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Random Creepiest Japanese Monsters & Demons (and The Stories Behind Them)report

    Jor??gumo

    Jor??gumo

    [ranking: 5]
    The Jor??gumo is an entangling bride, also known as the whore spider. These yokai take the form of golden orb-weaver spiders, which live throughout Japan. When these spiders reach 400 years of age, they develop magical powers, and start feeding on humans instead of insects. To do so, the jor??gumo assume the form of beautiful women, and lure young men to their doom.

    Yuki-Onna

    Yuki-Onna

    [ranking: 18]
    Yuki-onna is a female yokai (literally "snow woman") who preys upon travelers lost in heavy snow storms. She is similar to a succubus, and sucks the life force from her victims with her icy breath. Stunningly beautiful, she has long black hair and pure white skin. Sometimes, such as in the story of yuki-onna in the Kwaidan, they fall in love with humans and even marry them. Fans of Japanese cinema will recognized the yuki-onna from both Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan and Akira Kurosawa's Dreams.

    Oni

    Oni

    [ranking: 12]
    Oni are Japanese demons or ogres. They appear as blue or red giants, with wild hair, usually carrying clubs. Oni are reborn from horribly wicked people in one of the Buddhist Hells. They dole out horrible punishment to other wicked people, and serve the Demon Lord Enma.
    The powers of the oni are tremendous - they can reattach body parts they lose in fights; crush enemies with one blow from their kanabo, or spiked iron club; fly; change form at will; and inflict disease, insanity, and death as they see fit. Intelligent and extremely nasty, the oni revel in causing societal breakdown, and eat and drink to excess. Their favorite food is human flesh. 

    Ky??kotsu

    Ky??kotsu

    [ranking: 2]
    Ky??kotsu is a yokai found in wells. When travelers approach the well, the ky??kotsu pops out and curses them. These ghostly spirits form when a body is thrown down a well, rather than properly disposed, or when someone dies accidentally or commits suicide by falling down a well. Sadako from The Ring (Ringu) is a famous example of a Ky??kotsu. They are pretty much just out for vengeance.

    Gaki

    Gaki

    [ranking: 16]
    The gaki are hungry ghosts, and have their origins in Buddhism. The realm of hungry ghosts is one of the Six Paths of Transmigration, depicted in the Gaki Zoshi, an ancient scroll and national treasure of Japan. The Six Paths of Transmigration, which goes by numerous other names, including Cycle of Suffering, Cycle of Samsara, Six Paths of Reincarnation, and Six Realms of Existence, is a Buddhist idea borrowed from Hinduism, and describes the cycle of reincarnation and the six realms into which one might be reborn. 
    The six realms vary from quite nice (basically, heaven), to very unpleasant (hell). A person who transgressed in life might be reborn as a hungry ghost, whose souls are cursed with insatiable hunger for something, usually something disgusting like dead bodies or poop. 

    Hone Onna

    Hone Onna

    [ranking: 3]
    A Hone-onna, or "bone woman," appears as beautiful young women. Once arisen, the hone-onna returns to the love of her life, whose judgement is clouded by her beauty and love. She feeds off his life force until it's gone. Only those unclouded by feelings of romance or love, or the strictly religious, can see through the beauty of the hone-onna and behold her as what she really is - a skeletal woman with bits of rotting flesh clinging to her bones. 

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Japanese lore is dense with yokai, supernatural beings that come in many forms. These creatures - call them demons - might be monsters, ghosts, or goblins. Their nature ranges from benign to mischievous to seriously scary. Also known as ayakashi, mononoke, or mamono, yokai arose from many sources, some a product of ancient folklore, others from the imaginations of artists and writers of the Edo period (1603 - 1868).

The word yokai is a combination of yo, meaning "attractive, bewitching, calamity," and kai, meaning "mystery, wonder." "Demon" or "monster" is a rough translation for a word that, like many Japanese words, have no direct English equivalent. Yokai are more diverse than any single English word for such creatures.

This list reflects the creepiest of the yokai. It isn't an exhaustive Japanese demons list, and it doesn't include those more akin to creatures (such as the kappa) than demons. Here you'll find the creepy, the dangerous, and the weird. Some of these demons are reincarnated people or ghosts. Some, personifications of fear itself. All of them are super creepy.

Knowing the nature and history of yokai provides insight into Japanese horror films. Many yokai make appearances in movies, but their significance can be lost on western audiences. The two most famous Japanese cinema ghosts, Sadako from The Ring and Kayako from The Grudge, are both classic yokai. Many yokai also appear in the films of beloved animator Hayao Miyazaki. 

Read on to learn more, and vote up the yokai that most give you the heebie jeebies. 

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