Hundred Night Demons: Night Parade of 100 Species of Youkai

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Referring to Japanese culture without mentioning the legends of ghosts is a big mistake. The land of the rising sun possesses a treasure of ghostly legends from folk to urban, which must be said to be the richest in the world. Today, we will learn about one of the famous folk legends passed down through generations of Japanese people – Devil labor department practice.


Hyakki-Yagyo/ Hyakki-Yakou – 百鬼夜行 means a hundred species of demons that gather together in groups and go around the streets and alleys at night. This is a famous legend that often appears in stories, from the Heian period to the Muromachi period.

According to legend, the night march of the Hundred Devils usually takes place at the three-hour Ox (About 2 o’clock – 2:30 am). Because according to Japanese culture, this is the time when the door between the worlds opens and the demons will take advantage of it to come to earth. However, they do not appear every night. In the book Kuchizusami written in the Heian period and the book Shugaisho written in the Middle Ages, there is a record of the date of the appearance of the night ghosts. Specifically:​

  • January – February: Rat day

  • March – April: Horse Day

  • May – June: Snake day

  • July – August: Dog day

  • September – October: Goat day

  • November-December: Dragon day


On these days, people in ancient Japan used to avoid going out at night. When the phenomenon of the Hundred Demon Night Walk occurs, many people often chant and wait until sunrise for the demons to disappear. Many people say that if anyone sees this phenomenon, they will encounter disaster or have to die soon.

However, if one is unlucky enough to see this phenomenon, one must quickly chant the incantation “Katashithaya, ekasenikueini, tamerusake, teehi, ashiehi, wareshikonikeri”. This mantra has no specific meaning, it just helps you pretend you are drunk, not sober, not speaking fluently. People believe that the demons are not interested or will forgive drunk people, so they spread this spell.​

There are many legends and paintings about the demons appearing in the Hundred Nights. In this article, I will take a look at some famous species mentioned in the youkai picture book named Gazu Hyakki-Yakou (画図百鬼夜行 – Map of the Hundred Demons of the Night) by artist Toriyama Sekien, published in 1776.​


Nurarihyon is often depicted as an old man wearing a monk’s robe, with a bald head, but an oversized head at the back. In documents related to youkai and picture books for children after the Showa period – Heisei said that Nurarihyon used to go into people’s houses at night to drink tea and smoke like his own home without who noticed its existence. If anyone sees it, it will fascinate those people to think “This person is the owner of the house” and don’t kick it out. As for the Hundred Demons of the Night, there are some stories that say Nurarihyon is usually at the forefront of the Hundred Demons, so he is the leader. However, there is research that suggests this needs to be re-examined.​

Rokuro-Kubi – Loc Lo Thu.

Rokuro-Kubi, better known as Long Neck Ma, is depicted as a woman wearing a Kimono, attractive in appearance, and when attacked, her neck will lengthen or separate her head from her body. body and that head will chase the prey. Rokuro-Kubi’s favorite food is the principle of man, especially men. It can live by eating insects, worms, crickets but obviously humans are still the first choice.​

Kappa – Ha Dong.

According to Japanese mythology, Kappa is one of the Water Gods, supernatural beings that live in freshwater such as ponds, lakes, streams, wells or irrigation works. However, Kappa can live both in water and on land. This strange creature is said to hold magical powers that can be used for both good and evil purposes. But unfortunately, Kappa likes to use his gifts of power to deceive and harm people.​

Yuki-Onna – Snow Woman.

Yuki-Onna, also known as the Snow Girl, is a famous witch in Japanese folklore. She has a beautiful appearance, black hair, almost transparent white skin, and wears a white Kimono. Of course, Yuki-Onna usually only appears in winter because every time she does, there will be a big blizzard. In addition, she can create snow or blow snow, causing the opponent to freeze, freeze or become unable to move.

Nekomata – Miao Huu.

Nekomata means two-tailed cat. It is said that, when cats reach a certain age (source is 40 years old, source is 11 years old), its tail will split on its own and give it supernatural powers. This cat can dance, speak a human language or disguise itself as a human, but the ability that scares many people when it comes to Nekomata is the ability to control corpses.​

Kodama – Moc Linh.

Kodama are spirits residing in tree trunks, believed to have supernatural powers. They can bless or curse ordinary people. In the Gazu Hyakki-Yagyo picture book, Kodama is depicted with an image of an old man and an old woman underneath the tree, as legend has it that when a tree lives for 100 years, the spirit of the tree will appear. outside.​

Tengu – Tengu.

Tengu is a famous Japanese youkai that usually lives in mountainous areas. Tengu has a red face, frowning brows and especially an oversized nose that makes it look weird and fierce. According to legend, Tengu used to be an evil god but today has become a guardian deity, a bridge between humans and the spiritual world.​

Tanuki – Badger Dog.

Kitsune, Kappa and Tanuki are the three most famous animal-shaped youkai in Japan. Looks like a raccoon, but Tanuki is a dog badger. The trio of Kitsune, Kappa and Tanuki are pranksters, shapeshifters and tricksters. Tanuki will sometimes transform into humans, sometimes turning leaves or discarded items into money to earn food and alcohol. Besides the tricks, Tanuki is also famous for his giant testicles. They are a powerful tool for Tanuki to perform his tricks.​

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