Japanese Ghost Lore Continued: Ghosts and Demons

Category: Education

Presentation Description

No description available.


Presentation Transcript

Types of Ghosts and Demons in Japanese Lore : 

Types of Ghosts and Demons in Japanese Lore Once again: Courtesy of: Chavon-chan-san Maruyama Ōkyo's "The Ghost of Oyuki"

Let’s recap : 

Let’s recap Yūrei are Japanese ghosts. The name consists of two kanji, (yuu) meaning faint or dim and (rei) meaning soul or spirit Also: Alternative names include Borei- meaning ruined or departed spirit, Shiryo meaning dead spirit, or the more encompassing Yokai or Obake And: Like their Western counterparts, they are thought to be spirits kept from a peaceful afterlife.

Appearance : 

Appearance White clothing - Yūrei are usually dressed in white, signifying the white burial kimono used in Edo period funeral rituals. They sometimes have a hitaikakushi (lit., "forehead cover"), which is a small white triangular piece of cloth tied around the head. Yūrei Sadako Yamamura from Ring

Appearance cont’d : 

Appearance cont’d Black hair - Hair for a yūrei is often long, black and disheveled, which is a trademark carried over from Kabuki Theater, where wigs are used for all actors. Hair was believed to continue growing after death, which helps to account for the unnatural length.

Slide 6: 

Hands and feet - A yūrei's hands dangle lifelessly from the wrists, which are held outstretched with the elbows near the body. They typically lack legs and feet, floating in the air. Hitodama - Yūrei are frequently depicted as being accompanied by a pair of floating flames or will o' the wisps (Hitodama in Japanese) in eerie colors such as blue, green, or purple. These ghostly flames are separate parts of the ghost rather than independent spirits

Classifications : 

Classifications While all Japanese ghosts are called yūrei, within that category there are several specific types of phantoms: Onryō - Vengeful ghosts who come back from purgatory for a wrong done to them during their lifetime. Ubume - A mother ghost who died in childbirth, or died leaving young children behind. This yūrei returns to care for her children, often bringing them sweets

Slide 8: 

Goryō - Vengeful ghosts of the aristocratic class, especially those who were sacrificed. Funayūrei - The ghosts of those who perished at sea. Zashiki-warashi - The ghosts of children, often mischievous rather than dangerous. Warrior Ghosts - Veterans of the Genpei War who fell in battle. Seductress Ghosts - The ghost of a woman or man who initiates a post-death love affair with a living human.

Slide 9: 

Zashiki-warashi Ubume Funayūrei

Famous Hauntings : 

Famous Hauntings Some famous locations that are said to be haunted by yūrei are the well of Himeji Castle, haunted by the ghost of Okiku, and Aokigahara, the forest at the bottom of Mt. Fuji, which is a popular location for suicide. A particularly powerful onryō, Oiwa, is said to be able to bring vengeance on any actress portraying her part in a theater or film adaptation.

Slide 11: 


Demons : 

Demons The Oni: In folklore there are also tales of supernatural creatures called the ‘Oni’ depicted with horns and wearing tiger skins. They have no neck, but a crest of hair and a big mouth; their fingers are clawed, and their arms elevated to the shoulders. The earth ‘Oni’, according to Buddhist belief, are responsible for disease and epidemics (they are dressed in red). The ‘Oni’ of hell (red or green bodies) hunt for sinners and taking them by chariot to Emma-Hoo, the god of hell. There are invisible demons among the ‘Oni’ whose presence can be detected because they sing or whistle. The ‘Oni’ who are women are those transformed into demons after death by jealousy or violent grief.

Slide 13: 

The Oni

Slide 14: 


Tengu- Mountain Demon : 

Tengu- Mountain Demon (Side note: Featured in Samurai Champloo O_o. Yes, I’m that much of an Otaku.) Another prominent demon in Japanese folklore is the ‘Tengu’, a mythological being living in mountain forests. Artistic depictions of the ‘Tengu’ range from stumpy, bearded creatures to beings with great lumpy noses. According to lore, anyone entering the territory of the ‘Tengu’ unwittingly can fall into strange and unpleasant situations. The ‘Tengu’ can, in a flash, transform themselves into ugly little men, women and children; then they maliciously tease people with all sorts of nasty tricks.

Slide 16: 

Some ancient beliefs depicted the ‘Tengu’ as creatures of war and conflict. Until the 14th century, evil legends were told about the ‘Tengu’; but gradually they evolved into both good and bad beings. Many tales were told of the ‘Tengu’ overcoming evil. In the Buddhist belief they became guides for monks and also protected shrines. In the 18th and 19th centuries they were admired as mountain deities- tributes were offered to them. The woodcutters and huntsmen offered tributes to the ‘Tengu’ deities in order to receive success in their work.


ANIMALS WITH SUPERNATURAL POWERS According to legend certain animals are created with supernatural powers. They can transform themselves into anything they desire, and can even acquire other magical abilities. The Japanese raccoon (tanuki) and the fox (kitsune) are the most popular animals attributed with magical powers. They are pictured as mischievous rogues who often get themselves into trouble. They can, at times, be frightening creatures, and at other moments be capable of making a negative situation positive. Sometimes they are treated as godly figures and become cultural heroes.

Slide 18: 

The ‘tanuki’ is sometimes seen as a witch, a cannibal monk, or a one-eyed demon who murders his victims with thunder, lightning or earthquakes

Kitsune : 

Kitsune The fox (kitsune) have the ability to change their shape, but their faces remain fox-like. In folklore, foxes pretend to be humans in order to lead men astray. A black fox is good luck, a white fox calamity; three foxes together portend disaster. Fables tell how the fox likes to appear as women. Stories tell that while the ‘kitsune’ is in such a guise, he goes about tricking and misleading men into seduction.

Slide 20: 

When the seduced come to the realization of the true identity of their supposed love, the fox disappears. Legends tell of how ‘Kitsune’ can hypnotize people and lead them into perilous situations. To do this, according to the tales, they illuminate the path leading to such disasters, and this illumination is known as a ‘foxflare’

Dragons and Snakes : 

Dragons and Snakes In Japanese legend there are tales that depict snakes and dragons with supernatural powers. In ancient Japan the people believed in the snake-god ‘Orochi’, who lived on the very top of mountains.

More about Ghosts : 

More about Ghosts Children born of the union of a snake with a human may either appear as a serpent or as a human with snake-like qualities. They appear in the dreams of their family and friends, asking them to pray for the release of their souls from their snake-like bodies. The Ghost Kohada Koheiji

Why you shouldn’t play with snakes, Children : 

Why you shouldn’t play with snakes, Children Long ago in Keicho era, there lived a beautiful girl in Senju in the province of Musashi. A bachelor called Yaichiro fell in love with her and sent her many letters of love to her; but she did not respond. Yaichiro died of sorrow, and the girl married someone else. On the morning after the wedding, the couple didn’t emerge from their room. When the bride’s mother entered, she found the bridegroom dead, and a snake crawling out of one of the bride’s eyes. The villagers believed that the snake was none other than the heartbroken Yaichiro.”

So sorry but… : 

So sorry but… While there are MANY more elements, mythical and supernatural beings in Japanese Lore/Ghost stories, that’s all I’m going to get to today, for the sake of time. *Bows* FORGIVE MEEEE!!!!!

fin :