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Nurarihyon (ぬらりひょん?, alternatively 滑瓢), or Nūrihyon (ぬうりひょん?), is a Japanese Yōkai said to originate from Wakayama Prefecture. It is speculated that the original name used was Nūrihyon, with Nurarihyon being a misreading that got perpetuated.[1][2]


The name Nurarihyon is a portmanteau of the words "Nurari" (Japanese: ぬらり or 滑) meaning "to slip away" and "hyon" (Japanese: ひょん or 瓢), an onomatopoeia used to describe something floating upwards. In the name, the sound "hyon" is represented by the character for "gourd".[3] The Nurarihyon is unrelated to another, similarly named ocean Yōkai from Okayama Prefecture.[4]

Appearance and Behaviour[edit]

Nurarihyon, from Sawaki Sūshi "Hyakkai Zukan"

The Nurarihyon is usually depicted as an old man with a gourd-shaped head and wearing a kesa.[3]

The Nurarihyon is often depicted sneaking into people's houses while they are away, drinking their tea, and acting as if it is their own house.[4][5] However, this depiction is not one based in folklore, but one based on hearsay and repeated in popular Yōkai media. [4][6]

In Popular Culture[edit]

The Nurarihyon has become quite popular in contemporary Yōkai media, particularly due to the fact that its lack of a concrete background leaves it open to interpretation.[4]

  • The Nurarihyon was the name of a monster in Ninja Sentai Kakuranger where he was the leader of the Youkai Army Corps during the days of Feudal Japan. His head was recycled in Season Three of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers where it was used to make a hybrid monster suit for Inciserator alongside Merrick the Barbaric's body and the cape of Birdcage Vagabond from Gosei Sentai Dairanger (unused in Season Two).
  • The Nurarihyon appears in Yo-kai Watch. He is a Boss Yo-kai of the Shady Tribe who is the head of the Yo-kai Council.
  • In the comic book series Wayward, the Nurarihyon appears as one of the primary antagonists. His appearance resembles a dapper looking man in a straw hat and Showa-era suit.[8]


  1. ^ Murakami 2000, p. 255.
  2. ^ Kyōgoku & Tada 2000, p. 149-150.
  3. ^ a b Meyer 2013, p. "Nurarihyon".
  4. ^ a b c d Foster & Kijin 2014, p. 218.
  5. ^ Mizuki 1994, p. 344-345.
  6. ^ Kyōgoku & Tada 2000, p. 149.
  7. ^ Foster & Kijin 2014, p. 218-219.
  8. ^ Davisson 2015, p. "Nurarihyon".


  • Davisson, Zack (March 2015). "Back Matter: Nurarihyon". Wayward Volume One: String Theory. Image Comics. ISBN 978-1-63215-173-5. 
  • Foster, Michael Dylan; Kijin, Shinonome (2014). The Book of Yōkai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520271029. 
  • Kyōgoku, Natsuhiko; Tada, Katsumi (2000). Yōkai Zukan. Kokusho Kankōkai. ISBN 4336041873. 
  • Meyer, Matthew (2013). "Nurarihyon". Retrieved 22 May 2016. 
  • Mizuki, Shigeru (1994). Zusetsu Nihon Yōkai Taizen. Kōdansha. ISBN 9784062776028. 
  • Murakami, Kenji (2000). Yōkai Jiten. Mainichi Shinbunsha. ISBN 4620314285. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]