Let’s have a Night Parade!

The Hyakki Yako  (百鬼夜行), or the Night Parade of One Hundred Monsters, is one of the more well-known Japanese folklore tales, frequently a subject of old paintings like this one: Hyakki Yako is a name given when all kinds of youkai gather together in a group to walk the streets. Of course, anyone who happens …

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More from fox spirits

Random tidbits: Although portrayed as a trickster, the fox spirit is also considered a messenger and faithful servant of Inari, the god of rice and fertility. The ones who serve Inari are depicted to be white in color - a good omen. Inari shrines even features numerous guardian kitsune statues. It’s said that when the sun is shining when …

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Inugami and Shikigami

Onmyouji and Shikigami go hand-in-hand, and not just because they're both hard to pronounce. Although Onmyouji by and large, practiced a form of divination arts, many believed that the truly powerful ones were capable of controlling spirits and demons. Shikigami  (she-ki-ga-mi) 式神, are such spirits that Onmyouji could have do their bidding. Depending on how good the practitioner was, shikigami could …

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Onmyouji

When I first started writing this book, I ran into a snag of what exactly was an Onmyouji (pronounced on-myo-gee) 陰陽師. There's a lot of beliefs and religion mixed into the concept, but basically, an Onmyouji is a practitioner of magic and divination. During the Heian era, they were government officials meant to protect the Emperor and citizens …

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