Much of the mythology of Japan is made up of eerie stories full of strange, unexplainable creatures. These supernatural creatures, also known as yokai, reside in the world between the known and unknown. They are beings that embody the ineffable moments that can’t be understood with logic.
These are some of the strangest and most famous of these legendary creatures.
The kitsune are cunning creatures that are masters of shapeshifting. These yokai resemble wild foxes that have 9 tails. Kitsune fall into two categories: They can be spiritual beings that carry the messages of the gods, or they can be wild, wood-dwelling creatures that enjoy deceiving humans, and will even possess them.
Oni are Japanese demons. Their appearance is described as an ogre or a demon with fangs and horns, and green, red, or blue coloured skin. They are the most dangerous of all yokai and are known to carry a steel mace which lends to their intimidating nature. The oni have origins in Buddhism, which believes that they are the guardians of the gates of hell, who watch over and torture the damned.
Kappa are green, tortoise-like humanoid creatures with webbed hands and feet and a shell on their back. They live in rivers and lakes. On the top of their head, they have a bowl that carries water which is said to be their life source. It is said that if the water spills, they will die, or at least be severely weakened. The best-known way to defeat a kappa is to bow to them. They are such polite creatures that they will always bow back, causing their life source to spill out.
To the majority of Japan, they are known as mildly mischievous, yet mostly harmless, and usually quite friendly. There are, however, disturbing legends regarding a few nasty habits of theirs. Most notably, they will sometimes climb up toilet drains to suck peoples souls out through their anus (gross, we know). They have been accused of occasionally capturing and drowning children.
Tanuki, also known as Japanese racoon dogs, are another type of yokai that uses shapeshifting to deceive victims of their mischief. They are usually depicted with a bottle of sake in hand, ridiculously large testicles, and a straw hat.
Their abilities are all derived from their magical testicles, which can stretch and morph to perform all sorts of crazy tasks and tricks. Their testicles can be turned into weapons, umbrellas, drums, and cloaks or pools for them to hide in. Tanuki do enjoy participating in certain human activities, such as drinking, gambling, and some Buddhist rituals.
These yokai are spider-like creatures that can grow to enormous sizes. They can grow so large that they could take on entire armies. The name “Tsuchigumo” originated in a period where there were wars between states as a word to refer to rebel factions.
Just like the Roulette Canada offers, Japanese mythology is an incredibly fascinating topic. Hopefully, this article will give you a good starting point from which to dig deeper and continue learning.