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Artist's depiction of Wanyudo, circa 1779

Wanyūdō (Japanese: 輪入道 literally "wheel (輪) monk (入道)"), also known as "Firewheel" or "Soultaker",[1] is a figure in Japanese mythology, a relatively well-known yōkai in the folklore of Japan; earliest reports of Wanyūdō date back to the Heian period.


Wanyūdō takes the form of a burning oxcart wheel bearing the tormented face of a man. Various folklore purports him as the condemned soul of a tyrant daimyo who, in life, was known for having his victims drawn on the back of an oxcart. He is said to guard the gates of Hell, and to wander back and forth along the road between this world and the underworld, scaring townsfolk as he passes and stealing the souls of anyone who gets too close in order to bring them to Hell with him.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bane, Theresa (2016). Encyclopedia of Spirits and Ghosts in World Mythology. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 121–2. ISBN 978-1-4766-6355-5. 

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