A-Yokai-A-Day: Amanojaku

I mentioned at the beginning of the month how I like to start out with the cuter/tamer yokai and move on to the scarier ones near Halloween. Well, the month is getting into its final third, and today’s yokai is definitely one of the more grotesque and creepy ones! The story of Uriko hime, which is included on the yokai.com page, is downright horrifying! From here on out, the yokai will start to get creepier. 🙂

Amanojaku are a fun yokai because they are so downright nasty. I mean, there are so many kinds of yokai which are nasty to a point, but the amanojaku is so evil and so unpleasant that they rival tengu and oni for all-time villains of Japanese lore. They kind of remind me of gremlins or goblins, in that they are nasty, wicked, and yet in a way somewhat weak and pathetic.

It’s not terribly rare to see Buddhist statues in Japan of a great god stamping on demons, using them as a pedestal. Those are usually representations of Bishamonten—chief of the four heavenly kings and a sort of god of war in Japanese Buddhism. As the amanojaku are symbols of pure evil, he is depicted as crushing and defeating them, in true warrior-king fashion. It’s enough to make you feel a bit sorry for them, as they are rather small and pathetic under his boot… but when you read the stories about how nasty they are, that pathetic facade quickly fades away!

Read on, and let me know what you think in the comments!


You can find amanojaku in The Hour of Meeting Evil Spirits, available now in Kindle and paperback!

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