Inugami

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For other uses, see Inukami (disambiguation).
The inugami as depicted in Sawaki Suushi's Hyakkai-Zukan.

Inugami (犬神?, lit. "dog god") is a class of being from Japanese mythology, which is similar to the Shikigami and who belongs to the range of the spirits, the Kami.

Description[edit]

Japanese folklore describes Inugami as zoomorphic or anthropomorphic, dog-like beings, often similar to werewolves. They are masters of black magic.

Traditions[edit]

Folklore has it that Inugami can be conjured from a complex and cruel ceremony: A common pet dog must be buried up to his neck, only the head remains free. Then a bowl with food or water must be placed close but in unreachable distance before the snout of the dog. Several days after that, when the dog is about to perish and tortured by hallucinations, his head must be severed and buried beneath a noisy street. After a certain time, head and body must be placed in a well prepared shrine. Now an Inugami can be evoked.

Similar to Shikigami, possessed paper mannequins, Inugami are evoked for criminal activities, such as murdering, kidnapping and mutilation of the victims. If the evoker is perfectly trained, he can order his Inugami to possess humans and manipulate them. The victim is often forced to kill itself or other people, or to act like a lunatic. But Inugami are also said to be very dangerous for the evoker himself: since the Inugami´s soul is blinded by its desire for revenge and its unstoppable rage, the Inugami can quickly escape the master´s control and kill his own evoker.

Families that keep Inugami in their household are called Inugami-mochi (meaning "Those who have a dog-god as a pet"). It´s tradition within these households that family members always marry members from other Inugami-mochi only.

External links[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Takeshi Abe, Adam Beltz: The Negima Reader: Secrets Behind the Magic. DH Publishing Inc, 2007, ISBN 1932897240, page 49–51.
  • Stephen H. Sumida: And the View from the Shore: Literary Traditions of Hawaiʻi. University of Washington Press, 1991, ISBN 0295970782, page 228.
  • Moku Jōya: Mock Jōya's Things Japanese. Japan Times, Tokyo 1985, page 408–412.
  • Herbert E. Plutschow: A reader in Edo period travel. Global oriental, 2006, ISBN 1901903230, page 16–19.
  • Michaela Haustein: Mythologien der Welt: Japan, Ainu, Korea epubli, Berlin 2011, ISBN 3844214070, page 19.
  • Keiko I. McDonald: Reading a Japanese Film: Cinema in Context. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 2006, ISBN 082482993X, page 11.