Yokai – Famous Japanese ghosts, monsters and creatures

  • CULTURE
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    As featured in the first part of this article, there are more monsters that could enter the top 10 ranking.
    Here are the next 5 (in)famous ones:

    Relevance article: Yokai – Japanese ghosts, monsters and legendary creatures part 1

    Rokurokubi (ろくろ首)

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    A female yokai with an extremely long neck, that can extend even further.
    Rokuro means potter’s wheel, while kubi is neck.
    There is even a type, whose head disattach and fly around freely.

    Shisa (シーサー)

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    These spirits are a mixture between a lion and a dog. They originated in Okinawa and are often used as house protectors by placing a pair of them in front of the house or on top of it. One has an open mouth, the other a shut one. The one with the open mouth is believed to say “a” while the other responds with “un”. Interesting to note is that “a” is the first letter of the Japanese alphabet and “n” the last one. Also, “un” is a way to say yes and to confirm. One idea is, that the two shisa are so close to each other, that when one starts to say something the other immediately knows what the first wants to say and responds confidently with affirmation.

    namahage (生剝)

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    This monster originated in Akita prefecture. It wears a traditional evil mask and has humanoid body which is full of straws.
    It is often used to scare kids who are lazy or behave badly, similar to the boogie man.

    chōchin-obake (提灯お化け)

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    Another item that seems to be cursed. Chōchin-obake are the red lanterns, who turned evil.
    Often depicted with a human face, they like to stick their tongue out.

    Zashiki warashi (座敷童子)

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    Zashiki warashi are child-like ghosts, who haunt houses, but also attract luck and fortune to the house owners. Some houses suffer from their pranks, but some do benefit from them.