List of legendary creatures from Japan
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Part of the series on|
|Japanese mythology and folklore|
|Mythical and sacred locations|
|Shintō and Buddhism|
- Abumi-guchi – A furry creature formed from the stirrup of a mounted military commander who worked for Yamata no Orochi.
- Abura-akago – An infant ghost who licks the oil out of andon lamps.
- Abura-sumashi – A spirit with a large head who lives on a mountain pass in Kumamoto Prefecture.
- Akabeko – A red cow involved in the construction of Enzō-ji in Yanaizu, Fukushima.
- Akaname – A spirit who licks off filth in untidy bathrooms.
- Akashita – A creature that looms in a black cloud over a floodgate.
- Akateko – A red hand dangling out of a tree.
- Akkorokamui – An Ainu monster resembling a fish or octopus.
- Akurojin-no-hi – A ghostly fire from Mie Prefecture.
- Akubōzu –Akubōzu, live in the ashes of hearth's, they are from Akita and Iwate.
- Amabie – A Japanese mermaid yokai.
- Amaburakosagi – A ritual-disciplinary demon from Shikoku.
- Amamehagi – A ritual-disciplinary demon from Hokuriku.
- Amanojaku – A small demon that instigates people into wickedness.
- Amanozako – A monstrous goddess mentioned in the Kujiki.
- Amazake-babaa – An old woman who asks for sweet sake and brings disease.
- Amefurikozō – A little boy spirit who plays in the rain.
- Amemasu – An Ainu creature resembling a fish or whale.
- Ameonna – A rain-making female spirit.
- Amikiri – A net-cutting bird-headed, crustacean-armed, snake-bodied spirit.
- Amorōnagu – A Tennyo from the island of Amami Ōshima.
- Amaterasu – A sun goddess.
- Anmo – A ritual-disciplinary demon from Iwate Prefecture.
- Aoandon – The demonic spirit which arises from an andon lamp at the end of a Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai.
- Aobōzu – The blue monk who kidnaps children.
- Aonyōbō – A female ghost who lurks in an abandoned imperial palace.
- Aosaginohi – A luminescent heron.
- Arikura-no-baba – An old woman with magical powers.
- Ashimagari – A spirit which entangles the legs of travelers.
- Ashinagatenaga – A pair of characters, one with long legs and the other with long arms.
- Ayakashi (yōkai) – A phenomenon considered to be the funayurei.
- Azukiarai (or Azukitogi) – A spirit that washes azuki beans.
- Bake-kujira – A ghostly whale skeleton that drifts along the coastline of Shimane Prefecture.
- Bakeneko – A shape-shifting cat.
- Bakezōri – A zōri straw sandal spirit.
- Baku (spirit) – Supernatural beings that devour dreams and nightmares.
- Basan – A large fire-breathing chicken monster.
- Betobeto-san – Invisible spirit which follows people at night, making the sound of footsteps.
- Binbōgami – The spirit of poverty.
- Biwa-bokuboku – Animated biwa lute.
- Buruburu – A spirit which clings to people inducing cowardice and shivers.
- Byakko – Japanese version of the Chinese White Tiger.
- Chōchinobake – A possessed chōchin lantern.
- Chōchinbi – Demonic flames which appear in footpaths between rice-fields.
- Daidarabotchi – A giant responsible for creating the geographical features of Japan.
- Daitengu – The most powerful tengu, each of whom lives on a separate mountain.
- Danzaburou-danuki – a tanuki from Sado Island.
- Datsue-ba – An old woman in the Underworld who removes clothes (or skin if unclothed) of the dead.
- Dodomeki – A hundred-eyed demon.
- Dōnotsura – A headless humanlike yōkai with its face on its torso.
- Fūjin – The wind god.
- Fūri – A monkey-like yokai.
- Funayūrei – Ghosts of people who died at sea.
- Furaribi – A creature engulfed in flames that flies aimlessly.
- Furutsubaki-no-rei – A soul-sucking plant.
- Furu-utsubo – A beloved quiver of slain archers.
- Futakuchi-onna – The two-mouthed woman.
- Gagoze – A demon who attacked young priests at Gangō-ji temple.
- Gaki – Starving ghosts of especially greedy people.
- Gashadokuro – A giant skeleton that is the spirit of the unburied dead. Also known as Gaikotsu.
- Genbu – Japanese version of the Chinese Black Tortoise.
- Goryō – The vengeful spirits of the dead.
- Gozu and Mezu – Underworld guards.
- Guhin – Another name for tengu.
- Gyūki – Another name for Ushi-oni.
- Hakanohi – A fire which lights on graves.
- Hakuja no Myojin – A white serpent God.
- Hachishaku-sama – A woman that is 8 feet tall and famous by kidnapping children.
- Hakutaku – A beast which handed down knowledge on harmful spirits.
- Hanako-san – A spirit of a young World War II-era girl who inhabits and haunts school restrooms.
- Hannya – A noh mask representing a jealous female demon.
- Haradashi – A creature with a giant face on its stomach.
- Harionago – A woman with a thorn-like barb on the tip of each strand of her hair.
- Hashihime – A woman-turned-spirit associated with the bridge at Uji.
- Heikegani – Crabs with human-faced shells. They are the spirits of the warriors killed in the Battle of Dan-no-ura.
- Hibagon – The Japanese version of the Bigfoot or the Yeti.
- Hiderigami – The spirit of drought.
- Hihi – A baboon-like Chinese yokai.
- Hikeshibaba – An old woman who extinguishes lanterns.
- Hinode – The Sunrise.
- Hitodama – A fireball ghost that appears when someone dies, signifying the dead person's spirit.
- Hitotsume-kozō – A one-eyed child spirit.
- Hitotsume-nyūdō – A one-eyed monk spirit.
- Hiyoribō – The spirit which stops rainfall.
- Hoji – The wicked spirit of Tamamo-no-Mae.
- Hone-onna – The skeleton-woman.
- Hō-ō – The legendary Fenghuang bird of China.
- Hoshi-no-Tama – A ball guarded by a Kitsune (fox) which can give the one who obtains it power to force the Kitsune to help them. It is said to hold some reserves of the Kitsune's power.
- Hōsōshi – A ritual exorcist.
- Hotoke – A deceased person.
- Hyakki Yakō – The demons' night parade.
- Hyōsube – A kind of hair-covered Kappa.
- Ibaraki-doji – Offspring of an oni.
- Ichiren-Bozu – Animated prayer beads.
- Ikiryō – Essentially a living ghost, as it is a living person's soul outside of their body.
- Ikuchi – A sea-serpent that travels over boats in an arc while dripping oil.
- Inugami – A dog-spirit created, worshipped, and employed by a family via sorcery.
- Inugami Gyoubu – A type of tanuki.
- Isonade – A fish-like sea monster with a barb-covered tail.
- Issie – A lake monster.
- Itsumade – A fire-breathing birdlike monster.
- Ittan-momen – A possessed roll of cotton that attempts to smother people by wrapping itself around their faces.
- Iyaya – A woman whose face is reflected as an old man.
- Jami – A wicked mountain spirit.
- Janjanbi – A soul in the form of a ball of fire, named for the sound it makes.
- Jibakurei – A spirit that protects a specific place.
- Jikininki – Ghosts that eat human corpses.
- Jinmenju – A tree with human-faced fruits.
- Jishin-namazu – The giant catfish that causes earthquakes and tsunami. It was blamed during the Ansei quake & tsunami.
- Jorōgumo – A spider-woman.
- Jatai – Animated folding screen cloth.
- Jubokko – A vampiric tree.
- Kahaku (河伯) – Another name for a Kappa.
- Kamaitachi – The slashing sickle-clawed weasel that haunts the mountains.
- Kambarinyūdō – A monk spirit that spies on people using the toilet.
- Kameosa – A possessed sake jar.
- Kanedama – A spirit that carries money.
- Kappa – A famous water monster with a water-filled head and a love of cucumbers.
- Karasu-tengu – Crow demon.
- Karura – Anthropomorphic eagle akin to the Hindu Garuda.
- Kasa-obake – A possessed paper umbrella monster.
- Kasha – A cat-like demon that descends from the sky and carries away corpses.
- Katawaguruma – A type of Wanyudo, with an anguished woman instead of a monk's head in a burning wheel.
- Kawauso – River otters.
- Kawaakago – A river spirit that pretends to be a crying baby.
- Kechibi – Fireballs with human faces inside.
- Keneō – An old man seated in the underworld who weighs the clothes given to him by Datsue-ba.
- Keukegen – A small dog-like creature covered entirely in long hair.
- Kijimuna – A tree sprite from Okinawa.
- Kirin – The Japanese version of the Qilin of China, which is part dragon and part deer with antlers, fish scales and an ox's tail. Said to be a protective creature and the guardian of the metal element.
- Kitsune – A fox spirit.
- Kitsunebi – Flames created by the Kitsune.
- Kitsune no yomeiri
- Kiyohime – A woman who transformed into a serpent demon out of the rage of unrequited love.
- Kodama – A spirit that lives in a tree.
- Kokakuchō – The Ubume bird.
- Komainu – The pair of lion-dogs that guard the entrances of temples.
- Konaki-jiji – This yokai disguises itself as an abandoned baby then cries until someone picks it up.
- Konoha-tengu – A bird-like Tengu.
- Koromodako – An octopus-like Yokai that lives in the waters bordering Kyoto and Fukui.
- Koropokkuru – A little person from Ainu folklore.
- Kosenjōbi – Fireballs that float over former battlefields.
- Kosode-no-te – A possessed kosode.
- Kubikajiri – Female corpse-chewing graveyard spirit.
- Kuchisake-onna – The slit-mouthed woman.
- Kuda-gitsune – A small fox-like animal used in sorcery.
- Kudan – A cow with a human face.
- Kyonshī – The Japanese version of the Chinese hopping vampire, known as "jiangshi".
- Kumo Yōkai – A Japanese spider demon.
- Kyōkotsu – A skeletal figure that emerges from a well.
- Kyōrinrin – Possessed scrolls or papers.
- Mekurabe – The multiplying skulls that menaced Taira no Kiyomori in his courtyard.
- Miage-nyūdō – A spirit that grows as fast as you can look up at it.
- Mikaribaba – A one-eyed old woman.
- Mikoshi-nyūdō – A bald goblin with an extending neck.
- Misaki – High-ranking divine spirits.
- Mizuchi – A dangerous water dragon.
- Mokumokuren – A swarm of eyes that appear on a paper sliding door in an old building.
- Mononoke – Any mischievous and troublesome creature/entity of uncertain origin.
- Morinji-no-kama – Another name for Bunbuku Chagama, the tanuki teakettle.
- Mōryō – A general term for various water demons that eat corpses.
- Mujina – A shapeshifting badger.
- Mu-onna – The nothing woman.
- Myōbu – A title sometimes given to a fox.
- Namahage – A ritual-disciplinary demon from the Oga Peninsula.
- Namazu – A giant catfish that causes earthquakes.
- Nekomata – A cat yokai.
- Ningyo – A fish person or "mermaid".
- Nobusuma – A flying squirrel-like monster (possibly inspired by the Indian giant flying squirrel).
- Noderabō – Strange creatures that stand near a temple bell.
- Noppera-bō – A faceless ghost.
- Nozuchi – A fat snake-like creature.
- Nogitsune – A dangerous kitsune.
- Nue – A monster with the head of a monkey, the body of a raccoon dog, the legs of a tiger, and a snake-headed tail. It plagued the emperor with nightmares in the Heike Monogatari.
- Nukekubi – A vicious humanlike monster whose head detaches from its body, often confused with the Rokurokubi.
- Nuppeppo – An animated lump of decaying human flesh.
- Nure-onna – A female snake-like monster who appears on the shore.
- Nuribotoke – An animated corpse with blackened flesh and dangling eyeballs.
- Nurikabe – A ghostly wall that traps a traveler at night.
- Nurarihyon – A strange character who sneaks into houses on busy evenings.
- Nyūdō-bōzu – A yokai that grows larger the further one looks up.
- Neko – A cat spirit.
- Obake (or Bakemono) – Shapeshifting spirits.
- Obariyon – Yōkai which rides piggyback on a human victim and becomes unbearably heavy.
- Oboroguruma – An oxen cart with a face in its carriage.
- Oiwa – The ghost of a woman with a distorted face who was murdered by her husband. One of the most famous onryō.
- Ōgama – A giant toad which breathes rainbow-like smoke and wields a giant spear against whoever attacks it.
- Ōkami – A powerful wolf spirit that either takes your life or protects it depending on the actions one does in his or her life.
- Okiku – The plate-counting ghost of a servant girl.
- Ōkubi – The huge face of a woman which appears in the sky.
- Okuri-inu – A spectral dog which follows lone travelers, attacking them if they trip. Similar to the Black dog of English folklore.
- Ōmagatoki – Dusk.
- Ōmukade – A giant, human-eating centipede that lives in the mountains.
- Oni – The classic Japanese demon. It is an ogre-like creature which often has horns.
- Onibaba – The demonic hag of Adachigahara.
- Onibi – A demonic flame which can suck out life if people come too near.
- Onihitokuchi – One-eyed oni that kills and eat humans.
- Onikuma – Bear yōkai.
- Onmoraki – A bird-demon created from the spirits of freshly dead corpses.
- Ōnyūdō – Wastebasket taxon for all 'priestly' demons.
- Onryō – A vengeful ghost formed from powerful feelings like rage or sorrow.
- Otoroshi – A hairy creature that perches on the torii gates to shrines and temples.
- Onmyoji – A human who has powers like a yōkai's.
- Osakabe – A old woman yōkai which resides in Himeji Castle and who can read and manipulate hearts.
- Raijin – The God of Thunder.
- Raijū – A beast that falls to earth in a lightning bolt.
- Rōjinbi – A ghostly fire that appears with an old person.
- Rokurokubi – A person, usually female, whose neck can stretch indefinitely.
- Ryuu – The Japanese dragon.
- Sa Gojō – The water-monster Sha Wujing from Journey to the West, often interpreted in Japan as a Kappa.
- Samebito – A shark-man from the undersea Dragon Palace.
- Sankai – An amorphous afterbirth spirit.
- Sansei – A humanoid with a single leg twisted backwards.
- Satori – An ape-like creature that can read one's thoughts.
- Sazae-oni – A turban snail that turns into a woman.
- Sesshō-seki – The poisonous "killing stones" which Tamamo-no-Mae transformed into.
- Seiryū – Japanese version of the Chinese Azure Dragon.
- Shachihoko – A tiger-headed fish whose image is often used in architecture.
- Shibaemon-tanuki – A tanuki from Awaji Island.
- Shichinin misaki – A group of 7 ghosts who sicken the living.
- Shidaidaka – A humanoid yokai that appears above roads.
- Shikigami – A spirit summoned to do the bidding of an Onmyōji.
- Shikome – Wild women sent by Izanami to harm Izanagi.
- Shinigami – The Japanese Grim Reaper.
- Shiranui – A mysterious flame seen over the seas in Kumamoto Prefecture.
- Shirime (尻目) – An apparition in the shape of a man having an eye in the place of his anus.
- Shirōneri – Possessed mosquito nettings or dust clothes.
- Shiryō – The souls of the dead, the opposite of ikiryo.
- Shisa – The Okinawan version of the Shishi.
- Shishi – The paired lion-dogs that guard the entrances of temples.
- Shōjō – Red-haired sea sprites who love alcohol.
- Shōkera – A creature which peeks in through the skylight of an old house.
- Sōjōbō – The famous Daitengu of Mount Kurama.
- Suiko – Another name for Kappa.
- Son Gokū – The monkey king Sun Wukong from Journey to the West.
- Sunakake Baba – A witch who uses sand.
- Sunekosuri – A dog-like yokai that rubs up against people's legs when it is raining.
- Shuten-doji –
- Suzaku – The Japanese version of the Chinese Vermilion Bird.
- Taka-onna – A female monster that can stretch its waist to peer inside buildings.
- Tamamo-no-Mae – A wicked nine-tailed fox who appeared as a courtesan.
- Tanuki – A shape-shifting raccoon dog.
- Teke Teke – A vengeful spirit of a school girl, with a half upper torso body, who goes around killing people by slicing them in half with a scythe, mimicking her own disfigurement.
- Ten – A shapeshifting mischievous weasel.
- Tengu – A wise demon with two variants: a red man with a long nose, or a bird-like demon.
- Tenka (kaika)
- Tenko (fox)
- Tennin – A heavenly being.
- Te-no-me – A ghost of a blind man with his eyes on his hands.
- Tesso – A priest who was snubbed by the emperor and became a swarm of rats which laid waste to a rival temple.
- Tōfu-kozō – A yokai that appears as a young boy carrying a plate of tofu.
- Tsuchigumo – A clan of spider-like yokai.
- Tsuchinoko – A legendary serpentine monster. It is now a cryptid resembling a fat snake.
- Tsukinowaguma – A legendary bear.
- Tsukuyomi – A moon god.
- Tsukumogami – An animated tea caddy that Matsunaga Hisahide used to bargain a peace with Oda Nobunaga. It is now understood to mean any 100-year-old inanimate object that has come to life.
- Tsurube-otoshi – A monster that drops out of the tops of trees.
- Ubume – The spirit of a woman who died in childbirth.
- Uma-no-ashi – A horse's leg which dangles from a tree and kicks passersby.
- Umibōzu – A giant monster appearing on the surface of the sea.
- Umi-nyōbō – A female sea monster who steals fish.
- Ungaikyō – A possessed mirror.
- Ushi-no-tokimairi – A curse done at the ox hour (between 1 to 3 in the morning) by a black magic user, with various effects.
- Ushi-oni – A name given to an assortment of ox-headed monsters.
- Ushi-onna – A kimono-clad woman with a cow head.
- Uwan – A spirit named for the sound it shouts when surprising people.
- Waira – A large beast that lurks in the mountains, about which little is known.
- Wani – A water monster comparable to an alligator or crocodile. A related word has been applied to the saltwater crocodile.
- Wanyūdō – A flaming wheel with a man's head in the center, that sucks out the soul of anyone who sees it.
- Yadōkai – Monks who have turned to mischief.
- Yama-biko – Small creatures that create echoes.
- Yamajijii – An old man with one eye and one leg.
- Yamako – An apelike occasionally cannibalistic creature that can read minds.
- Yamaoroshi – A possessed vegetable grater, almost porcupine-like in appearance.
- Yamata no Orochi – The eight-headed dragon/serpent monster slain by the god Susanoo.
- Yama-inu – A dog-like mountain spirit, that may appear to travelers on mountain roads; may be friendly, or may attack and kill the traveler, depending on the tale (also see the Japanese wolf).
- Yama-uba – A crone-like yōkai.
- Yashima no Hage-tanuki – A tanuki that protects the Taira clan.
- Yatagarasu – The three-legged crow of Amaterasu.
- Yato-no-kami – Deadly Snake gods which infested a field.
- Yobuko – A mountain-dwelling spirit.
- Yōkai/Youkai – A class of supernatural monsters, spirits, and demons in Japanese folklore. They can also be called ayakashi (妖?), mononoke (物の怪?), or mamono (魔物?).
- Yomotsu-shikome – The hags of the underworld.
- Yōsei – The Japanese word for "fairy".
- Yosuzume – A mysterious bird that sings at night, sometimes indicating that the okuri-inu is near.
- Yuki-onna – The snow woman.
- Yurei – Ghosts in a more Western sense.
- Zashiki-warashi – A protective childlike house spirit.
- Zennyo Ryūō – A rain-making dragon.
- Zorigami – An animated clock.
- Zuijin – A tutelary spirit.
- Zunbera-bō – Another name for the Noppera-bō.
- "The Oriental Economic Review". Oriental Information Agency. 14 July 2018 – via Google Books.
- Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women who Run with the Wolves (1996), Ch. 12.