yayoi, references the people and period that produced haniwa statues. Coco's house is always earthy and sombre, reflecting a haniwa's funerary purpose. For most of the series, she has K.K. Dirge playing in her home.
    • A game series villagers sometimes talk about if Gyroid Joe, presumably related to Super Gyroid Brothers. By the sound of it, a gyroid is the protagonist.
  • Bomberman: Little Demons (Komajin in Japanese) are hopping haniwa-based enemies with low health and low speed.
  • Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams: A sub-boss encountered in front of the mansion in the first level are a number of floating boulders controlled by a warrior haniwa head. Shooting its head makes pupils light up in the otherwise hollow sockets.
  • Final Fantasy Legend II: Haniwa is a boss-level enemy encountered on the last floor of the Central Shrine. It has 10000 health points and automatically recovers 1000 each turn. It has access to bash, quake, and flare, but the most dangerous is when it attacks with the Seven(-Prong) Sword. This sword is also a possible drop from the haniwa and one of the best weapons in the game.
  • Final Fantasy: Cactuar is among the series' iconic creatures. It's a cactus-haniwa hybrid normally posed in running adaptation of its dancing form. They are both fast and evasive due to their ability to hide underground.
  • Genji Tsuushin Agedama: In the underground level Kyōfu no Chika Teikoku, Genji encounters ghosts that resemble haniwa that wear hats. They're not strong, but they come in large numbers.
  • Hani: Two haniwa are the protagonists of the series. They're the brown Honey, who appears in both games, and the grey Lemon, who joins in the second game. Their boss, the god Izanagi, resembles a legless humanoid haniwa.
    • Hani in the Sky: Honey is contacted by Izanagi to take out all the other gods. For the first level, Honey flies over several kofun until they find one guarded by Omoikane. Upon defeating him, Honey proceeds on his quest by entering the kofun.
    • Hani on the Road: Honey and Lemon are called upon by Izanagi to defeat Takeminakata, who has a lot more minions than the gods of the previous game to go through first.
  • Haunted Museum: Haniwa are among the exhibits that come to life in the Ancient Civilization exhibition room.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Arm-Mimics resemble haniwa. They don't have any form of attack, but copy their target's move and do heavy Collision Damage.
  • Kabuki Rocks: Haniwa Robo's are enemies first encountered in the Tokyo Sewers on Kyou. They are cephalothorax robots with hollow haniwa faces.
  • Kirby: Cappy is a recurring enemy that resembles a living mushroom. If inhaled once, their cap comes off, revealing that they are haniwa pretending to be living mushrooms. They're distraught when their caps get eaten. The caps can be used as ammo and inhaling the full Cappy does not net any abilities.
  • The Hoohooligans from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and the Hooskis from Mario & Luigi: Dream Team are inhabitants of the Beanbean Kingdom with hollow-looking faces and curled arms that make them resemble Haniwa statues. Despite their rigid postures and association with stony mountain areas, though, they're not statues but humanoid beans.
  • Medabots: Haniwa Golem and its upgrade Haniwa (Mirror) are haniwa-based hover-type medabots of the HNI-line. Neither medabot is capable of attack, but they can absorb and deflect most of what the enemy throws at them.
  • Mischief Makers: The Clancers are haniwa-like robots, a fact emphasized by their resemblance to the actual haniwa enshrined in the Item Shrine. For that matter, everything on the planet Clancer has a haniwa-like face and more than just the Clancers are alive, such as clanballs and flowers. The Clancers are peaceful but extremely naive creatures easily swayed by evil influences. Marina gets to deal with them a lot as quest givers and as enemies. Of note are Calina, a Clancer who has the ability to mimic Marina, and Cat Clancer, who acts as Marina's mount for a time.
  • Monster Strike: Haniwa show up both as a team and as servants of Himiko.
    • Hanashike is one of the dark-aligned monsters and gets classified as a sprite. They're a Hatcher Monster and like most of those has no ascended form. Hanashike's evolution, called Himiko's Attendant in Japanese, nets the critter the ability to create four copies for a Sentai Quintet.
    • Himiko is a fire-aligned paladin who commands an army of small haniwa in her default form and her evolved form. In her ascended form, she may count a giant armored haniwa among her servants.
  • Ōkami: The Clay Army (Haniwa in Japanese) are living warrior figures that dwell in Shinshu Field a 100 years in the past. They come in five classes, the first of which is the green Clay Soldier who is armed with a pipe. Stronger than them is the red Clay Samurai who wields a sword. Thereafter follows the yellow Clay Drummer, who carries around a drum and tunnels around underground. The Clay Flyer is blue and takes to the sky with a kite. The Clay Shogun is white and the strongest, showing up to battle with a portable cannon. The Clay Army is said to be inhabited by the souls of deceased warriors that are infected by Orochi's dark influence.
  • Ōkamiden: The Clay Army (Haniwa in Japanese) consists of Clay Soldiers, Clay Samurai, and Clay Steeds. Clay Soldiers and Clay Samurai are human warriors, armed with piped ans swords respectively, while Clay Steeds are warhorses. The former two are statues inhabited by the souls of deceased warriors, while the Clay Steeds are manifestations of horses that were buried alive. They've lost their bodies due to nature and grave robbers and thus search the land for their missing parts. All of the Clay Army dwell in Shinshu Field a 100 years in the past.
  • pop'n music 18 Sengoku Retsuden: Hanico ("Clay Girl") is a haniwa with a humanoid form with her hair in the mizura-style. She's an idol in the haniwa society and always is accompanied by other haniwa as backup dancers. Her background image depicts multiple brightly colored kofun. Hanico's birthplace is an ancient imperial grave and her birthdate of August 25th (825) is a homonym for "hani[g]o". If she misses or loses, Hanico returns to a simpler haniwa form like her backup dancers, which is something she doesn't like to happen.
  • Touhou Kikeijuu ~ Wily Beast and Weakest Creature: Keiki Haniyasushin, who is based on the ancient clay-kneading god Haniyasu, is the creator of the Haniwa Army Corps. It is the purpose of the corps to protect the home of the human spirits from invasion by the animal spirits. Because of the superiority of the haniwa, who need neither rest nor nourishment and can't be harmed by incorporeal entities, their task is too easily fulfilled, causing them to invade the home of the animal spirits. Most of the haniwa are of the dancing type, but Haniwa Lance Corporal Mayumi Joutouguu is a human-looking haniwa based on the haniwa warrior. She commands the corps and can summon archers, fencers, cavalry, or the whole lot at once to her aid. Her personal strength is in her loyalty to Keiki Haniyasushin: the more loyal she is, the stronger she is. Mayumi acts as the Stage 5 boss and Stage 6 midboss.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: There are two haniwa-based yo-kai and they are both classified as Treasure Yo-kai.
    • Fitwit (Yamato Bokeru in Japanese) is a haniwa in imperial regalia, though with a commoner's mizura hair style. His Japanese name is a portmanteau of Yamato Takeru, a legendary prince from the Yayoi Period, and boke, and therefore he is someone who keeps making jokes and becomes more powerful the less his humor is appreciated. Fitwit belongs to the Slippery Tribe and is of the earth element.
    • Encore Dead is a yo-kai that resembles a spectral zombie with three heads and a golden High Collar of Doom composed of four seated haniwa. They're Encore Dead's audience encouraging him to repeat himself. Encore belongs to the Eerie Tribe and is of the fire element.

Western Animation

  • The Venture Bros.: In "Return to Spider-Skull Island", Dr. Orpheus mentions that he's been getting a steady shipment of chai tea ever since he saved the emperor from an army of clay samurai warriors. While ambiguous, the "clay samurai warriors" are most likely haniwa.


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/zizomanzyt_zizomandrum.png
Mi kasa es su kasa.

(Daigan) Jizō (Bosatsu) is the Japanese name for the bodhisattva better known as Kṣitigarbha. Because he has postponed his own ascension to Buddhahood until all hells have become empty, Kṣitigarbha is a guardian deity of the souls stuck in hell. In Japan, he is specifically worshipped as a protector of deceased children and fetuses, who are stranded at the banks of the Sanzu River. Statues of him, simply called jizō, are therefore a common sight near or at cemeteries. Jizō placed along roads away from cemeteries and shrines are plentiful as well and cast the bodhisattva in the role of roadside guardian. Placement of jizō varies from a single statue in the open, one or more statues placed in a shrine, to multiple statues in a row. Groupings of six have significance as symbols of the six realms of existence.

The core design principle of jizō is that they look like a Buddhist monk. They are bald, have long ears, wear a urna, are dressed in a robe, and carry a peaceful expression. They may hold their hands together in prayer or hold a khakkhara on the right and a cintamani on the left. Because of Jizō's association with children, some statues are childlike in appearance with big heads and cute faces. It is practice to adorn the statues with hats, bibs, bandanas, scarfs, and other such accessories. There is no prescribed color for the fabric, but by far the most popular and iconic is red. Food is another customary offering to jizō, and flowers, toys, and other small items are possible gifts too. Small piles of pebbles placed nearby jizō are to alleviate the workload of deceased children, who have to build a tower of pebbles to escape the river bank.

The ubiquity of jizō in the Japanese landscape has given rise to numerous folktales in which these statues come to life. If they do, they're imagined as aspects of Jizō but all the same separate entities and it's about as likely that a given living jizō is benevolent as it's likely that it's malevolent. After all, the statues are theoretically in contact with hell and there's an undeniable creepiness to having to pass by one or several little humanoid forms while out alone. It's not necessarily that all of them would be dangerous, but rather that one among the statues is a monster Hidden in Plain Sight. Or they might attract a real monster, as for instance is the case with the ubume that sometimes carries not a child with her but a jizō. Haunted jizō, whether malicious or just uncanny, may be referred to as bake-jizō.

The best-known folktales involving living jizō are Kasa Jizō and Kesakiri Jizō. In Kasa Jizō, an impoverished elderly couple donates spare kasa and one of their own to a row of jizō to shield them from the cold weather. The statues visit them later and generously repay them for their kindness with money and food. In Kesakiri Jizō, a haunted jizō scares passers-by with its eerie laughter and long red tongue until a samurai cuts it in two. Kesakiri Jizō is an example of a Warai Jizō (Laughing Jizō) story. It also is a twist on the popular Migawari Jizō or Substitute Jizō motif, which is about jizō taking a human's place as recipient of harm. Such a Heroic Sacrifice often leaves the statue headless or split in two.

The first modern work to feature a living jizō may be Bake-Jizō, one of the two oldest Japanese horror films, both finished in 1898 and both lost. No details remain of the film, but the title suggests that a jizō would have played a role, quite likely as an antagonist. In the decades after, depictions have come to lean more towards a positive portrayal influenced by Kasa Jizō. Being nice to a jizō is close to a guarantee it'll be indebted to you, which usually is a favorable situation but may result in comedic Unwanted Assistance. On the other hand, a slighted jizō is dangerous. In contrast to folktales in which injured jizō always bleed, modern works depict stone as stone. Equally, the folkloric possibility for a living jizō to be another youkai in disguise, such as a tanuki or a hitotsume nyūdō, is rarely reproduced nowadays, even in regards to evil jizō.

In regards to the word "jizō", the Japanese language allows wordplay that doesn't translate easily to English. The name "Ji-zō" is composed of the kanji for "earth-place of safekeeping", but can phonetically be interpreted to mean "old man-statue". There are other puns possible, but "old man-statue" is particularly fitting. Another bit of linguistic flexibility is that in Japanese, the "ji" and the "zi" aren't distinct letters, meaning that there's greater room for puns than in English.

Sub-Trope of Living Statue. Compare Genie in a Bottle for another monster that becomes indebted if cleaned.

    Living Jizō Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Blood-C: The first Elder Bairn dealt with takes the poetic form of a jizō with the arms of praying mantis. It shows up floating on the lake near the shrine, where it fights and is killed by Saya.
  • Dororo: In Episode 20, a spider youkai haunts a jizō, granting it limited facial movement and extra limbs if needed. It preys on humans by insisting that someone babysits it and then driving the caretaker to the end of their energy with demands for lullabies and being carried. When finally its caretaker gets to sleep, they're an easy meal. Hyakkimaru kills it when he saves Dororo from being eaten.
  • GeGeGe no Kitarō: In Episode 89 of the fifth series, a little girl whose mother is in the hospital gives a jizō her umbrella against the snow. On Kitaro's request, Ido-Sennin gives the statue a potion to move so that it has the means to go to the hospital and cure the girl's mother.
  • How to Keep a Mummy: In Episode 8, the protagonists decide they need a youkai-sitter for when they are at school. Sora and Tazuki know just the people for that, because they've been helping out at the Outotsu Shrine and befriended the local god and elderly jizō. They keep the statue clean and well-fed with dumplings, thereby having earned the right for them and their friends to call him "Gramps" ("Ji-san"). Because he's a statue, he can move his body, but he can't move from his spot, which becomes inconvenient when Mii-kun goes missing.
  • Sgt. Frog: Jizozo is one of the many Keronians that debut in Keroro Land, specifically Volume 20. He resembles a jizō, complete with peaceful demeanor and a Keronian take on the khakkhara.
  • Katatsumuri-chan: Before the Old School Building was built, its grounds were in use as an execution site. To appease the spirits, a jizō was set down. This statue was removed during the school's construction with little care, causing its head to break off and become lost. The headless statue returned as a school ghost to retrieve its head. The jizō has trouble talking like this, but a lot of random items will do as a temporary head.
  • Kimi ni Todoke: In an early chapter, Sawako gets her long hair drenched in the rain because she left her umbrella to cover an ownerless dog. As she emerges from a bathroom stall with her head wrapped up to dry it off, a classmate initially mistakes her for "Jizo-san" because of the resemblance.
  • The Morose Mononokean: In Chapters 4-7 (Episode 3), the protagonists work on the case of Mitsuchigura's missing mask. Mitsuchigura is a hollow-eyed jizō wearing a red bandana, blue robe, and beaded necklace. Because he is a statue, he has no facial expressions of his own and uses three masks corresponding to laughter, sadness, and anger to convey his emotional state. However, he's lost the laughter one when Abeno sent him to the underworld a month prior, so now he's back to retrieve it. Ashiya discovers the mask to be stuck to the face of Tatsuma Fujiwara, who has been struck with uncontrollable laughter ever since he found it, and removes it by showing Tatsuma his daughter's crying face. Mitsuchigura is very grateful to be complete again and returns to the underworld.
  • Natsume's Book of Friends: Natsume meets Haru Jizō in Chapter 15 (Episode 22) when the latter warns him that he's in danger from a tree. Haru Jizō is a youkai that takes the appearance of a hollow-eyed jizō almost twice as big as a human. He travels the country every spring to cryptically tell people what fate has in store for them.
  • O-Jizō Quest: A month ago, Himeno fixed up three identical jizō that were left in disarray in the rain. To repay the favor, they've been her weird posse since. Their names are Ichiro, Jiro, and Saburo and they have human forms to walk around freely in. They do need to concentrate to maintain their human forms, so dozing off is something they can't do in public. During a school trip to the ocean, Himeno discovers another trio of jizō statues ceremonially buried underwater. Unlike her friends, they're made of wood, and one looks more like a dogu while another has a face that resembles a moai. Himeno brings them to the surface, and they reveal themselves to be evil jizō born from selfish wishes and turned rotten in the water. Their leader is Kaizo, the dogu is female and named Iroko, and the moai-faced one is Asa. They too have human forms. A battle ensues between the groups of jizō, which is won by the good ones. They awkwardly become friends thereafter.
  • Plastic Nee-san: In Chapter 85, a shrine holding two jizō is temporarily moved from the street to school grounds because of roadworks. These two are Ai-Jizō for relationship requests and Kin-Jizō for monetary appeals. Nee-san is displeased by how dirty they are and cleans them up. That night, the statues crash through her window to reward her kindness with a wish. Nee-san asks who's stronger of the two because she wants that one to grant her wish. Ai-Jizō tries to diffuse the situation until Kin-Jizō insists that money beats love at which point it's an all-night brawl. Nee-san never gets her wish and the next morning Kin-Jizō lies knock-out in the corner of the shrine where Ai-Jizō remains in pristine condition.
  • Ranma ½: In Chapters 350-351, Mousse gifts a jizō the scarf Shampoo didn't want. The jizō repays the offering by taking the appearance of Shampoo to go on dates with him. Mousse doesn't see through the statue's poor disguise or immense weight and he imagines the dates to take place at fancy establishments while actually they're at the statue's shrine and at the cemetery. This seems to be less the magic-wielding statue's doing and more Mousse's wishful-thinking combined with sleep deprivation. The others, thinking that the statue is harming Mousse, try to take the scarf back, but the statue won't give it up. By accident, Shampoo gives the statue ramen, which makes it turn into Ranma to repay her. Shampoo's done with the situation by this point and gifts Mousse a scarf so that the statue will consider the debt repaid. It returns to its shrine and to the protagonists' knowledge never comes to life again.
  • School Rumble: In Chapter 322, Lara walks by a jizō shrine and taking pity on the statues' bald heads she wraps a headscarf around each of them and gives the last one a luchador mask. That night, the jizō break into Yagami High School to repay her kindness. Most of them glide, but the one with the mask somersaults, among others straight into Koriyama when he tells them to go away. Lara is given a load of money, but arrested the next day on accusation of stealing from the shrine's offering box.
  • Tanikamen: At the countryside summer festival in "The Black Jizō Statue", the protagonists are warned to stay away from the mountain path because there's a shrine up there that houses a black jizō. This statue is known to kill people. The story only provokes the four to investigate, even though from early on there are signs that the statue is watching them. When they reach the shrine, eyes peer out from its darkness and all but Tani are frozen where they stand. Tani destroys the shrine, but the statue rolls out unharmed. It's then all four fall prey to hallucinations that aim to drive them off the cliffside. By chance, Tani breaks out of his hallucination and proceeds to smash the statue to bits, which ends its reign of terror.
  • Yamamoto Zenjirou to Moushimasu: In Chapter 8, Hotate gives a jizō some flowers just before she gets lost in the forest running after a rainbow. The statue manifests itself as a talking rabbit to lead the girl home safely.
  • Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories: Two instances of living jizō occur.
    • In "Substitute Jizo", an oddly agonized-looking jizō appears to a girl on her route home. Taking a leap, she wishes for her crush to break up with his girlfriend, which comes true the next day. The girl goes to thank the jizō, but in a twist on the usual substitution, to repay her wish she is made to take the jizō's place as statue until she fulfills the wish of the next person.
    • In "Curse", a boy accidentally bumps into and beheads a jizō. Rumors of a curse, overheard gossip, and his own paranoia drive him mad until he trips and falls down the stairs leading to the jizō's location. He dies from a broken neck or cracked skull as the jizō's decapitated head looks on in satisfaction.

Folklore

  • Kasa Jizō: An elderly man fails to sell his home-made kasa and returns home through the snow without food. As he passes by six jizō, he reasons that they must be cold and as an offering puts a kasa on each. He is short one kasa, so he hands the last statue his own (or another piece of clothing). When he returns home and tells his wife what he did, she's proud of his good deed. Later that night, the couple is awakened by knocking and when they open the door they find food and riches laid out before them. Over in the distance, they spot the six jizō marching away.
  • Hitosarai Jizō: In the area of Tottori, a jizō goes around abducting almost every resident from a mountain village because the roof of its shrine further up the mountain has collapsed and no one has come to fix it. None of the residents is aware of this and the remaining few get a huntsman involved to save them. He shoots the jizō when it returns that night and it surrenders. It explains its behavior and promises to return everyone if the shrine gets repaired. Instead, the villagers build a new shrine more beautiful than before and no one got abducted anymore.
  • Kesakiri Jizō: The area of Kosai, Shizuoka suffers from a row of six jizō, of which one comes to life to frighten passers-by. A young samurai heads out to defeat the evil and when he arrives one of the statues turns into a large hitotsume nyūdō that sticks its bright red tongue out at the samurai and laughs eerily. The samurai slashes the youkai with his sword and it disappears screaming. The next day, he returns to find that one of the statues has the same injury as inflicted on the hitotsume nyūdō.
  • Nonbee Jizō: A tofu-seller is visited by a strange man who wants him to put a block of tofu in a sake bottle. The tofu-seller argues that's not possible but sells him the tofu when the man insists. Somehow, he gets the tofu in the bottle. A sake-seller has the same issue when the strange man wants him to pour the sake in a basket. He relents and somehow the sake doesn't spill through. The strange man returns some days later and the two sellers follow the trail of tofu crumbs and sake driblets until they reach a jizō that smells of sake and has bits of tofu around its mouth.
  • Tofu Jizō: A tofu-seller begins to scam his customers by providing less and lower quality tofu. One day, an unfamiliar man pays with money that later becomes a leaf. Not one to let that just happen, whether dealing with a human trickster or a youkai, the tofu-seller follows the unfamiliar man when he returns the next day. He injures him with a knife, but loses sight of him at the cemetery. After some searching, he finds that a jizō has the same injury he inflicted on the unfamiliar man. The tofu-seller repents and returns to being honest with his customers.

Literature

  • The Old Woman Who Lost Her Dumpling: Hot on the trail of a runaway dumpling, the woman finds herself running on a desolate road lines with jizō. She asks them if they've seen her dumpling and they have, but they warn her to turn around because she's heading for oni territory. The woman refuses, but she does hide behind one of the statues when an oni approaches. The oni and the statues greet each other cordially until her human scent gives the woman away. The statues request that the oni doesn't hurt her, which he obliges because he didn't intend to.

Tabletop Games

  • Duel Masters: ZIZO Town is a joint reference to Kasa Jizō and the mail order website ZOZOTown. The card is part of the Kirifuda x Onifuda King Wars!!! booster pack and is both a member of the Jokers and Team Kirifuda. Depicted are six jizō in winter accessories carrying food and money.
  • Force of Will: The Six Jizo Statues is a card that's part of the The Strangers of New Valhalla expansion. Its of the Resonator type for youkai and its element is wind. Its Flavor Text reads: "While it may take time, they will always return the favor."

Urban Legends

  • The vanishing jizō of Kanmangafuchi Abyss: The story goes that the long row of jizō at the abyss was once even longer. Originally, there'd been a 100, donated by the Daisoujou Tenkai, but around 30 got lost during the flood of 1902. Supposedly, nowadays you could count all you want, the number of statues you find each time differs. Some accounts mention the rustling of plants as if the jizō themselves move around when nobody's watching.
  • The talking Jizō of the Shogin-ji Temple in Taito, Tokyo: One variant of the story of Shirai Gonpachi states that he hid behind the jizō of the Shogin-ji Temple to await one of his victims. Upon making his kill, he instructed the statue not to tell on him, to which it replied it wouldn't. This is an adaptation of various rumors that the statue talked and moved his head, because Gonpachi would've been executed some twenty years prior to the statue's creation. The statue is said to no longer talk because it was damaged during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and got its head replaced.

Video Games

  • The Battle Cats: Kasa Jizo is a unit unlocked during the Ancient Heroes Ultra Souls. It consists of kasa-wearing cat with a gun-toting jizō in a basket. During attack, the statue rises up from the basket and shoots the opponent. Kasa Jizo's evolutions are Jizo's Moving Castle and Jizo's Mega-Castle, mobile fortresses that belong to the Jizo Organization. The cat, now without kasa, is stationed at the top and four kasa-wearing jizō are stationed on armed balconies on the sides. In the center of the fortress is a door behind which a fifth kasa-less jizō hides until it has charged its attack.
  • Blood Warrior: Ikkyu is a living jizō and one of only two non-human combatants, the other being the kappa Sanpei. He is named after the historical monk Ikkyū Sōjun. As a living statue, Ikkyu has a set countenance and while his body is free to move, he tends to keep his hands together in prayer, leaving him to kick and headbutt his way through a fight. Ikkyu is a standard stone jizō with a red cap and bib, while his Mirror Match self is made of gold. His home stage is a Buddhist temple where three other stone jizō cheer him on. The caps and bibs of two of them are blue, while the third is dressed in green.
  • Bonze Adventure: The monk Kackremboh is guided on his journey by jizō, who appear at the end of each level to encourage him and take him a level further.
  • Culdcept Revolt: Stone Jizo is a neutral-type monster with an item limit for weapons and armor. It looks like a standard jizo adorned with a red bib. It is immune to magic as long as it's the primary target and can't be forcibly moved. Its greatest power is its power over the land, which it can change into multi-element territory at the cost of its own life.
  • Cotton: Jizō are recurring enemies in the series. They're usually encountered while standing or floating peacefully. If shot, their bodies are destroyed and the heads float around holding a Power-Up. To claim the items, the heads need to be destroyed first.
  • Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban: Jizō are among the enemies found in Japan. They fight by hopping and stomping.
  • Downwell: The shopkeepers are living jizō. They're hollow-eyed statues with red bibs.
  • Goemon's Great Adventure: There's a Roadside Guardian in Spook Village who requests that the protagonists go find its seven siblings who've gone out to Lake Pochan. They've left without their kasa and its cold out there, so the protagonists have to find them before sundown. To make matters worse, among the monsters inhabiting Lake Pochan are fake Roadside Guardians and if any of them receives a hat the mission has to start all over. The fake ones are identical to the real ones, but have a mysterious aura to them that sets them apart. When all seven kasa are handed over to their rightful owners, the Roadside Guardian in Spook Village rewards the protagonists with an entry pass.
  • Granblue Fantasy: Rokujizō is a sextet of moss-covered and catlike jizō of varying sizes. They all wear red scarfs, but only the big one wears a kasa. Rokujizō was added as a boss fight during Cinderella Fantasy ~Peace for Lost Souls~.
  • Hana Tāka Daka!?: Jizō show up in the first two outside levels. When the flying protagonist nears, they launch themselves upwards into the air in an attempt to hit him.
  • The Legendary Starfy 4: There's King Warp Jizō and nine normal Warp Jizō, one for each world. King Warp Jizō is always present at the start of a level and a normal Warp Jizō is further into the level. Normal Warp Jizō have the ability to send Starfy and Starly back to King Warp Jizō for easy access out of the level. King Warp Jizō is a large golden statue who holds a bird and an eggplant and wears a green scarf. His subjects are all stone statues with each their own color scarf and different accessories. The first one has a red scarf and no accessories. The second one also has a red scarf and holds a kasa and flower scepter. The third one wears an aquamarine scarf and holds a squid scepter. The fourth one has a purple scarf and holds poop and earmuffs. The fifth one wears a green scarf and holds a shell scepter and a hoodie. The sixth one wears a yellow scarf and is a robot. The seventh one wears a blue scarf and is a rockstar. The eighth one wears a mauve scarf and is a biker. Lastly, the ninth one is dressed in all greys, wearing a scarf and a bobble hat.
  • Makai Prince Dorabocchan: Spike has two kinds of statues as manservants: the large moai-based ones and the small jizō-based ones. The latter kind wear a red bow tie and can be punched for tomato juice and upgrades, although on occasion an enemy will spawn instead. Incidentally, the sequel replaces the jizō-based manservants with sheep as manservants.
  • Momotaro Densetsu II: After Fujin disperses the protagonist party, Momotaro gets a whopping ten teammates at once when a row of jizō joins up. They can't fight, but they can offer themselves as substitutes in battle to draw fire away.
  • Musya: Many jizō are found at the exits of the Palace of Hate and the Cursed Palace and only one grants access to the next area. Searching is a hazardous endeavour, because several are jizō alive and hostile. They fight by hopping and stomping.
  • La-Mulana 2: Among the shopkeepers added to the console versions is one that homages the jizō shopkeeper from Downwell. It's a hollow-eyed statue with a red bib.
  • Ōkami: Guardians (Jizō in Japanese) are headless jizō encountered along the Ryoshima Coast. They come in four classes: Headless Guardians (red), Bell Guardians (yellow), Halo Guardians (blue), and Executioner Guardians (black). All of them are hostile due to the lack of their heads, which they are in constant search of and will go to extremes to have back. This includes taking the heads of unfortunate humans as replacements.
  • Onmyōji: Jizo Statue is one of the souls that can be linked to a creature for combat benefits. It grants a health boost and shields its allies from the full force of enemy attacks.
  • Ragnarok M Eternal Love: Amatsu houses multiple jizō under the name Ksitigarbha. They're part of several quests as information providers and play a key role in the quest to unlock the game's engagement feature. They're the ones who make the feature available if their questions are answered to their satisfaction.
  • Shiren the Wanderer 3: The Sleeping Princess of the Karakuri Mansion: There's a rumor in Otsutsuki Village that a headless jizō that belongs to the Ruined Temple wanders around from time to time. The protagonists can visit the temple and opt to go on a quest to get the statue a new head. A carver will make one for them and when they place it on the statue it thanks them. After that, the jizō appears on random floors in dungeons to bestow favors.
  • Super Mario Bros.: A staple ability of the series is for the Mario Bros to turn into the likeness of jizō. In this form, they're ignored by enemies and impervious to various forms of harm, while their stone bodies can inflict greater stomp damage. The Mario Bros usually can't move as statues, but they can take the form midair for the aforementioned stomp damage. The ability to turn into a statue was introduced as a function of the Tanooki Suit, but since then the Statue Leaf and capture by a Bonneter have also granted the transformation.
  • Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Endless Frontier: Kasa Jizō is a boss enemy present in both games. The name references the folktale, but the kanji used for "kasa" mean "fire-chain" instead of "hat". Kasa Jizō is a column-mounted bust with gatling-gun arms and no visual resemblance to a real-life jizō.
    • Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Endless Frontier: Kasa Jizō is an optional boss fight in Kagura Amahara. There's a jizō to the East which can be left alone, can have its bell rung for small items, or can be shot to engage it in battle for a treasure box. The statue is permanently destroyed if fought.
    • Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier Exceed: Kasa Jizō is encountered twice, once as an optional bounty and once as a sub-boss. As Bounty N, it is fought by checking the flower at the Fujisakura Altar and tough to defeat because of a strong defense and healing abilities. It a sub-boss, it is encountered on Floor 32F of Haryuu Tower, where two orochi also dwell.
  • Touhou Tenkuushou ~ Hidden Star in Four Seasons: There are two living jizō. One retains the qualities of a statue while for the other her origin as a statue has no bearing on her present.
    • Narumi Yatadera is a true jizō. Her status as a youkai comes from the influence of the Forest of Magic, which is potent enough that is bestows Narumi with power of her own. She has yet to learn to fully control her magic. Because of this, she acts as the Stage 4 Boss despite being a kindhearted individual.
    • According to Touhou Sangetsusei, Eiki Shiki is a jizō that received enough faith from worshippers to become divine in her own right. Eiki is based on Enma, who is a counterpart to or an aspect of Jizō.
  • TwinBee 3: Poko Poko Daimaō: Crystal Jizō is in charge of guarding the Air Island floating fortress and therefore is the first stage's boss. He is a giant jizō made from crystal with the usual dress, robe, and staff accessories, but on top of those he also wears sunglasses, a biker jacket, and carries a chain. His means of attack is to stomp around to make crystal stalactites fall down on the protagonist. If shot often enough, Crystal Jizō splits into two smaller Crystal Jizō and if those are shot often enough, they'll split up into four smaller Crystal Jizō, making for a maximum of eight. Crystal Jizō is defeated when all smaller selves are.
  • Youkai Dōchūki: In the arcade version, bake-jizō start off as small statues amidst normal ones. As Tarosuke approaches they grow to twice his size and spit fire. Upon defeat, they return to their statue form and then go up in smoke. Home console versions simplify the graphics, such as by omitting the normal statues or the transformation process.
  • Zunzunkyō no Yabou: The protagonists are two jizō, the silver Gin-Jizō and the gold Kin-Jizō. Gin-Jizō is dressed in red while Kin-Jizō is dressed in indigo, and they have a distinct laugh. Through upgrades, they may transform into stronger statues which in order resemble a bodhisattva, a wisdom king, and an asura. Dying causes their shapes to be reset. The goal of Gin-Jizō and Kin-Jizō is to defeat Zunzunkyō. After elimating the four earthly divisions, the duo heads to the final boss. The stage preceding the final boss consists of a confrontation with orange hollow-eyed jizō and red bodhisattva statues. Harming but not killing an enemy jizō causing it to become preta-like in appearance with thin bodies and a ravenous visage.

Web Animation

  • Zizoman Z: A jizō hangs out at the Sanzu River where an oni is harrassing two children who try to build their tower of pebbles. To aid the children, the jizō has a superhero identity as Zizoman Z. However, he's more concerned about social media and when he does look up from his smartphone his superhero activities range from useless to making everything worse. In Episode 3, even the oni calls him out on it.


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/natsumesbookoffriends_genusagi.png
I asked fow a cawwot and tuh snowman tuhned theiw nose up at meh.
Lively snow rabbits are rabbit-shaped snow figures that are alive. Snow rabbits are snow figurines made in Japan that consist of buns pressed from snow, leaves of the evergreen nandina as ears, and red nandina berries as eyes. They've been a winter tradition for several centuries as attested to in paintings. For variety or lack of resources, sometimes other animals are created or other plants used for the decoration.

Lively snow rabbits may be sculptures that have come to life or mystical bunnies that share the same colors. They sometimes represent snowflakes. Because of their positive image, their presence is a useful shorthand to communicate that a Yuki-onna or similarly intimidating cold spirit is a kind person.

See also snowlems and Living Dust Bunnies.

    Lively Snow Rabbit Examples 

Advertising

  • Shortly after 1965, Fugetsu-Do launched an animated commercial to promote their yuki-usagi confectionary. In it, two children hide out in an igloo while snow rabbits fall from the sky like snowflakes. One snow rabbit takes the children along to a warmer place.

Anime and Manga

  • Natsume's Book of Friends: In Chapter 13 and Episode 15, Natsume and Madara enter Shiba Field where only one statue of a komainu set remains. The komainu's spirit, Gen, is looking for its missing partner, Sui, but can't do much as a statue. He aims to possess Natsume, but misses and possesses the snow rabbit Natsume just made. Because Natsume made it, the snow rabbit's body is functional and spiritual possession makes it resistant to melting, so Gen accepts to keep it until they find Sui. The body is good enough that he can take a bunny-eared human form for short times. In the end, Gen finds Sui just before the snow rabbit melts and they both take up residence in the remaining komainu statue.
  • Oni no Ko to Yuki Usagi: An oni steals a temari ball from a human girl to gift to his son. The oni boy feels guilty and travels through the snow to return it to her. The human girl is very grateful and crafts him a snow rabbit in return. On his way home, the weather picks up and the oni boy trips and drops his snow rabbit. From the remains rise multiple snow rabbit spirits that greet the oni boy before following the wind spirit Kantaro onwards.
  • Tonari no Yuki Onna-chan: Fuyu's and Haru's first peaceful exchange occurs when Fuyu creates three living snow rabbits for Haru to apologize for causing him to catch a cold. Fuyu has only ever seen actual rabbits on the internet, so she's happy that Haru likes them.

Music

  • Vocaloid: The 2015 edition of Winter Miku is dressed like a korpokkur and Yukine's green ribbon evokes the look of a snow rabbit. Additionally, Yukine was introduced in 2014, but may have a predecessor in the snow rabbit that accompanied the 2013 edition of Winter Miku. Whether that snow rabbit is alive or not, considering it's a Digital Avatar like Miku herself, is up in the air.

Tabletop Games

  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: There are two instances of snow rabbit cards, although they're never the focus monster.
    • Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit is a card depicting a ghostly oni girl surrounded by snow rabbit spirits. It's the first of the Yo-kai Girl series of tuner monsters and has the light attribute. The Japanese card name, Yuki Usagi, contains a pun wherein the kanji for "yuki" ("snow") is replaced with the kanji for "yu" ("ghost") and "ki" ("oni").
    • Ghostrick Yuki-onna and Ghostrick Yeti are accompanied by a snow rabbit each, both in their individual cards and in Ghostrick scenery cards. The exception is Ghostrick Break, which depicts the two of them surrounded by a total of six snow rabbits.

Video Games

  • The Alliance Alive: The snow rabbit is a mount encountered in the Snow Realm. The protagonists acquire its aid when they find a half-melted snow rabbit inside an igloo and befriend it by feeding it a snow carrot. They get the rabbit flute in return, which summons a huge snow rabbit to ride and do extra damage to enemies upon entering battle.
  • Bomberman 64: Snow Rabbits are slow, non-threatening enemies found in White Glacier. They're as easily ignored as they are destroyed and always yield a 1-Up.
  • Goatlings: Snow bunnies are one of two baddies found in Majestic Mountain 5, the other being dwarflings. Its exclusive drops are a snow bunny stamp and cloud fruit.
  • Heartbeat: Snow Bunny is an ice-type enemy found in Pretorricane. It's a bipedal snow rabbit with a leaf tail that wears a helmet and carries binoculars with them. Its alchemy drops are Quartz Ice and Interstellar Ice, while for Mott it may drop an Arctic Sherbet.
  • Heavenly Guardian: Sayuki's pet and companion is the floating snow rabbit Toto. While on her adventure, Toto backs up her offense with bursts of extreme cold that freeze opponents upon contact. They're also capable of performing Wild Dance, during which Toto acts as a shield that freezes enemies on contact.
  • Kingdom Corps: A snow rabbit is depicted keeping Koropokkuru company on the latter's card.
  • Neko Atsume: Frosty is a snow cat variant, sporting green ears, red eyes, and with a bunny-like snowball tail. Frosty is a rare cat who outside of snowy days only visits if a Snowy Pillow is spread out.
  • Onmyōji: Yuki-Doji's eternal companion is the snow rabbit Yukimaru. Yuki-Doji keeps a layer of snow circling around him to prevent Yukimaru from melting.
  • Mario Party 6: Two living snow rabbits inhabit the area of Snowflake Lake along with some living snowmen and sapient penguins.
  • Omori: All-snow Snow Bunnies are enemies encountered at Frozen Lake and on Snowglobe Mountain. They kick snow at the heroes, a move which Omori sarcastically declares to be the world's smallest snowstorm.
  • Rabio Lepus: The mechanical rabbits Rabio and Lepus jointly invoke the look of a snow rabbit. Rabio is a white rabbit with red accents, while Lepis is a white rabbit with green accents.
  • Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale: Snow Rabbits are encountered in Jade Way, Amber Garden, and Lapis Ruins. They're not strong, but they're almost flawless at dodging attacks. Their unique drops are Fur Ball and Nut Mix.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: Snow Spect-hare is a red-eyed, all-white anthropomorphic hare yokai whose description reads that she houses the feelings of a crying child over the fading snow.


Works that feature multiple youkai include:

    Youkai Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Amatsuki features many various different kinds of youkai, known here as "ayakashi", including spirits, and ghosts. In fact, about half the main cast are ayakashi.
  • Though Ayakashi Triangle uses the term "ayakashi" to refers to purely spiritual beings, many individual specimens are based on traditional youkai. Shirogane actually calls himself a "youkai" when introducing the concept of ayakashi, suggesting it's an equivalent term they rarely use themselves, even if humans do. The Japanese version even abbreviates "ayakashi (あやかし)" with the kanji "妖", which is found in word "youkai (妖怪)". Oddly, even spirits that aren't from Japan (like a Snegurochka from Russia) are referred to as "ayakashi".
  • In Azumanga Daioh, during one of the School Festival episodes, the girls ponder Osaka's idea of an obakeyashiki kisaten ("haunted cafe"), and imagine Chiyo dressed as a nurikabe and Osaka dressed as a karakasa.
  • In Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest, Youko, the servant of Selene, the Moon Dragon God, wields the Spiritual Art known as "Hyakki Yagyou" (Night Parade of 100 Demons), which allows her to create and summon Youkai such as Enenra, Ittan Momen and Kasha. She can also use her power to forcibly transform people into Youkai, such as Lucy, Erza, Wendy, Charle and Happy who are turned, respectively, into a Nure-Onna, Jorogumo, Bakeneko, and Suiko. Youkou's name itself can be a synonym for Kitsune.
  • Gantz features every youkai ever as aliens in the Osaka arc.
  • GeGeGe no Kitarō is all about youkai. Kitaro himself is a youkai.
  • Gurumin has Monsters as friendly NPCs; they are called Obake in Japanese. Meanwhile, the antagonists are called Phantoms, perhaps drawing parallel to the other meaning of obake.
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de has these creatures among its mook-type villains (somewhat confusingly, they fall under the collective term onryou, "vengeful spirits", which normally refers to ghosts). In the manga/anime adaptations, some of these get more prominent roles, like the last Nue and the Tengu of the Northern Mountains, but otherwise the youkai-like monsters in general are of little importance to the plot.
  • Hell Girl features a hone-onna, or "Bone Woman", a type of vampiric creature which disguises itself as a beautiful mortal woman to lure men away to feed upon their life force.
  • Hell Teacher Nube. Between these and Obake, it's practically the whole point. If they're not listed among the specific examples above, it's because they're minor characters, but trust us, these (and more) show up.
  • Inu × Boku SS revolves around a bunch of Half Human Hybrids actually descendants of demons.
  • Inuyasha, which in addition to the named characters listed includes at least one example of pretty much every other kind of youkai named on this page and a good many more that aren't. The term "youkai" is officially translated into English as "demon" in both the manga and anime, even though this isn't necessarily a correct term for them.
  • Kamisama Kiss, a manga about a teenage girl who accidentally becomes a Shinto god, naturally features youkai.
  • Karas (which itself is named for the Karasu Tengu) has youkai in a prominent role, and it depicts tensions between the youkai and the humans who have forgotten them.
  • Kekkaishi has Madarao, a white dog youkai that has served the Sumimura family since its founding, passed down to them by the founder, Tokimori Hazama. Madarao is able to detect ayakashi with his amazing sense of smell.
  • A Letter to Momo features three Youkai, there are others living in the forest.
  • Miss Hokusai, despite being a relatively realistic slice-of-life anime movie about Hokusai's daughter, has several youkai: A famous courtesan is a rokurokubi — her "spirit" stretches instead of her physical neck and while only a few people can see it everyone sees it pressing against the courtesan's mosquito netting. Ghost lights appear in front of a "haunted" painting of Hell and a giant ox demon threatens to show up at the house where the painting is. The painting is "haunted" because "Miss Hokusai" forgot to show the ghosts in Hell being redeemed by Buddha (which was kind of the whole point of the painting's commission in the first place, oops). Hokusai adds the Buddha and the haunting stops.
  • Mononoke Sharing is about an ordinary high school girl moving into an apartment complex with five big breasted youkai (Kappa, Oni, Kitsune, Rokurokubi, and Yuki onna) as part of an experiment to see if youkai can integrate with humans.
  • Monster Hunter: Rise uses youkai as inspiration for its new monster designs. This also extends to the new "Rampage" quest, which is inspired by the Hyakki Yagyou.
  • Monster Musume has the occasional youkai show up, but the focus is more on the monster girls of other cultures.
  • My Monster Secret has Youkai among the non-human students who attend Morobare High School in secret. Most of them are the underclassmen who Asahi councils in the second part of the manga; this list includes a Tengu and a Rokurokubi. Most notably, the series' effective Big Bad, Principal Shirayuki, is a Yuki-Onna who used to be human.
  • The manga and anime Nagasarete Airantou takes place on the titular island of Airantou which is inhabited by a large number of youkai. Much of the comedy centers around the protagonist Ikuto's (who is from modern Japan and stranded on the island) refusal to believe in youkai and magic and how much he will bend over backwards with increasingly ludicrous "scientific" explanations to try and handwave away what he just witnessed. (such as seeing a ghost and dismissing it as a polar bear (on a tropical island) and then thinking it's just a kind of trick when it literally vanished into thin air.)
  • Naruto, which features several youkai-themed demon-beasts. The first Big Bad Orochimaru is also shown to be capable of stretching his neck out to great lengths, not unlike a rokurokubi.
  • Natsume's Book of Friends contains many youkai, referred to as "ayakashi" including those whose names are contained within the titular book.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi has two hanyou (human-youkai hybrids) among Negi's True Companions, the half-tengu Setsuna and Koutaro who is half-inugami.
  • In Neko-de Gomen!, Kuroda makes a serum that turns people into the youkai that fits them best for ten hours.
  • Most of the cast of Neko Musume Michikusa Nikki is composed of youkai living in and around a small Japanese town.
  • Nijigahara Holograph specificially mentions the "kudan", a youkai in the form of a cow with a human face that is short-lived but is often a Portent of Doom before it dies. In the local mythology of the area the story revolves around, if the former inhabitants sent a dead kudan down the river at that spot, twin kudans would be found there not long after. Later, a strange prophecy about a monster living in the tunnels underneath that area ties into this legend, as the people who relate the prophecy tend to become something like human analogues to the kudan.
  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is based on a mafia-like family of Youkai that live in the present era, in an ordinary city, keeping it safe from other families/groups seeking power.
  • Omamori Himari features several other Youkai in addition to the aforementioned, including a water serpent in a leading role, a Shutendoji and many others in minor parts. Most of the major ones are Cute Monster Girls.
  • Petopeto-san: Most of the cast are youkai of one kind or another, if not Half Human Hybrids.
  • Ranma ½ frequently exploited Japanese folklore to provide their Monster of the Week.
  • Rosario + Vampire: There is a reason the school is called Youkai Academy (though monsters from many other cultures are largely present as well). The name of the school, however, is a Punny Name, since it uses a different set of kanji than the ones that designate the youkai.
  • Saiyuki, in which three out of the four main characters are at least part youkai, as are most of their opponents. Unfortunately, the majority are generic "demons" — i.e., pointy-eared humanoids with claws — rather than Japanese folkloric Youkai.
  • Sengoku Youko is rife with these, s the series is set in feudal Japan and one of the main characters feature a Kitsune. Notably, the monsters are not explicitly called Youkai, but the manga uses a different word with the kanji for "Darkness" and the reading for "others".
  • Shaman King features many youkai as Japanese-specific spirits.
  • Tactics, unsurprising since the show chronicles the adventures of a Japanese folklorist who practices Shinto and does exorcisms to make a little on the side.
  • Idol series Tsukipro has a youkai AU, in which each idol is a different sort of youkai. The AU has not appeared in any of the anime series yet, but in 2018, two of the stage plays featured it — "Natsu-Yume-Matsuri", performed at the Tsukipro Bunkasai event in July 2018, starred Rui, Kai, Ichiru, and Issei, in their youkai forms. SQS Episode 2, to be performed in November 2018, features Tsubasa and Eichi falling into a river and ending up in the realm of youkai, and encountering the youkai forms of the other SQ members. It is said that the youkai forms live around Tsukino Shrine, which is something of a portal between their realm and the real world. The shrine has no set location, and can possibly be found anywhere.
  • Usagi Yojimbo has featured nearly every monster from Japanese tradition, from Oni to Kappas to Nues (chimera-like beasts) and an Obakeneko (vampire cat).
  • Urusei Yatsura, which, despite the nominal sci-fi setting, features many youkai both as Ancient Astronauts and as actual monsters.
  • Ushio and Tora is all about fighting youkai until facing the strongest of them all, a god-like kitsune (born in India of all places).
  • ×××HOLiC features many types of youkai.
  • In Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GoGo! episode 27, "Rin-chan vs. Ōedo Yōkai!", Shibiretta takes the Cures and mascots back to the Edo period, where they encounter noppera-bō, rokurokubi, karakasa, oni and burabura.
  • Yuki Yuna is a Hero features cutesy versions of traditional youkai as the characters' fairy partners. The title character is accompanied by a Gyuuki, which takes the form of a tiny bull with stubby wings.

Comic Books

  • Usagi Yojimbo often features Obake (translated by Sakai as "Haunts") of different varieties in many stories, ranging from Ghosts, to demons, to Kappas to Tengu and many others. The stand-alone volume "Yokai" has Usagi and demon-queller Sasuke joining forces to fight an army of Obake.
  • Anthony Bourdain's Hungry Ghosts: "The Starving Skeleton" features the creation of a Gashadokuro, made when a chef refused to feed a starving homeless man.
    • "The Pirates" stars a Sazae-oni, a crustacean mermaid-esq creature that steals a crew of pirate's collective testicles.
    • "Salty Horse" features a horse-based Tsukimono, a malevolent animal spirit that possesses people.
    • "The Heads" features Rokurokubi, more specifically the kind where their heads detatch.
    • "Deep" stars a Kappa.
    • "Boil in the Belly" stars a Bakemono, a snake-like monster that possesses a young man.
    • "The Snow Woman" stars Yuki-onna, a snow woman.
    • "The Cow Head" stars a kudan, who tries to warn the villagers of a disaster, only for the villagers to kill and eat him. From their stomachs various other youkai burst out, including a Tengu, a Bakemono, an Ushi-oni and a Hitotsume-nyūdō.
    • The epilogue reveals that the chefs are all youkai in-disguise, including a Hitotsume-nyūdō, an Ushi-oni and a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl.

Fan Works

  • Embers: The various spirits are largely based on various youkai.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: In an effort to change herself, Chloe decides to change Lexi's papers from her beloved "Specter of the Black Forest" into a kyorinrin, which is a collection of papers and scrolls that take on a draconic appearance and scarlet yukata.
  • Pony POV Series: While the normal versions exist as species (with Kitsunes and Shisa being seen in Neighpon), this word is used to describe the draconequus equivalent of angels. They function identically to angels (being servants/messengers of their deity), the difference being primarily cosmetic.

Films — Animated

  • Studio Ghibli:
    • My Neighbor Totoro: The Soot Sprites and Totoros, though original to the movie, have some characteristics of traditional youkai.
    • In Pom Poko, the Tanuki prove capable of transforming into a wide variety of other youkai. Kitsune make an appearance as well, later in the movie.
    • Princess Mononoke has the Kotodama, which are spirits that live in the forest, as well as the Deer God.
    • Spirited Away: Most of the background characters are some form of youkai. "No Face" is a noppera-bō, while the workers at Yubaba's bathhouse are toad and weasel spirits.

Films — Live-Action

Literature

  • Kanokon: Nozomu Ezomori is a 200-year-old wolf spirit, both trying to seduce the protagonist, Kouta Oyamada. In fact, nearly everyone except him is Obake of some sort (sisters, brothers, etc to Chizuru and Nozomu. Many don't show up in the anime, though).
  • Our Home's Fox Deity has spirits like these, including an entire arc with oni.
  • Tale of Yashima: A web novel set during the Sengoku Era of Japan where several yokai feature as both main characters and villains.
  • The Zashiki Warashi of Intellectual Village revolves around youkai and humans making use of their power for various purposes. The eponymous Zashiki Warashi is a major character.

Live-Action TV

  • Super Sentai tends to use youkai as enemies in especially Japanese-themed series (meaning featuring ninja or samurai):
    • Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: The enemies are ALL Youkai, nearly all of which have adapted in some way to the modern world. There's a nurikabe covered in graffiti, a sand woman dressed like a hooker, a chariot youkai who's now a taxicab, and a hungry ghost dressed like a fast-food jockey. Sometimes the behavior is very different from the traditional youkai they're based on, but that's usually excused with "long ago, they were like [insert mythological behavior here] but the modern ones are [insert a Monster of the Week-ish behavior here] instead!"
    • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger: The enemies are called ayakashi and are based on youkai (and In-Universe, the basis for youkai), but following ayakashi's traditional meaning of "shipwreck ghost", most if not all of them have some kind of sea-creature theme along with their mythic one.
    • Shuriken Sentai Ninninger: Similar to Kakuranger, the enemies are modernized versions of youkai; this time done by bringing inanimate objects to life. For instance, a chainsaw is turned into a kamaitachi and a snowcone maker into a yuki-onna. They also bring in three classic Halloween monsters (Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula and the Wolf Man) and classify them as "Western youkai".
  • Ultra Series: Youkai or Kaiju based on them have appeared as a Monster of the Week here and there. Many are based on examples above, but others are wholly original.
    • Ultraman: Woo from the original series is a yeti-like youkai manifests from the spirit of a deceased parent who seeks to continue to protect their child.
    • Ultraman 80 featured a few youkai, like Jihibikiran (a sumo boy who wrestles everyone he meets) and Idantenran (a marathon runner who transforms into a giant monster when enraged).
    • Ultraman Tiga: One episode features a youkai named Obikoboushi (Obiko for short), a mischievous demon-like creature who thrives in darkness and disguises himself as a noodle vendor in order to scare people with his magically animated shadow.
    • Ultraman Cosmos: Two episodes deal with a Bigfoot-like youkai named Yamawarawanote  who likes to befriend children lost in the forest. In the latter episode, we also meet Yamawarawa's archenemy, the demon-like Mahagenom.

Music

  • sasakure.UK: The Ayakashi series focuses on youkai in modern Japan, known here as ayakashi. Kei, the main character of "A(ma)YAKASHI Diary" and "A(ma)YAKASHI Monoganasy", has been writing a diary where he blames imaginary ayakashi for everything bad that happens to him.

Tabletop Games

  • In Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine, there are some youkai living in Town, primarily tsukumogami, with an assortment of various others sometimes popping up. Town's long-necked people are basically rokurokubi who've learned how to stretch their necks any time they like.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The "Oriental Adventures" setting features all kinds of youkai, including oni, kappa, tengu, and yuki-onna. Oni have made their way into the main game as ogre mages, while nuppeppo have made their way in as nupperibo, residents of the Hells.
  • Golden Sky Stories: The player characters are all various kinds of henge, although from the more benign variety. A later Japanese supplement introduces mononoke, wholly magical creatures, which cover virtually any type of non-henge youkai.
  • Kitsune: Of Foxes and Fools obviously has kitsune as the player's characters, but a number of other youkai are available as allies as well.
  • Legend of the Five Rings, which draws heavily on Japanese Mythology, has many youkai, mostly malevolent.
  • Magic: The Gathering: The Kamigawa block, which is heavily inspired by Japanese Mythology, features numerous yokai among its many and diverse spirit creatures.
  • The Obake Karuta, a set of cards with Yokai themes that were used in the Edo Period. An ancestor of the modern Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! card games.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has a number of cards based on youkai.
    • Most youkai which don't belong to a certain archetype tend to be Zombie-Type. This includes: Gozuki (Ox Head) and Mezuki (Horse Face); a Nine-Tailed Fox; Shutendoji, and Kasha (though its flaming chariot appearance matches that of Hinoguruma more). In the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX manga, Bastion uses a deck comprised of these youkai that centers around bringing cards back from the graveyard. Incidentally, this adaptation is the only one to make "Youkai" its own monster Type.
    • The "Yosenju" archetype, which seems to be mostly (if not entirely) made up of Kamaitachi.
    • Spirit Monsters are a type of card that return to your hand at the end of the turn, the majority of which are based on famous gods and monsters from Japanese Mythology.
    • The Synchro-climb based archetype, "Mayakashi", includes an Oboroguruma, Tsuchigumo, nine-tailed fox, Yaksha, Tengu, and Gashadokuro.
  • Pathfinder, which tends to include a lot of creatures from real-life mythologies, does one better than its rival D&D by featuring many of the same youkai (including Ogre Magi under their proper name of oni), but also including many, many others (both on this page and not), including a number of obscure ones like the sagari, the hyakume, the jinmenju, the bisha ga tsuku, the harionago, the akaname, the kuda-gitsune (referred to simply as the pipefox), and the bakekujira.

Video Games

  • Ayakashi: Romance Reborn features several youkai usually disguised as humans. Other than that, there's also someone else who isn't an ayakashi/youkai at all, but not fully human either.
  • Kind of a rarity in Cuphead, as all of the ghosts inhabiting the Phantom Express are subtly based on different types of youkai. The Blind Specter is based on tenome, an eyeless old man with eyeballs on his hands; T-bone is based on gashadokuro, a giant skeleton; the Blaze Brothers appear to be based on wanyuudou, flaming oxcart wheels with screaming faces; and the Head of the Train is based on oboroguruma, oxcarts with faces found on roads late at night. Maybe; what Japanese spooks are doing in a game based on American cartoons is a mystery.
  • EVE Online has a couple of spaceships named after Youkai. Among those are the Kitsune, a small, but very potent ECM-based ship and the Tengu, a fast, medium-sized, powerful (and incredibly sturdy) ship capable of doing Level 5 Missions with no support, while all other ships require a fleet for those. It's also the general favorite among Mission-Runners, due to its high amount of Firepower.
  • Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja has Kappa, Tengu, nurikabe and many other youkai among the enemies.
  • Kanon: Makoto is a kitsune who lost her memory in exchange for the ability to transform. It came with a hefty price.
  • Kiki Kai Kai, a series of Cute 'em Up games (which were localized under the Market-Based Title of Pocky & Rocky) that includes several kinds of obake as enemies, several of the partners throughout the series are yokai as well. Aside from that, the main protagonist, Sayo-chan, is a Miko.
  • Survival Horror videogame Kuon features Gaki (emaciated, costantly hungry ghouls) as standard enemies, as well as ghosts, living corpses and huge wild monkeys possibly based on the wild youkai Hihi.
  • Monster Hunter Rise release trailer alongside a Japanese aesthetic shows new dragons inpired by youkai: Aknosom (an umbrella-plumaged crane), Tetranadon (a kappa with an alligator's head), and Izuchi (a weasel raptor with a sickle-bladed tail).
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade features many youkai enemies.
  • Nioh, an historical fiction following William Adams, features Youkai as enemies in the waning days of the Sengoku Jidai period, who have been brought forth by the persistent war.
  • Onigiri uses nearly all the youkai mentioned above, plus several not even listed here. They're all faithful to their original sources.
  • Onmyōji is about, well, an onmyōji named Abe no Seimei who, along with his companions, prevents yōkai from causing troubles to humans.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies: The second case of the game takes place in a town that maintains an ardent superstition of the youkai and plays a major role in the order of events (particularly a Karasu Tengu creature called "Tenma Taro" and the fabled nine-tailed Kitsune).
  • Pokémon has a lot of creatures based on youkai. It can even be said that all Pokémon take on the same roles that youkai supposedly play in the real world, as both take on the roles of animals and nature spirits while also being combination of malicious and scary yet friendly and endearing when befriended.
    • Exeggutor bears a resemblance to the ninmenju, a tree that grows human faces instead of fruit.
  • Rising Dusk is full of Youkai, with the player's character finding herself trapped in their world.
  • In Sable's Grimoire, Sable's demihuman classmates include a rokurokubi and a noppera-bō.
  • Various of the fighters in Samurai Shodown series are youkai or based on them like Gen-An Shiranui (a goblin-like creature), Basara Kubikiri (a yurei, who also has a hitodama) and his lover Kagaribi (an onryo), Kusaregedo (a gaki), Chanple (Mina Majikina's mon, an ayakashi), Iroha (a Tsuru Nyōbō aka "Crane Lover"), and Yashamaru Kurama (a half-human half-tengu).
  • Shin Megami Tensei has lots and lots of these, in addition to nearly every other culture's demons and spiritual beings, in the main series of games, as well as spin-offs.
  • SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos: Some of the characters, when defeated by Red Arremer, turn into different types of youkai.
  • Throne of Darkness, a Diablo-like Hack and Slash when not using various forms of undead employs many variations of oni, tengu, hengeyokai, jorogumo and more.
  • Touhou Project: In Touhou Project, almost every known character, apart from the four-and-a-half human protagonists, a couple ghosts, and a handful of goddesses, is some form of youkai. Whether or not fairies are youkai is also subject to interpretation, both in and out-universe.
  • Yo-Kai Watch is a Mon series revolving around yokai. The games and anime revolve around a boy named Nate using a mystical watch to perceive, communicate with, and summon yokai to solve other people's (or other yokai's) problems.
  • Yodanji is a mobile Roguelike that features many yokai as character classes.

Webcomics

  • Charby the Vampirate: The twins Han and Cho are cat youkai living at King Samrick's palace. Han is working for the king as one of his Justiciars.
  • Demon's World, a Toaplan Arcade Game also known as Horror Story, features many enemies from various mythologies, and in the Japan-esque stage you get to fight kappa, karakasa, rokurokubi, and other youkai.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers, Japan talks about the legend of youkai but states that they do not exist. However, England does meet and talks to a kappa and an onion-head youkai, though Japan is skeptical. This is meant to mirror their countries views on myths, modern Japan sees myths as esoteric nonsense, quirky at best, while modern England still sees some value in myths and traditions.
    • This is expanded upon in the anime, the Youkai explain to England that they all will eventually have to leave Japan's home as less and less people believe in them, so they have no reason to stay. England is shown to be quite upset about it, but there's nothing he can do to help them.
  • Karin-dou 4koma: The vast majority of the cast are either magicians or some kind of youkai, generally either tsukumogami (coin, camera...) or animal (fox, bird/dog, snake, toad, crow...). Somehow, there's a Henshin Hero youkai. In one strip, a few characters discuss the possibility of virtual idols becoming youkai; one dismissing them as too fleeting to take hold and a moment later suggests that God is the original such idol.
  • In Erma, the titular character and her mother are both youkai (although Erma is only half thanks to her human dad), and when they go back to Japan in the Family Reunion arc, it's obvious that the author did their research on youkai, as the youkai marketplace is a massively detailed Cast of Snowflakes with too many species to list, all of them actual mythological youkai.

Web Original

  • The web story Broken Gate has Nezumi, a rat (or mouse) youkai, and her three siblings, Toramaru (otherwise known as Tora), a tiger youkai, Miyako, a horse youkai, and Ryuuji, a dragon youkai. However, aside from her ears, Nezumi can pass for human and the same occurs for Miyako, aside from the hooves she keeps concealed under a kimono or her ears).
  • In the Monster Girl Encyclopedia, Youkai are exclusively Cute Monster Girls of the Zipangu region. Unlike other parts of this world, they've peacefully coexisted with humans long before anyone can remember. The youkai aren't part of the Demon Lord army and there is no Knight Templar religion hunting them down — in fact, powerful monsters like nine-tail Inari are revered as gods.

Western Animation

  • Legend of the Three Caballeros has various youkai living in the Underworld. Unlike the ghost citizens, they are not dead, and are able to kill spirits as well. A Tengu in particular is the guard of the gates to the living.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja has really shown its work for a western cartoon when it comes to the actual Japanese mythological elements, right down to the inclusion of youkai. The feathers of the Tengu were used to create the Ninja suit, and in the episode Evil Spirit Week, Howard becomes possessed by a Tengu.
  • Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Not the first adaptation of the franchise to use them, but featured much more prominently here, as Yokai have a huge subterranean city beneath New York. Supporting villain Big Mama is a Jurogumo, and main antagonist/mutant-creating-alchemist-warrior Baron Draxum is a humanoid ram identified as a "Yokai". The mutants the franchise (the title characters included) are even eventually revealed to be artificial yokai. The series finale states yokai were created by a mysterious substance called Empyrean, which is implied to have been brought to the Earth by aliens (this continuity's equivalent of Krang).

Alternative Title(s): Yokai, Obake, Inugami

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report