That means youkai: appearance, supernatural beings of the Japanese folk belief
The Japanese expression “Yōkai” or “Youkai” can be translated as “appearance”. “Yōkai” are figures of Japanese folk belief that can be compared to demons. In general, “Yōkai” is a broad term for any kind of supernatural beings.
Origin of youkai
As part of Japanese mythology, the story of “Yōkai” goes back a long way. They are used to describe phenomena of the supernatural and the inexplicable. In the course of the social upheavals and modernization of the 80s, a kind of renaissance of ghosts, the occult and “Yōkai” stories began.
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The “Yōkai” found their way into pop culture. In media like Manga and Anime “Yōkai” characters and mythological stories gained popularity. “Yōkai” were not only popular in the horror genre, they can also be found in, for example Isekai-Genre Find.
Characteristics of youkai
“Yōkai” are also called “Mononoke” or “Obake”. These include various monsters, goblins, and ghosts who either shy away from human contact or are attracted to fire and human warmth. “Yōkai” are often depicted in forms that are as amusing as they are terrible.
The “Yōkai” can have partly animal and partly human features as well as supernatural powers or even be formless and inanimate. Often the “Yōkai” are even shapeshifters and can transform themselves into animals like humans. Most “Yōkai” are not vulnerable to weapons and can only be fought by Shinto exorcists or Buddhist monks with the right strength.
Types of youkai
The best-known forms of “Yōkai” are the evil “Oni”, ie “devils”, who range from the simple, neutral spirit of a deceased to grimly stupid ogre-like fiends to deeply evil merciless demons. Likewise the kitsune, an often nine-tailed fox who can appear both envious and good. Also the “Yuki-onna”, the “snow woman” with long black hair and a white kimono, which can warn of misfortune or lead to ruin.
Examples of youkai
Here are a few examples of anime with “Yōkai” characters: