Amanojaku

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For the journalist, see Kennosuke Sato.
Amano-jaku

Amanojaku, or Amanjaku (天邪鬼?, "heavenly evil spirit") is a demon-like creature in Japanese folklore. It is usually depicted as a kind of small oni, and is thought to be able to provoke a person's darkest desires and thus instigate him into perpetrating wicked deeds.

One of the amanojaku's best known appearances is in the fairytale Urikohime (瓜子姫?, "melon princess"), in which a girl miraculously born from a melon is doted upon by an elderly couple. They shelter her from the outside world, and she naively lets the amanojaku inside one day, where it kidnaps or devours her, and sometimes impersonates her by wearing her flayed skin.

In religion[edit]

The amanojaku is commonly held to be derived from Amanosagume (天探女?), a wicked deity in Shintō myth, which shares the amanojaku's contrary nature and ability to see into a person's heart, "a very perverted demon".

The creature has also entered Buddhist thought, perhaps via syncretism with the yaksha, where it is considered an opponent of Buddhist teachings. It is commonly depicted as being trampled on and subdued into righteousness by Bishamonten or one of the other Shitennō. In this context it is also called a jaki (邪鬼?).

In popular culture[edit]

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