This week we talk oni, the demons of Japanese folklore and legend. What makes oni different from Western style demons? What are some of the most famous oni stories? And how has the image of the oni changed over time?

Sources

Reider, Noriko. Japanese Demon Lore

Addis, Stephen. Japanese Ghosts and Demons: Art of the Supernatural

Reider, Noriko. Tales of the Supernatural in Early Modern Japan

Images and Media

This is a scene from Komochi Yamauba, the kabuki play by Chikamatsu Monzaemon

An illustration of Uji no Hashihime from Toriyama Sekien, made during the mid-Edo era.

Another Sekien print of Uji no Hashihime. Note the Ox (ushi), associated with oni imagery.

A “generic oni” from the work of Toriyama Sekien.

This is the Amazon cover art for the first volume of Urusei Yatsura and that’s all I plan to say about that.