First of all, Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it, and for those who do not - Happy New Year! I hope you have a nice time.
With the year 2023 coming to an end, it feels only appropriate to set new long-term goals. Why not spend them while also learning something interesting in the process?
Do you know of some rarely mentioned yokai that makes you giggle? Have you attended a festival in Japan, the history behind which amazes you? Or perhaps there’s a kami you like so much that you can write entire poems for them?
Let’s share this precious and interesting knowledge with each other while we’re on our long way towards level 60, and by the time we reach our goal, not only can we accumulate a great deal of knowledge in the Japanese language but in Japanese culture as well.
Main post is a now a wiki! Feel free to edit it as you join and update your info.
And while we’re at it, allow me to contribute some trivia on 雪女 who, I belive, is just the kind of youkai to read about on a cold winter day.
Yuki-onna (雪女) is a spirit in Japanese that is often depicted in literature, films or animation.
She may also go by such names as yuki-musume (“snow daughter”), yuki-onago (“snow girl”), yukijorō (雪女郎, “snow woman”), yuki anesa (“snow sis”), yuki-onba (“snow granny” or “snow nanny”), yukinba (“snow hag”) in Ehime, yukifuri-baba (“snowfall witch” or “snowfall hag”) in Nagano. They are also called several names that are related to icicles, such as tsurara-onna, kanekori-musume, and shigama-nyōbō.
Yuki-onna appears on snowy nights as a tall, beautiful woman with long black hair and blue lips. Her inhumanly pale or even transparent skin makes her blend into the snowy landscape (as famously described in Lafcadio Hearn’s Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things). She often wears a white kimono, but other legends describe her as nude, with only her face and hair standing out against the snow. Despite her inhuman beauty, her eyes can strike terror into mortals. She floats across the snow, leaving no footprints (in fact, some tales say she has no feet, a feature of many Japanese ghosts), and she can transform into a cloud of mist or snow if threatened.
There are several variations of Yuki-onna throughout Japan, through which one can fill a whole book only about this yokai. Some notable of them are described below:
Water Beggars: This variation hails from Tottori Prefecture, where it is said that Yuki-onna travels on wind and appears on the days with a light snowfall. She walks swinging a white Gohei wand and shouts whoever she meets saying, “Please give me water-hot or cold.” If anyone gives cold water, she swells in size but if anyone gives hot water she melts and disappears.
The Moon Princess: This variations hails from Yamagata Prefecture where it is said that Yuki-onna is the princess of lunar world, living on the moon. Her life was filled with luxury, but it was extremely boring for her. She was fascinated to see the planet Earth below. So, she snuck out one night and fell down to Earth, travelling on snow. However, coming to Earth was easier for her than going back, and she got stuck on Earth. She used to appear on full moon snowy night, pining for her old home.
The Snow Vampire: This version of Yuki-onna hails from four Japanese provinces; Aomori, Gunma, Niigata, and Miyagi. Here it is said that Yuki-onna is a dreadful snow vampire, haunting the snowy forests, looking to feed. She lives by sucking the vital energy of human body, which is mentioned as seiki. She is said to extract the seiki first by freezing victims to death and then sucking the seiki through the dead victim’s mouth. Especially in Niigata prefecture, it is said that Yuki-onna likes the seiki of children, so the mothers are warned over there not to let their children play on snowy nights near a forest.
The Talking Snow Women: This version hails from Ibaraki, Fukushima, Akita & Fukui prefectures. Here, the Yuki-onna engages her victims in conversation in order to attack. When she meets someone on a dark and snowy night, she calls out to them. If the person answers her greeting, she attacks. But in Fukushima and Ibaraki, it is said that Yuki-onna attacks those who ignore her, whom she grabs and throws into a nearby ravine.