Better known as yokai (妖怪), supernatural demons have featured in Japanese fairy tales and folklore for centuries. Many hundreds of yokai exist: some came originally from China while others sprang up to explain spooky stories or strange happenings. Scholars have been cataloguing yokai species in encyclopedias and databases since the 1770s.
Yokai are still popular in modern Japan: they have restaurant dishes named after them, statues sold of them, books written about them. They star in manga comics and movies, are used to advertise banks and beer, and might still be blamed when something strange goes bump in the night.
The Japanese characters used to write yokai mean “bewitching” and “suspicious”, and the word can refer to all kinds of supernatural spirits: goblins, ghosts, monsters and more. Yokai can be bringers of luck or harbingers of doom, clippers of hair or shakers of beans. They can be good, evil, or just plain strange.
Only one thing is certain about yokai: one is probably watching you right now!
Do you love yokai and Japan? Are you searching for games, activities or cool Japan-related teaching resources? If your answer is YES, you should check out the resources section of my website. Have fun!