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A kodama (木魂) is a spirit from Japanese folklore, which is believed to live in certain trees (similar to the Dryad of Greek mythology).
According to the 13th century Ryōbu Shinto manual Reikiki, kodama can be found in groups in the inner reaches of mountains. They occasionally speak, and can especially be heard when a person dies.
In modern times, cutting down a tree which houses a kodama is thought to bring misfortune, and such trees are often marked with shimenawa rope.
- Kodama appear in the animated film Princess Mononoke, in which they are portrayed as small, white humanoids with large, rattling heads and mask-like features, similar to bobbleheads. In one scene San (Princess Mononoke) chops down a sapling. They appear to crowd around it. Near the end, when the trees begin to die, kodama can be seen falling from the air and dissolving on the ground.
- Kodama are presented as demons in the Megami Tensei series, and sometimes 'evolve' into Sudama.
- Kodama is the name of an independent professional wrestler who works for Chikara.
- The races found in the forest regions in the The Legend of Zelda games, such as the Kokiri from Ocarina of Time, the Koroks from The Wind Waker and the monkeys from Twilight Princess have been widely regarded as interpretations of the Kodama throughout the series' run.