Mythical Beasts and Creatures: Japanese 1

The next time you’re walking in a mountain pass in Japan, take heed to the legend of the Satori and other creatures depicting in Japanese folklore. The locals describe the Satori as an ape-like creature that possesses the ability to read minds. In this article, you will also encounter information on the god of wind and a Japanese monster that comes in the form of smoke.


Living in the mountains, the Satori are seen in a human-like form as it encounters people traveling on mountain paths. It has a knack for speaking their thoughts aloud. The best way to avoid a mishap with a satoru is to travel with an empty mind so that the creature grows bored and leaves. It is also said that the satori will run in fear or even die in some cases. Omoi, who lives at the base of Mount Fuji, is part of a well-known tale regarding satori.


In Japanese folk tales, the Abura-sumashi is a creature that originates from a mountain pass in Kumamoto Prefecture. Thought to be the ghost of a human who stole oil, this spirit is said to approach people traveling on the Kusazumigoe mountain pass. Before electricity was invented, oil was a highly valuable substance , needed to heat homes and provide lighting. If a local stole oil (expecially from shrines and temples), the Japanese believed that they would suffer the punishment of being reincarnated into a yokai , which often possessed the features of both a human and an animal.


Composed of smoke, this Japanese monster is believed to live in bonfires. When it makes its presence known, it is said to take the form of a human. Legend has it that only the pure of heart can truly see an enenra.


Fujin is the Japanese god of wind and also one of the oldest of Shinto gods , so old that he is believed to have been present for the creation of the world. It is said that he is responsible for letting the winds out of his bag, which “cleared the morning mists and filled the Gate between heaven and earth”. This act allowed the sun to shine through. The god is often depicted in connection with cultures that lived along the Silk Road. In art, he often appears as a menacing dark demon with a head full of red hair. He also wears a leopard skin and carries a sizeable bag of winds on his shoulders.


Also referred to as the Aoando, this creature is thought to represent the spirits that appears after the last story at a meeting is told. During such meetings, candles are spread across the room in lamps made out of blue paper in an effort to establish an eerie setting. If seen by a human, the creature looks like a human with a blue complexion. Twin horns emerge from his brow and his mouth is full of sharp teeth.