shiyakujin no hokora
A Book of Little Traditions
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ToCminzoku shintôminkandenshôThe Othersyôkai

yôkai – 08 / 16 / 2016
yôkai ようかい 妖怪
yô (attractive, bewitching, calamity)
kai (suspicious, mystery, apparition)

❖ (ghost; apparition; phantom; spectre; specter; demon; monster; goblin)
❖ Something strange, suspicious, or mysterious such as a spirit, ghost, demon, or other 'supernatural' creature
❖ Also called ayashii, ayakashi
ayashii あやしい
ayakashi あやかし
aya.shii (attractive, bewitching, calamity)

aya.shii (suspicious, mystery, apparition)

ayakashi (ghost that appears at sea during a shipwreck, something strange or suspicious, noh mask for roles involving dead or ghost characters)
tsukumogami – Old or discarded artifact spirits
henge へんげ 変化
hen (change, strange, unusual)
ge | ke (change, delude, enchant, influence, take the form of)
❖ goblin, ghost, apparition, bugbear
❖ Animal shape-shifters with the ability to take on human form
kitsune, tanuki, tengu, ryû
hitotsume-kozô ひとつめこぞう 一つ目小僧
hito.tsu (one)
me (eye)
ko- (small, little)
zô | sô (monk, priest)

❖ (one-eyed boys)
❖ Roughly the size of ten-year-old children, their most distinctive feature is a single, giant eye peering from the center of the face, along with a long tongue
❖ They are relatively harmless creatures, content to run about frightening human beings or telling loud people to be quiet (they enjoy silence)
inugami いぬがみ 犬神
inu (dog)
gami | kami (soul, mind, kami)

❖ (Literally: dog kami)
❖ Similar to a familiar spirit, resembling, and usually originating from, a dog
❖ Most commonly carrying out vengeance or acting as guardians on behalf of the inugami-mochi, (inugami owner)
iso-onna いそおんな 磯女
礒女
iso (rocky beach, seashore)
onna (woman)

iso (beach, rock, shore)
onna (woman)

❖ (woman of the rocky shores)
❖ Has a slit mouth
❖ Attacks and eats people
kaijû かいじゅう 怪獣
kai (suspicious, mystery, apparition)
jû (animal, beast)

❖ (Literally: strange beast)
❖ A monster
kappa かっぱ 河童
kap (river)
pa (juvenile, child)

❖ (water-dwelling creature, excellent swimmer, cucumber)
❖ A water creature that lures people into rivers and ponds, and then drowns them
❖ Has a fondness for cucumbers
kodama こだま 木魂
ko- (tree, wood)
dama | tama (spirit, soul)

❖ A spirit believed to live in certain trees
❖ Cutting down a tree which houses it is thought to bring misfortune, and such trees are often marked with shimenawa
obake おばけ 御化け
お化け
o (honorable)
ba.ke (change, take the form of, influence, enchant)

❖ (Literally: a thing that changes)
yôkai in Japanese folklore that transform or shapeshift
❖ Also called bakemono, obakemono
bakemono ばけもの 化け物
obakemono おばけもの 御化け物
お化け物
ba.ke (change, take the form of, influence, enchant)
mono (thing, object)

o (honorable) – written with kanji or hiragana
ba.ke (change, take the form of, influence, enchant)
mono (thing, object)
bakeneko ばけねこ 化け猫
ba.ke (change, take the form of, influence, enchant)
neko (cat)

❖ (ghost-cat able to appear in disguise)
❖ A cat with supernatural abilities
❖ A cat may become a bakeneko if it: lives over 13 years, is kept for a certain number of years, reaches one kan (3.75 kilograms) in weight, or is allowed to keep a long tail
❖ Also called maneki-neko
maneki-neko まねきねこ 招き猫
mane.ki (beckon, invite, summon)
neko (cat)

❖ (Literally: beckoning cat)
nekomata ねこまた 猫股
neko (cat)
mata (crotch, forked)

❖ Two-tailed monster cat
hebi へび
❖ (serpent, snake)
❖ Protect against illness, disaster, bad fortune and like the dragon can bring rain
❖ Snakes can transform into human forms, usually that of a vengeful, jealous or wronged woman
shiro-hebi しろへび 白蛇
shiro (white)
hebi (serpent, snake)

❖ A messenger of kami
❖ White snakes are associated with ujagin, benzaiten, suijin, and inari
jorô-gumo じょろうぐも 女郎蜘蛛
jo (female, woman)
rô (son)
jorô (prostitute, entertainment woman)
gumo | kumo (spider)

❖ (literally: prostitute spider)
❖ The last two kanji both mean spider
❖ A spider that can change its appearance into that of a seductive woman
kitsune きつね
❖ (fox)
❖ Foxes are usually considered bad omens, but white, black or nine-tailed foxes can be good omens from the Kami
akagitsune あかぎつね 赤狐
aka (red)
gitsune | kitsune (fox)

❖ Red fox
❖ Vulpes vulpes
gingitsune ぎんぎつね 銀狐
gin (silver)
gitsune | kitsune (fox)

❖ Silver fox
❖ Vulpes vulpes
hokkyoku gitsune ほっきょくぎつね 北極狐
hok (north)
kyoku (pole, extreme, extremity)
hokkyoku (north pole, arctic)
gitsune | kitsune (fox)

❖ Polar fox, arctic fox
❖ Alopex lagopus
jûjigitsune じゅうじぎつね 十字狐
jû (ten)
ji (character, letter, word)
gitsune | kitsune (fox)

❖ Or jûji gitsune
❖ (Literally – ten character fox)
❖ Refers to a cross-shaped pattern on its shoulders
kitakitsune きたきつね 北狐
kita (north)
kitsune (fox)

❖ Northern fox
❖ Vulpes vulpes schrencki
kitsune-mochi きつねもち 狐持ち
kitsune (fox)
mo.chi (hold, keep possession, in charge)

❖ Possession of fox power by a human being
kitsune-tsukai きつねつかい 狐使い
kitsune (fox)
tsuka.i (use, usage)

❖ Use of fox power by a human being
kitsune-tsuki きつねつき 狐憑き
kitsune (fox)
tsu.ki (haunt, possess)

❖ Possession by a fox
kurogitsune くろぎつね 黒狐
kuro (black)
gitsune | kitsune (fox)

❖ Black fox
❖ Vulpes vulpes
kyûbi-no-kitsune きゅうびのきつね 九尾の狐
kyû (nine)
bi (tail, end)
no (possesive particle)
kitsune (fox)

❖ Nine-tailed fox
❖ Fox spirit
❖ Kitsune are said to be more powerful the more tails they have
shirogitsune しろぎつね 白狐
shiro (white)
gitsune | kitsune (fox)

❖ White fox
❖ Vulpes vulpes
❖ White foxes are associated with inari as his messengers
mujina むじな
❖ (badger)
❖ Shape-shifters
❖ They are frequently confused with tanuki
❖ They are mostly mischievous and seem to enjoy deceiving people
tanuki たぬき
❖ (raccoon-dog)
❖ Related to Chinese fox lore
❖ Shape-shifters with supernatural powers, specializing in illusory magic
❖ They have mischievous tendencies
❖ Frequently depicted as having a big belly & giant scrotum, and holding a sake bottle
❖ They use belly drumming to lure the unwary astray
tengu てんぐ 天狗
ten (heavens, sky, imperial)
gu | ku (dog, puppy)
tengu (long-nosed henge)

❖ (Literally: heavenly dogs)
❖ Sometimes worshipped as kami
❖ Take the forms of birds of prey, and they are traditionally depicted with both human and avian characteristics
❖ Appears in art in a large number of shapes, but it usually falls somewhere between a large, monstrous bird and a wholly anthropomorphized being
❖ Often with a red face or an unusually large or long nose
daitengu だいてんぐ 大天狗
dai (great, big, large)
ten (heavens, sky, imperial)
gu | ku (dog, puppy)

❖ (great tengu)
❖ Also called oo-tengu, hanataka-tengu
oo-tengu おおてんぐ 大天狗
hanataka-tengu はなたかてんぐ 鼻高天狗
ô (great, big, large)
ten (heavens, sky, imperial)
gu | ku (dog, puppy)

hana (nose, snout)
taka (tall, high, quantity, amount)
hanataka (high nose, tall nose, pride)
ten (heavens, sky, imperial)
gu | ku (dog, puppy)
kotengu こてんぐ 小天狗
ko- (small, little)
ten (heavens, sky, imperial)
gu | ku (dog, puppy)

❖ (small tengu)
❖ Also called karasu-tengu, koppa-tengu, konoha-tengu
karasu-tengu てんぐ 烏天狗
koppa-tengu こっぱてんぐ 木葉天狗
konoha-tengu このはてんぐ 木の葉天狗
karasu (crow, raven)
ten (heavens, sky, imperial)
gu | ku (dog, puppy)

ko- (tree, wood)
ha (leaf, lobe, needle, blade)
koppa (foliage)
ten (heavens, sky, imperial)
gu | ku (dog, puppy)

konoha (foliage)
ten (heavens, sky, imperial)
gu | ku (dog, puppy)
kawatengu かわてんぐ 川天狗
kawa (river, stream)
ten (heavens, sky, imperial)
gu | ku (dog, puppy)

❖ (river tengu)
❖ A water-dwelling tengu
❖ Creates strange fireballs and is a nuisance to fishermen
shibatengu しばてんぐ 芝天狗
shiba (lawn, turf)
ten (heavens, sky, imperial)
gu | ku (dog, puppy)

❖ (lawn tengu)
❖ A small child-like being who loves sumo-wrestling and sometimes dwells in the water
tsuchigumo つちぐも 土蜘蛛
tsuchi (earth, ground, soil)
gumo | kumo (spider)

❖ (ground spider)
❖ The last two kanji both mean spider
❖ A spider that can change its appearance into that of a small boy or a beautiful woman
ôkami おおかみ
❖ (wolf)
❖ Generally honest and if dealt with properly, benevolent
❖ Also called okuri-inu, okuri-ôkami, yama-inu
okuri-inu おくりいぬ 送り犬
okuri-ôkami おくりおおかみ 送り狼
yama-inu やまいぬ 山犬
oku.ri (see off, send off, escort)
inu (dog)
okuri-inu (escorting dog)

oku.ri (see off, send off, escort)
ôkami (wolf)
okuri-ôkami (escorting wolf)

yama (mountain)
inu (dog)
yama-inu (mountain dog)
oni おに
❖ (orge, demon, ghost / also fierce, relentless, merciless) – Buddhist
❖ A mountain-dwelling ogre, usually depicted with red, blue, brown or black skin, two horns on its head, a wide mouth filled with fangs, and wearing nothing but a tigerskin loincloth
❖ Often carries an iron club or a giant sword
❖ (See setsubun)
shikigami しきがみ 識神
職神
式神
shiki (know, write, discriminating)
gami (mind, soul, kami)

shiki | shoku (employment, work)
gami (mind, soul, kami)

shiki (style, ceremony, rite, function, method, system, form, expression)
gami (mind, soul, kami)

❖ Form of magic or divination (e.g. animating objects to act as the sorcerer's agent)
❖ A kind of spirit summoned to serve an onmyô-ji – a practitioner of onmyô-dô
❖ Although invisible, shikigami supposedly could, at the Onmyô-ji's command, take a variety of human or animal forms, possess or bewitch people, and even cause bodily harm or death
❖ Also called shiki-no-kami
shiki-no-kami しきのがみ 識の神
shiki (know, write, discriminating)
no (possesive particle)
kami (that which inspires feelings of reverence, awe, gratitude, fear/terror)
shôjô しょうじょう 猩々
猩猩
shô(orangutan) / (iteration mark)
shôjô (orangutan)

❖ A small sea spirit
❖ Monkey like with reddish skin and orange fur
❖ Likes dancing, merrymaking, and especially drinking sake
yûrei ゆうれい 幽霊
yû (faint, dark, dim)
rei (soul, spirit)

❖ (ghost)
❖ Spirits kept from a peaceful afterlife
❖ Also called bôrei, shiryô
bôrei ぼうれい 亡霊
shiryô しりょう 死霊
bô (deceased, the late, dying, perish)
rei (soul, spirit)
bôrei (ruined or departed spirit)

shi (death, die)
ryô (soul, spirit)
shiryô (dead spirit)
Exorcism – The easiest way to exorcise a yûrei is to help it fulfill its purpose
❖ Accomplished by family members enacting revenge upon the yûrei's slayer
❖ Or when the ghost consummates its passion/love with its intended lover
❖ Or when its remains are discovered and given a proper burial with all rites performed
❖ Malicious yûrei are repelled by an ofuda
❖ ofuda must generally be placed on the yûrei's forehead to banish it
❖ ofuda can be attached to a house's entry ways to prevent the yûrei from entering
funayûrei ふなゆうれい 船幽霊
funa (boat, ship)
yû (secluded, obscured)
rei (spirits, soul)
yûrei (ghost)

❖ Ghost of a person who died at sea
gaki がき 餓鬼
ga (starve, hungry, thirst)
ki (ghost, devil)

❖ (hungry ghost) – Buddhist
❖ Jealous or greedy people in a previous life
❖ As a result of their (karma), they are afflicted with an insatiable hunger for a particular substance or object
goryô ごりょう 御霊
go (honorable)
ryô (spirits, soul)

❖ Vengeful ghost
goryô-e ごりょうえ 御霊会
go (honorable)
ryô (spirits, soul)
e (meeting)

❖ Ritual of chinkon to calm an angry soul
goryôshin ごりょうしん 御霊神
go (honorable)
ryô (spirits, soul)
shin (kami)

❖ The vengeful spirits of those who have died accidental deaths, or while bearing discontents, regrets or unfulfilled longings
onryô おんりょう 怨霊
on (grudge, show resentment, be jealous)
ryô (spirits, soul)

❖ Vengeful ghost who come back for a wrong done to them during their lifetime
ikiryô いきりょう 生霊
iki (life, genuine, birth)
ryô (spirits, soul)

❖ Living creatures possessed by extraordinary jealousy or rage release their spirit as a living ghost that enacts its will
❖ Frequently, they are not aware that they are doing this
jikininki じきにんき 食人鬼
jiki (eat, food)
nin (person)
ki (ghost, devil)

❖ (human eating ghost) – Buddhist
❖ Greedy, selfish or impious individuals who are cursed after death to seek out and eat human corpses
❖ Also called rasetsuten
rasetsuten らせつてん 羅刹天
ra (gauze)
setsu (temple)
ten (heavens, sky)

❖ rasetsu-ten (Skt. Raksasa)
❖ (See jûni-ten – rasetsu-ten)
mononoke もののけ 物の怪
mono (thing, object)
no (possessive particle)
ke (suspicious, mystery, apparition)

❖ (vengeful ghost or spectre)
❖ As in Studio Ghibli's mononoke-hime
mononoke-hime もののけひめ もののけ姫
mono (thing, object)
no (possessive particle)
ke (suspicious, mystery, apparition)
hime (princess)

❖ (princess vengeful spectre)
ubume うぶめ 産女
ubu- (bear, give birth, yield, childbirth)
me (woman, female)

❖ A mother ghost who died in childbirth, or died leaving young children behind
zashiki-warashi ざしきわらし 座敷童
za (squat, seat, cushion, gathering, sit)
shiki (spread, pave, sit, promulgate)
zashiki (tatami mat room, formal Japanese room)
warashi | warabe (juvenile, child)

❖ Ghost of a child, often mischievous rather than dangerous
❖ Also called zashiki-bokko
zashiki-bokko ざしきぼっこ 座敷童子
za (squat, seat, cushion, gathering, sit)
shiki (spread, pave, sit, promulgate)
zashiki (tatami mat room, formal Japanese room)
bo | dô (juvenile)
ko (child)
bokko (young boy or girl)

Japanese Ghosts & Demons: Art of the Supernatural – edited by Stephen Addiss
Obake Wiki (formerly The Obakemono Project)
Yôkai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide – Hiroko Yoda & Matt Alt
Yûrei Attack! The Japanese Ghost Survival Guide – Hiroko Yoda & Matt Alt

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