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

Inugami (犬神?, lit. "dog god"), similar to Shikigami, are a class of beings in Japanese mythology belonging to the spirits known as Kami. They are generally created by Onmyōji.

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


Folklore has it that Inugami can be conjured through a complex and cruel ceremony: A common pet dog must be buried up to its neck where only the head remains free. Then, a bowl with food or water must be placed close, but in unreachable distance, before the dog. After several days have passed as the dog is about to succumb, its head must be severed and buried beneath a busy street. After some time, its head and body are to be placed in a well-prepared shrine. Thus, an Inugami is evoked.[citation needed]

Similar to Shikigami, Inugami are responsible for criminal activities such as murdering, kidnapping and mutilation of victims. If the evoker is well trained, he may even have the ability to possess and manipulate the victim through the Inugami. It is common for the victim to act like a lunatic or even to kill themselves. However, Inugami are also said to be very dangerous to the evoker himself. Blinded by their own rage for revenge, it is often said that an Inugami's evoker may lose control of their own summon and be killed by it.

Families that keep Inugami in their household are known as Inugami-mochi (lit. "Those who own a dog-god"). It is tradition within these families to marry into fellow Inugami-mochi.

Popular culture[edit]

  • In Season 5, Episode 17 of Grimm titled "Inugami," two teenage boys' lives are threatened by a ghost dog Wesen called the Inugami who feels they did not get enough punishment for the accidental death of their friend.
  • In Yo-kai Watch, the Inugami is a gray and silver fox Yokai who is a recolored version of Kyubi.
  • Inuyasha and his family are Inugami.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei video games include an Inugami, often in a somewhat prominent role


  • 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.

See also[edit]