The anime Natsume Yuujinchou features a parade of spirits, most stylized and loosely based on the characteristics of spirits from mythology, while a few are traditional, such as a Kappa in episode 4[1] and a Kitsune in episode 7.[2] Pictured is Natsume, expelling the magical Kanji inscriptions from one of his grandmother's scrolls with his breath, to release the spirit it names from bondage. Behind him is the true form of the cat spirit that follows Natsume in hopes of obtaining the power of the book of scrolls

The culture and history of the entire world, in particular the Global South and indigenous Americas, was of the utmost importance to the hippie movement; their interests, inspiration, politics and even their own music and culture was influenced by it in profound ways. Japanese culture was no exception.

Elements from Japanese folklore and Japanese mythology are common in the Japanese and Japanese-influenced (slightly alternative) late 20th and 21st C popular culture. Not only a large proportion of Anime and Manga of course are infused with them, but also interactive storytelling such as paper or electronic roleplaying games.

Contrary to popular belief, this fusion of mythology and gaming is not merely a modern invention, but also originally a Japanese one. Obake Karuta, as it is popularly known, or Yokai karuta as it is referred to by scholar[3], means 'monster cards', and was played in 19th century Japan. Each card was decorated with an illustration of the same spirits and demons from Japanese mythology as are found in this list, and a letter of the Hiragana syllabary in the top right corner.[4] Pokémon is open to new interpretation in the light of a comparison between Obake Karuta and say, Whist.

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Many of the spirits or demons were spirits of objects. Even more than European pixies and imps, whether they were benevolent or malign depended on the relations between the spirits and the human encountering them, the individual spirit and their mood.

This belief in spirits of mundane furnishings is in stark contrast to the European tradition. For one thing, Europeans commonly call things "inanimate objects" with not the slightest hint that they might be otherwise. But the clincher is that, by the Middle Ages at the very latest, even mythical animated or sentient objects were always objects possessed by a spirit, not a being of that form. Water, minerals like rocks, perhaps, a fair number of 'genius locii' (spirit of a place), and of course trees were considered by European myth to have spirits within, but never manufactured objects. The Shinto animist religion believed material items contained within them such Tsukumogami spirits which awoke after their 100th birthday. Perhaps originally a rumor spread by furniture makers? "Buy a new one, already!"

The Western "possession" of objects by spirits, and imbuing objects with magical properties, if rare, were both present in Japanese myth as well, but the archetype of the spirit object is so ingrained in Japanese myth that even the spirit-possessed sword, so pervasive in Western modern fantasy literature, hardly ever appears. Spirits in Manga and Anime and Japanese games may be swords, but they do not enchant them.

Japanese modern myths often blend modern technology and medieval fantasy into what has so far been a unique fusion; the products of science, or at least science fiction, such as robots and battle mechs are given a spirit nature by naming them after mythological air and water spirits and fiery demons.

AmanojakuAmefurikozōAmikiriBakenekoBinbōgamiChochinobakeFunayūreiGashadokuroHone-onnaJorōgumoKamaitachiKappaKitsuneMokumokurenMujinaNoppera-bōNueNure-onnaObake KarutaOniOnibabaRokurokubiShikigamiShinigamiShumoku-onnaTanukiTenguTsuchigumoTsukumogamiUmibōzuUshi-oniWanyūdōYuki-onnaZashiki-warashiReferences

Amanojaku[edit | edit source]

File:Noma-taibo Amanojaku.jpg

Amanojaku are small demon tempters that can see into the hearts of humans; they are derived from the Amanosagume

Wikipedia:Amanojaku: the Amanojaku's ability to know the desires of its victims makes it the better able to find suitable or effective temptations for them

  • There is a Japanese musical group called Amanojaku. Founded in 1986 by Yoichi Watanabe, their sound is a fusion of Western music styles with Wikipedia:taiko.
  • In Japanese, the term amanojaku also refers to a person who is deliberately contradictory, someone who argues for the sake of arguing, or can be used in common Japanese conversation to refer to someone who is a "Perverted Demon".

Amefurikozō[edit | edit source]


The Amefurikozō carries a paper lantern and wears an old umbrella

Wikipedia:Amefurikozō: spirits in the form of children who may invoke storms

  • The Pokémon (descendant of Obake Karuta) Castform shares the Amefurikozō's childlike appearance and ability to control weather.
  • Shinichi and Misao are Kitsune from Japan that terrorizes towns and destroys them for their own entertainment.

Amikiri[edit | edit source]


Amikiri means "net cutter", and this one from Japanese artist Toriyama Sekien's book of demon illustrations seems well equipped to the task

Amikiri (pictured in the Wikipedia:Gazu Hyakki Yakō "The Illustrated Night Parade of A Hundred Demons" by Toriyama Sekien): bane of fishermen, its name means "net cutter"; it is a small snake-like creature with a bird-like head and lobster-like claws

Bakeneko[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia:Bakeneko: Cat spirits or demons, that may take a roughly humanoid shape: the Nekomata version has a forked tail or multiple tails

  • In the manga/anime series Wikipedia:InuYasha, Kirara, Sango's demon companion, is a Bakeneko (specifically a Nekomata type because of its forked tail) that transforms from a cute cat-like creature into a large demon surrounded in flame and capable of flight.
  • In the anime Wikipedia:Inukami!, the character Tomekichi is a benevolent nekomata who honors an obligation to a deceased priest who once took care of him.
File:Suuhi Nekomata.jpg

Traditional ink and watercolor painting of a Bakeneko cat spirit, with the human posture and part-human build this class of mythical being shares with the European werewolves. Nekomatas are distinguished from Bakenekos by their forked tails

  • In the series Claymore, Luciela, the abyssal one of the South, has an awakened form resembling a two-tailed cat demon.
  • In the manga/anime series Naruto, Kakuzu and Hidan find the two-tailed bijuu which has the appearance of a giant nekomata when fully materialized.
  • In the anime series Wikipedia:Xam'd: Lost Memories, there is a small, green and white, rabbit-like creature called a nekomata adopted by two children who name it Roppa.
  • The character Shino from Oni-Gokko is a Bakeneko.

Obake karuta (monster cards) gaming card with an illustration of a Chochinobake Lantern demon. The Shinto religion believed material items contained within them such Tsukumogami spirits. The hiragana character is ち, read as chi

  • In AdventureQuest Worlds, the Nekomata is featured as an NPC and a monster. He pretends to help the players by getting rid of the Skello Kitty infestation. He later turns out to be in cahoots with Kitsune and the player fights Nekomata.
  • In another of Rumiko Takahashi's manga series, Wikipedia:Ranma 1/2, a bakeneko is in the series looking for a bride.

Binbōgami[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia:Binbōgami: Skinny dirty elderly man with uchiwa fan in hand; the warmth of the Irori sunken hearth, if lit on festival days, attracts his opposite, Fukunokami (福の神, the kami of good luck, and thus dispels the Binbōgami.

Chochinobake[edit | edit source]


Funayūrei[edit | edit source]

File:Obake Karuta 3-03.jpg

Funayūrei ghost ship, or ship ghost if you prefer; the latter instantly conveys the Shinto concept of a living artifact. The character is お, read as o

Wikipedia:Funayūrei: Ghost ships. Ships that are merely abandoned are not on this list; only those with a fated or sentient presence. This is still expanding the definition a little; Funayūrei, like all Japanese object spirits, were strictly sentient beings

  • The Funayūrei are featured in AdventureQuest Worlds. They are located near a river on Yokai Island.
  • Solitary (and easy to miss) ghost ship enemy in the glass tunnel leading to the Junon Underwater Reactor in Final Fantasy VII (on Wikia: Ghost Ship
  • A ghost ship, the Princess Louvia, features prominently in the plot of The Legend of Dragoon.[5][6] Fate is woven tightly between the party characters, their quest, the ship, and even its name, in ways that do not become clear until long after they leave it.
  • One of the characters is captured by a Ghost Ship at the beginning of Wikipedia:Legend of Zelda:Phantom Hourglass[7]

Gashadokuro[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia:Gashadokuro: Gigantic skeleton spirits

File:Mitsukuni defying the skeleton spectre invoked by princess Takiyasha.jpg

Mitsukuni defying the skeleton spectre invoked by princess Takiyasha

  • In the Studio Ghibli movie Wikipedia:Pom Poko, the monster parade scene features a Gashadokuro.
  • In AdventureQuest Worlds, the Gashadokuro is featured as the forbidden Beast of Chaos called the O-Dokuro. Kitsune uses the Hanzamune Blade to free it from a time rift.

Hone-onna[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia:Hone-onna: Spirit taking the form of an emaciated or skeletal woman

Jorōgumo[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia:Jorōgumo: Spider-related malevolent spirit or demon; as is appropriate for tales of a creature that uses stealth and subterfuge in pursuit of its prey, it may appear in many different forms

  • In the manga Wikipedia:xxxHOLiC, a Jorōgumo captures a Zashiki-warashi and consumes Watanuki's right eye, setting her free.
  • In the manga Wikipedia:Rosario + Vampire, as well as its animated adaptation, Keito, one of the members of the Student Police, is a Jorōgumo.
  • In the popular game Wikipedia:Okami, the first actual boss called the Spider Queen is based on the Jorogumo.
  • In Soul Eater, the villain Arachne was probably based on the Jorogumo.
  • In the animated movie Wikipedia:Hellboy: Sword of Storms, Hellboy meets a Jorōgumo who tries to kill him and steal the Sword of Storms (which has two powerful demon brothers named Lightning and Thunder sealed within). Like in many stories of legend, this Jorōgumo can breathe fire and tries to lure Hellboy by playing a Biwa.

Kamaitachi[edit | edit source]


Kamaitachi spirits of the whirling wind

Wikipedia:Kamaitachi: Aggressive spirits. One of the original names was kamaetachi, for 'attacking'; a more recent scholar made a pun of this and gave the modern name meaning 'weasel' and 'whirlwind'. This later form is thus a whirling frenzy or whirlwind of slashing animals not dissimilar from that seen in cartoons to simulate a fight, or the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil (not a very dignified association, but a close one).

  • In the anime Wikipedia:One Piece, the character Tashigi, a swordswoman, used a technique called Kamaitachi.
  • Jirobo Ikkanzaka from Bleach is known as "Kamaitachi Jirobo" for his Kamaitachi attack method.
  • In the Wikipedia:Digimon series, Wikipedia:Kyukimon is a Digimon patterned after the legend of the kamaitachi. The characters 窮奇, used to write Kamaitachi, can alternatively be read as kyūki.
  • In the Japanese version of Pokémon (see Obake Karuta), there is an attack named "Kamaitachi". It was translated into English as "Razor Wind". Also in Pokémon, two species (Sneasel and Weavile) are based on the Kamaitachi, being weasels with sharp claws that resemble blades.
  • In the anime Wikipedia:Ushio and Tora, the two-part story "Insanity of the Wind" told over episodes 9 and 10 involves one of the three Kamaitachi triplets going on a killing spree, forcing the other two to ask Ushio for help.
  • In the anime Wikipedia:Mokke, episode 10 concerns a young girl befriending a kamaitachi.
  • In the anime Wikipedia:Ghost Hunt, episode 24 includes kazuyasu of the Yoshimi family to be possessed by a spirit that uses a kamaitachi as a weapon
  • In the Super Nintendo game Ninja Warriors, Kamaitachi is one of the three playable characters, a cyborg ninja that attacks with blades on its arms.
  • In the anime and manga series Ghost Hunt during the cursed house case, some of the zombie/dead spirits used Kamaitachi.
  • In the Wikipedia:Monster Rancher video game series by Wikipedia:Tecmo, Ripper, a swift, weasel-like monster species capable of manipulating ice and wind is based on the Kamaitachi legend.
  • Kamaitachi is the name of the program used to subvert the Apple Computer-supplied bootloader / kernel system in the Apple iPhone to get it run alternative kernels such as linux.
  • Kamaitachi is the name of a Mikura (a Wikipedia:yōkai turned blood-drinking machine) in the anime/CG 6-part OVA Karas (voiced by Wikipedia:Dave Mallow). It is depicted as a humanoid robot with various razor blades.
  • In the Basilisk manga, Chikuma Koshiro has a technique called Senpuu Kamaitachi, a local wind vortex strong enough to partially blow a person's head off.

Kappa[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia:Kappa (folklore): Water spirits, natural swimmers; the phrase "Kappa drowning in a river" is used to convey the lesson that even experts can make mistakes

File:Hellboy Sword Of Storms cover.jpg

In Sword Of Storms, Hellboy encounters various many mythological monsters (Wikipedia:yōkai): Kappa, an #Oni, a trio of #Rokurokubi, a #Jorōgumo, a group of #Nukekubi, and three restless ghosts

  • In Wikipedia:Tokyo Mew Mew, Kish created a Chimera Anima version of a Kappa (namely the Hyōsube type) from Aoyamada's spirit.
  • In the MMORPG game AdventureQuest Worlds, there are enemies called Kappa Ninjas. They come in two types: a blue Kappa Ninja and a green Kappa Ninja with an orange shell.
  • Ouji Karasuma from Wikipedia:School Rumble owns rain gear which draws many characteristics of Kappa. He lends the set to Tenma in one episode.

Kitsune[edit | edit source]

File:Obake Karuta 3-01.jpg

The creature depicted on this card is a kitsune. The hiragana character is ゐ, read as wi

  • Sakura from the anime Wikipedia:Hyper Police.
  • Kitsune is the name of a woman/legendary figure in Wikipedia:The Veil trilogy by Wikipedia:Christopher Golden. Kitsune usually takes the guise of a beautiful Japanese woman who wears a foxfur cloak, but is able to transform herself into a fox when the occasion calls for it. At turns Kitsune is enamored by, and adversarial of, the main character of the series, Oliver Bascombe.
  • Chizuru Minamoto from the Wikipedia:light novel/anime/manga series Wikipedia:Kanokon is a kitsune who falls in love with the main character Kouta Oyamada. Her brother Tayura and her adoptive mother Tamamo are also kitsune, the latter being based on Wikipedia:Tamamo-no-Mae, the golden, white-faced nine-tailed fox of Japanese myth.
  • In Wikipedia:Kelley Armstrong's short story collection, Men of the Otherworld, the story "Kitsunegari" features several kitsune and a part-kitsune werewolf.
  • In Wikipedia:Ljane Smith's The Vampire Diaries - The Return, Nightfall, the main antagonists is a couple of cruel and malevolent kitsune twins, Shinichi and Misao, who are bent on destroying the entire town for their own amusement
  • In the video game series Animal Crossing Tom Nook's shopkeeper rival, Crazy Redd, is a kitsune (opposingly as Nook himself is a tanuki). Redd is known as a trickster in the game, operating the Black Market; he will often sell the player plain objects at inflated prices.
  • In the manga Wikipedia:Naruto, the main character Wikipedia:Naruto Uzumaki is possessed by a very destructive giant kitsune, the Wikipedia:Nine-Tailed Demon Fox, at the time of his birth via a seal. As a result, he has facial markings that resemble fox whiskers and is often mischievous. When enraged, he takes on fox-like traits and occasionally projects a fox-shaped aura with a matching shadow.
  • The PS2 & Wii game Wikipedia:Ōkami incorporates many aspects of the Kitsune legends during the second arc of the game, including Nine-tails, fox-fire, transformation, god-like appearance of white fur, and mischievous abilities (like division and interfering during the celestial brush mode). The myth of Wikipedia:Tamamo-no-Mae is also referenced.
  • In Wikipedia:AdventureQuest Worlds, the 4th Lord of Chaos is named Kitsune. Kitsune is shown as an anthropomorphic fox whose desire to not have outsiders on Yokai Island. This had led Drakath into Chaorrupting him into an armored Yokai Shogun.
  • In Wikipedia:Rosario + Vampire, Kuyo, the head of the Student Police (and final opponent of the first story arc), is a four-tailed Kitsune.
  • Characters of the Venomancer class in the MMORPG Wikipedia:Perfect World are exclusively female, and can transform into a fox. One of the indigenous wandering creatures of PW is a nine-tailed fox.

Mokumokuren[edit | edit source]


Mujina[edit | edit source]


Noppera-bō[edit | edit source]


Nue[edit | edit source]

File:Obake Karuta 1-10.jpg

Nue (鵺) depicted on an Obake Karuta card. Kana is ぬ, read as nu


  • The Japanese band Wikipedia:Kagrra has an album titled Nue, containing the track "Nue no Naku Koro" (鵺の哭く頃, "When the Nue Cries".
  • The Avex artist Wikipedia:Tomiko Van has a song called "Nue no Naku Yoru" (鵺の鳴く夜, "The Night When the Nue Cries")
  • A Nue appears as the boss for the Extra Stage of the twelfth Wikipedia:Touhou Project game, Undefined Fantastic Object, and is named Nue Houjuu. This Nue has the ability to conceal her true form, so all descriptions of her are different. The form she's fought in looks like a human that has three red metallic wings and three blue wings similar to tails. This is her true form, and the fact that it's her true form is the reason she attacked the main characters, so they couldn't go out and tell everyone what she looks like. She's also enveloped in a black cloud during a few of her attacks.
  • In the Japanese version of the game Wikipedia:Blood Will Tell, Kagemitsu Daigo transforms into a Nue during one of the final battles. However, in the English version, the monster is referred to as a chimera.
  • The anime series Mononoke features a two-episode arc, titled "Nue," in which the mononoke is determined to have the form/shape (Katachi) of a Nue. Its appearance does not match the historical description; it instead appears as a human at different ages depending on the observer, which is explained as the reason for the nue's fantastic description—that different observers combined rushed glances of different animals into one creature.
  • Nue are intelligent and funny looking creatures in the game Wikipedia:Chrono Trigger. They look nothing like their traditional counterparts.

Nure-onna[edit | edit source]


  • A Nure-onna is featured in Wikipedia:AdventureQuest Worlds. She is depicted as a half-woman half-snake monster that dwells in the Yokai River on Yokai Island.

Obake Karuta[edit | edit source]

Main article: Anarchopedia: Obake Karuta

Obake karuta is a Japanese card game created in the Edo period that remained popular through the 1910s or 1920s.[4] Each playing card in the deck features a character from the hiragana syllabary and a creature from Wikipedia:Japanese mythology; in fact, obake karuta means ghost cards or monster cards.[4] Success requires knowledge of Japanese mythology and folklore as players attempt to collect cards that match clues read by a referee. The player who accumulates the most cards by the end of the game wins.

Obake karuta is an early example of the common Japanese fascination with classifying monsters and creating new ones. The game is one of the earliest attempts by Japanese companies to define and categorize legendary creatures. As such, it is a precursor to the Godzilla films of the 1950s and later. Even more closely, obake karuta resembles the Yu-Gi-Oh! or Pokémon Trading Card Game, which also involves collecting cards that represent fabulous creatures. In fact, many Pokémon were designed specifically after creatures from Japanese mythology.[4]

Oni[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia:Oni (folklore)

  • The Wikipedia:Touhou Project series of shoot-'em-up games has a character named Suika Ibuki, an oni with a massive gourd on her back capable of producing an endless amount of sake; legend has it that no one has seen her sober in her 700 year life. A later game in the series marked the appearance of Yuugi Hoshiguma, Suika's oni associate from a group of four incredibly powerful oni that they both belong to, called the "Four Devas of the Mountains." Yuugi, despite being as great a drinker as Suika while being just as cheerful, is even less of a lightweight than Suika, being able to enter into a fight without seeming intoxicated or even spilling any of the sake in her sake dish.
  • The Bleach character Love Aikawa has an Oni-themed mask. Also, his zanpakuto's released form is a large spiked Wikipedia:kanabō.
  • In the Wikipedia:Mortal Kombat universe, the denizens of the Netherrealm (the series' equivalent of Wikipedia:hell) are called Oni (though they represent a drastic deviation from the Japanese concept, being primitive ape-like demons), and the oni character Drahmin's right arm is replaced by a metal club. Another Oni fighter of the series is Moloch.
  • In Dragon Ball and Wikipedia:Dragon Ball Z, an Oni called King Yemma runs the Check-In Station in Other World, where he decides which souls go to Heaven and which to Hell. The Check-In Station and Hell are also staffed by many other oni, many of which hold iron clubs.
  • In the Wikipedia:Digimon series, there is a level Champion digimon called Wikipedia:Ogremon, which is a classical interpretation of the Japanese Oni. Hyogamon and Fugamon (two variations of Ogremon, representing ice and wind respectively) are also Oni.
  • In Wikipedia:Hellboy: Sword of Storms, Wikipedia:Hellboy fought a giant Oni. Before the final blow can be struck with the Sword of Storms, the Oni fades away so that Hellboy can break the Sword of Storms on the statue releasing the brothers Thunder and Lightning.
  • Wikipedia:Kamen Rider Hibiki, a Japanese Wikipedia:tokusatsu series, uses Oni (which is what the Kamen Riders here are referred as) as a main theme of the series. It tells the story about ancient battle between the Oni and the Makamou. In another popular tokusatsu, the Ultra series, it is not uncommon for Oni to appear and do battle with an Ultraman.
  • Meisuke "Nube" Nueno of the manga/anime Wikipedia:Jigoku Sensei Nube has an Oni residing in his right hand, which he uses to exorcise and defeat demons.

Onibaba[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia:Onibaba (folklore)

  • The meaning of the word "Onibaba" in Japanese means "demon mother".

Rokurokubi[edit | edit source]

File:Obake Karuta 1-02.jpg

Rokurokubi (ろくろ首) pictured on a Obake Karuta gaming card. The hiragana character is ろ, read as ro


  • Three Rokurokubi appear in the animated film Wikipedia:Hellboy: Sword of Storms. They appear as one of several groups of monsters trying to steal the Sword of Storms from Hellboy so that they can release the spirit of two imprisoned demons.
  • The character Orochimaru in the manga/anime Wikipedia:Naruto is shown to stretch his neck great distances while fighting three of the main characters.

Shikigami[edit | edit source]


  • In Wikipedia:Zenki, Zenki and Gouki were shikigami of Ozunu Enno, the ancestor of Chiaki Enno, the protagonist. In the series itself, the two act as shikigami for Chiaki.
  • Shikigami make recurring appearances in the manga/anime series Wikipedia:InuYasha. Wikipedia:Kikyo uses several to collect souls and to deliver messages and creates three human-like shikigami when she is poisoned and needs to bide time to find a way to recover. Two of her shikigami take on the form of two girls, Wikipedia:Kochō and Asuka, and the third one is a replica of herself. Another character in the series, Tsubaki, creates several shikigami as well. Kururugi from the video game Inuyasha: The Cursed Mask uses shikigami as weapons, to heal, and to defend.
  • Wikipedia:Maggie Mui in the anime Wikipedia:Read or Die: the TV, the middle sister of the three Paper Sisters, creates paper monsters to act as weapons and tools; they are sometimes referred to as shikigami.
  • The anime Wikipedia:Onmyou Taisenki revolves around the use of shikigami as spirits or fallen deities summoned to fight each other.
  • In Japanese anime and manga Wikipedia:Ghost Sweeper Mikami, Meiko Rokudō (六道 冥子), a sweet and innocent but extremely powerful teenage girl, directly controls twelve shikigami.
  • In the Japanese anime and light novel series Wikipedia:Rental Magica, Nekoyashiki uses four shikigami which take the form of cats.
  • When the player fights the character Sheena Fujibayashi in the video game Wikipedia:Tales of Symphonia, shikigami appear and fight alongside her.
  • The four protagonists in the anime Wikipedia:Saiyuki Reload are confronted by 'clone' copies of themselves when they fight a Shikigami.
  • In the anime Ghost Hunt, Koujo Lin is a onmyōji and he has five shikigami.
  • Shikigami are again animated magical servants in the Wikipedia:Kekkaishi anime; paper dolls that perform tasks.
  • In the anime/manga series Wikipedia:Tsukuyomi -Moon Phase-, the vampire girl, Hazuki, has a shikigami by the name of Haiji. This information is according to AnimeNfo.com & the Moon Phase anime DVD set; Vol. 2.
File:Ryuk perched Death Note.jpg

Shinigamis are shown as having powers over death in the anime series Death Note; the Shinigami 'Ryuk', pictured, is a primary character in the series, who comes from the death realm to the human and maintains a vigil at the side of a youth to whom he offers these same powers

  • In several of Wikipedia:Laurence Yep's books (most notably the Tiger's Apprentice series), the antagonists use monsters that, when killed, turn into paper dolls.
  • In the anime & manga series Wikipedia:Naruto, the character Konan uses paper to fight and can also turn into paper. This technique is called "Dance of the Shikigami".

Shinigami[edit | edit source]


  • In Bleach, the Shinigami are known as "Soul Reapers".
  • Most of the action in the manga Soul Eater centers around the students of the Death Weapon Meister Academy (Shinigami Buki Shokunin Senmon Gakkou; lit. "Polytechnical School for Death God Weaponsmiths") striving to turn their partner into a scythe for Shinigami-sama, the school's headmaster. Shinigami-sama also has a son, Death the Kid (who was said to be a Shinigami himself as well), who enrolls into the Academy early in the series.
  • In Wikipedia:Rumiko Takahashi's manga series Wikipedia:Rin-ne, Shinigami are death gods who lead the souls of the dead to the wheel of reincarnation which then brings that person back into the world as a different being.

Shumoku-onna[edit | edit source]

File:Obake Karuta 2-12.jpg

The creature depicted on this card is maybe a shumoku-onna. The hiragana character is う, read as u

Wikipedia:Final Fantasy XII's Shoopuf drivers, the Hypello, are humanoids with large wide-set eyes in the manner of Shumoku-onna, as seen on the Obake Karuta card pictured. (on Wikia: Hypello

Tanuki[edit | edit source]


  • All the main characters in Wikipedia:Pom Poko are shapeshifting Tanuki who are trying to save their habitat from urban development. Japanese legends about Tanuki and Wikipedia:kitsune shapeshifting are featured heavily throughout the movie. The Tanuki were mistranslated in the film as raccoons.
  • In the story Wikipedia:Botchan by Wikipedia:Natsume Soseki, the protagonist refers to his employer, a school principal, as "Tanuki", although this has been mistranslated as "Badger" in the English version (However, to all intents and purposes, "Badger" may be the best translation, since the verb "badger" means to pester or annoy someone).
  • Hachi, from the anime series Wikipedia:InuYasha, takes the form of a Tanuki, though he is introduced as a badger in the English dub.
  • Wikipedia:Tom Nook, the shopkeeper in Wikipedia:Animal Crossing, is a Tanuki (although translated as a raccoon) and the furniture and other objects that he buys and sells transform into leaves when stored in a player's inventory. His name in Japanese, Tanukichi, is a much more obvious play on the word Tanuki. Tom Nook's nephews, Timmy and Tommy, are also Tanuki.
File:Obake Karuta 2-04.jpg

Tanuki pictured in a 19th C Obake Karuta card set. The hiragana kana character is た, read as ta

  • In the Wikipedia:Ever17 visual novel by KID, Komachi Tsugumi wears a mascot Tanuki suit and beats the protagonist pretty hard when he tries to seek the help from her, when he gets lost in amusement park. Later, Yuubiseiharukana explains that isn't a "tanuki", but a "lemur".
  • In the videogame Wikipedia:Ōkami, Tanuki statues can be seen in front of various shops.
  • In the Wikipedia:Renkin 3-kyū Magical? Pokān episode "The Hot Spell is the Spontaneous Onsen," the four princesses encounter Tanuki in the form of women that ended up luring the girls into a hot spring that they were looking for and end up stealing their clothes near the end of the episode. When they noticed the tanukis in their clothes close to the end, Uma claims that this is what they meant by "tricked by a Tanuki."
  • Tanuki are featured in Wikipedia:AdventureQuest Worlds. They reside in Yokai Island's Bamboo Forest and have been bewitched by the 4th Lord of Chaos named Kitsune. They are shown as their usual descriptions, but are larger than normal, wearing a nightcap, and can breathe fire.
  • Reiko Asagiri from the anime Wikipedia:Gate Keepers has a statue of a Tanuki in her collection of souvenirs from places she and her fellow AEGIS agents operated.

Tengu[edit | edit source]


File:Obake Karuta 2-10.jpg

The real life Minamoto no Raikō is pictured on this Obake Karuta card. He is depicted in a fictional context, though, facing a Tsuchigumo. The hiragana character is ら, read as ra

  • In the anime Wikipedia:Occult Academy there are rumors of a Tengu in the first episodes but it is proven later that this was actually just a Mothman.
  • In the manga Black Bird, Kyo Usui is the leader of the Tengu Clan.

Tsuchigumo[edit | edit source]


  • A Tsuchigumo is the first Ayakashi to appear in the Wikipedia:Omamori Himari anime. It posseessed minor character Taizo Masaki and attacked Yuto and Rinko on the school's rooftop until it was driven out and killed by Himari.


Tsukumogami[edit | edit source]

File:Obake Karuta 3-07.jpg

The creature depicted on this card is a Geta-obake, a sort of Tsukumogami. Geta is the Japanese platform sandal, visible as the head of the creature. The hiragana character is け, read as ke

  • The Tsukumogami appear in AdventureQuest Worlds. They are found in Yokai Island's junkyard and come in different shapes.
  • In the manga/anime Wikipedia:Omamori Himari, Lizlet L. Chelsie is a Tsukumogami whose true body is a teacup. She appears as a busty young girl dressed in a maid's outfit and her human body can withstand stabs from bladed weapons and is capable of superhuman strength. Her main weakness, however, is her true body, as she is symbiotic to it.
  • In the Wikipedia:anime Wikipedia:Hell Girl, one of Ai's assistants, Ren Ichimoku, is a Tsukumogami whose true form is a Wikipedia:katana. He usually appears as a handsome young man dressed in modern clothing, and is also the one who becomes the blue straw doll whenever revenge is requested.

Umibōzu[edit | edit source]


  • A character in the manga Wikipedia:City Hunter is nicknamed "Umibōzu". He is a large muscle-bound hitman and his bald head is what earned him the nickname of Umibōzu.
  • In a filler arc of the anime Wikipedia:Naruto, a man who is an accomplice of Orochimaru named Amachi summoned a creature known as Umibōzu, which is a monster made up of water with a grey outline as a body. It was sometimes used to help sink ships traveling from the Sea Country to the Water Country.
  • Umibōzu is also the name of Kagura's father (who is bald and has been referred to as a monster) in the manga Wikipedia:Gintama.
  • The manga/anime/movie Wikipedia:Lovely Complex features a fictitious band named Umibōzu with an eponymous, bald lead singer.
  • A traditional Umibōzu folktale is told in the second story arc of the anime Mononoke, a sequel to Wikipedia:Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales, which combined folktales, Kabuki plays, and animated versions of 19th century woodblock art prints to retell classic ghost stories.
  • Umibōzu is a user-driven meta search engine.

Ushi-oni[edit | edit source]


  • In the Wikipedia:Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game, there are three cards featuring ushi-oni: "Ushi Oni" is a bull fiend with four octopus tentacles on its back, "Abare Ushioni" is a bull monster, and "Great Ushi Oni" has the head, torso, and arms of a Wikipedia:minotaur on a spider-like body.
  • In the manga Wikipedia:Naruto, the eight-tailed beast is revealed to be an ushi-oni, built like a minotaur with eight octopus tentacles.
  • In the anime and manga series Wikipedia:One Piece, Wikipedia:Roronoa Zoro, one of the main characters, performs a technique called after this creature. The attack is named "Gyuuki Yuzume" (Demon Ox Brave Claws).
  • The Japanese heavy metal band Wikipedia:Onmyouza have a song titled "Ushi-oni Matsuri" ("Bull Demon Festival") on their Kojin Rasetsu album.
  • In the Wikipedia:MMORPG Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine, there is a demon named Gyuki that has the appearance of a demon/spider.

Wanyūdō[edit | edit source]


  • A statue featuring various yokai, including Wanyūdō, was built in Wikipedia:Sakaiminato in 2006. Sakaiminato is Mizuki Shigeru's hometown.
  • A Wanyūdō who goes by the same name is one of Ai's aides in the Wikipedia:anime Wikipedia:Hell Girl. He usually appears as an elderly man, but assumes his mythological form when escorting Ai to deliver revenge. Wanyūdō is also the one who becomes the black straw doll whenever revenge is requested.
  • The second boss of the area Aitos in the SNES game Wikipedia:ActRaiser is named "Flame Wheel" and is similar to a Wanyūdō.
  • In the anime Karas, a Wanyūdō (voiced by Wikipedia:Paul St. Peter) is converted into a mechanized demon known as a "Mikura". As a nod to his original form of a burning wheel, this Wanyūdō usually takes the form of a blood-red sports car.
File:Obake Karuta 4-03.jpg

The creature depicted on this card is Yuki-onna. The hiragana character is ゆ, read as yu

  • Wanyudo is featured in Wikipedia:AdventureQuest Worlds. He is shown with the same description, but with fire on its head and referred to as the Soul Taker.

Yuki-onna[edit | edit source]


Zashiki-warashi[edit | edit source]


  • In Wikipedia:Jigoku Sensei Nube, there is a Zashiki-warashi that Nube always offers rice biscuits to. In return, the zashiki-warashi gives Nube good luck.
  • In the manga/anime series Wikipedia:Omamori Himari, Kaya is a Zashiki-warashi that guards the house of Yuto's late grandparents in Noihara. She is extremely jealous of Yuto to a point that she wishes he would be dead.

References[edit | edit source]

Bookmarks[edit | edit source]

  • Death Note AnimeSeason.com. A modern interpretation of the world of the mythological #Shinigami is the background of this psychological thriller
  • Final Fantasy X-2. YouTube. Hypello at 2:00. As in FFX, Hypellos share the distinctive form of #Shumoku-onna
  • Ghost in the Shell AnimeFreak.tv. Philosophical, even verbose dialogue, paramilitary police action and fleeting mentions of mythology (names, mostly)
  • Hellboy: Sword of Storms 1 hr. 14:37 min. Stage VU. A plethora of stylized spirits and demons as hack and slay fodder
  • Hell Girl Hulu.com. Drama close to Wikipedia:morality plays in form revolve around the title's Shinigami, Ai Enma, and associated characters who are spirits
  • Inuyasha Anime-Media.com. A setting mostly in a medieval Japan of mythology and thus with many examples of Japanese culture nonetheless is suborned to fight sequences, slapstick comedy and one-upmanship
  • Karas Streaming Anime List. AnimeTopList.org: list of sites (performance may vary with area, animefreak tested to work best in one area). The "Eldritch" dimension, having separated from Earth's in ancient times, comes close enough that creatures from mythology can slip through again to wreak havoc upon an Earth that no longer believes in their existence.
  • Mononoke. WatchAnimeon.com. Much of episodes 3 to 5 are traditional not only in setting and characters, but storyline and presentation, albeit with ultra-modern visual rendering. Computer-generated imagery creates the stage and players (in the same way as Futurama and other modern animation), and a line-drawing animation technique like Wikipedia:PowerAnimator gives it a finish much more similar to anime than feature film CGI.
  • Natsume Yuujinchou AnimeCrazy.net. A plethora of stylized spirits and demons given speaking roles. A rare affirmation of altruism and good works, it may be too sweet for some

Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. Natsume Yuujinchou Episode 4 Video at AnimeSeason.com. Kappa at 01:39
  2. Natsume Yuujinchou Episode 7 Video at AnimeCrazy.net. Typical modern representation of a Kitsune (human form with fox ears and tail) at 04:25
  3. Michael Dylan Foster (1955). "Pandemonium and parade: Japanese monsters and the culture of yōkai". University of California Press. p. 73. http://books.google.com/books?id=Z5WQy5Q6Hj4C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_atb#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Pflugfelder, Gregory M. "Display Case 8: Monster Merchandise (II)". Godzilla Conquers the Globe: Japanese Movie Monsters in International Film Art. Accessed 11 March 2006.
  5. The Legend of Dragoon Wiki Ghost Ship
  6. Ghost Ship collision cutscene and walkthrough, YouTube. FMV at 0:45 on video. Legend of Dragoon was a pet project of the obviously well-funded Sony Entertainment, and the cutscenes were very high quality for a PS1 game released in late 1999
  7. Ghost Ship
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Gashadokuro". http://go.fireandrobot.com/doku.php?id=gashadokuro. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
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