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Ushioni bull demon

. Onipedia 日本の鬼 The Demons of Japan .
. ushi 牛と伝説 Legends about ox, bull, cow . . .


ushi oni, ushioni, gyuuki 牛鬼 "bull-demon"

ox ogre, bull fiend with four octopus tentacles on its back
bull-headed demon
Gyuki ギュウキ, Goki ゴキ / Kudan 件 クダン

Amulet from Ehime

buuyare 菊間のぶうやれ Buyare / Puyare
puuyare ぷうやれ

. Legends about the Red Cow, Red Bull  赤牛と伝説 aka-ushi, akaushi .
and the kuroushi, kuro-ushi 黒牛 the black cow


ushioni うし鬼 is a monster in the pandemonium of Western Japan.
It appears on the beach and attacks humans. It spits out a poison to kill a human and then eats it. His head is like a bull, but the rest of his body is like a demon. Others depict it as a head of a demon on the body of a bull. Sometimes the head of a bull is on the body of a huge spider. Sometimes it has the wings of a beetle and can fly away.
It lives not only on the beaches of Western Japan and Shikoku, but also in the mountains, forests, along rivers, lakes and swamps.
Its history goes back to the Heian period.

Ushioni taki 牛鬼滝 Ushioni waterfall

© More in the Japanese WIKIPEDIA !

In Ehime it is best know in the Urajima region.
In Ehime, the demon has the head of a dragon, and sometimes the body of a whale fish.
The bull-demon used to attack humans and domestic animals. Then came along a mountain ascetic (yamabushi) and blew his conch. The demon fell on the ground and the ascetic placed his sword on his forehead, cut the body in pieces and the blood of the demon flew down the river for seven days and nights and thus became a river itself.

This legend lives in the place name Ushionifuchi (Ushi-oni fuchi) 牛鬼淵 of Kochi, Tokushima, Kagawa and other regions.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

There are various kinds of ushi-oni,
all of them some sort of monster with a horned, bovine head.

Perhaps the most famous ushi-oni appears as a protective symbol in the Ushi-oni-matsuri, which is held in late July in Uwajima of Ehime Prefecture. Something like the dragon dancers at a Chinese New Year celebration, this ushi-oni is represented with a huge, multiple-person costume with a cloth body and a carved, painted head held upon a pole. It has a sword for a tail, and is thought to drive away evil spirits.

Another well-known ushi-oni is a massive, brutal sea-monster which lives off the coast of Shimane Prefecture and other places in Western Japan and attacks fishermen. It is often depicted with a spider- or crab-like body. This ushi-oni seems to be connected to another monster called the nure-onna 濡れ女 , who sometimes appears before an ushi-oni attack and tricks the victim into holding her child, which then becomes a stone stuck to the person's hands and grows heavier in order to hinder escape.
In Iwami Ginzan (Shimane) the story goes on about a young samurai who held the heavy stone baby. A famous sword in his family suddenly flew into the sky, cut off the head of the demon and cut the body into nine pieces.

Yet another ushi-oni is depicted as a statue on the grounds of the Negoroji temple in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture. It is a bipedal monster with huge tusks, spurred wrists, and membranes like a flying squirrel. A sign nearby explains that this creature terrorized the area about four-hundred years ago, and was slain by a skilled archer by the name of Yamada Kurando Takakiyo (山田蔵人高清). He dedicated its horns to the temple, and they can still be seen to this day.

Ushi-oni are also mentioned in Sei Shōnagon's tenth-century diary The Pillow Book, and in the Taiheiki of the fourteenth century.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Some researchers say the real origin of this monster is a root of a camellia tree (tsubaki no ne).
This tree is sacred in many parts of Japan. Ushi-Oni is in fact a local deity turned demon.
Camellia trees grow in many parts along the beaches and peninsulars, being brought there by the waves of the sea. Camellia flowers blossom at the border to the other world.


Ehime 愛媛県, Shikoku

Uwajima town 宇和島 

Uwajima is famous for its Japanese-style bull fights, where two bulls wrestle with each other. The looser is the animal which touches the ground with its knees first or runs away out of the ring.

Warei taisai 和霊大祭 Great Festival at Warei Shrine

During this Bull-Demon Festival, these huge figures are used in the parade through the street.

They are made with the wish to avoid evil and bad influences.
During the festival, the Ushioni, figures made from bamboo covered with red and blue robes, are carried through the streets by many people.
The festival is around July 22 to 24.

. oni matsuri 鬼祭り Oni Demon Festivals .


Kikuma no Kigobei 菊間の喜左衛門
and the tanuki legends of Wastern Iyo town
Kigobei Tanuki 喜左衛門狸
Kojooro Tanuki 小女郎狸
source : Legends from Shikoku

Kikuma is part of Imabari town 今治市菊間町.
At the shrine Kamo Jinja 加茂神社 there is the body of an Ushi-Oni with nine bodies, covered by a black cloth.

. . . . .

牛鬼の面(かぶ) Mask of an Ushi-Oni

for the festival in Uwajima.


Kochi Prefecture 高知県 Shikoku

Oka no uchi village 岡内村
now part of Kami town 香美市

In the year 1766 a man passed the river Mine no Kawa 峯ノ川 and saw an Ushi-oni.
Other villages tell about this monster, coming at night and eating their livestock.
A samurai called Chikamori Sakon 近森左近 took his bow and arrow and shot the monster. The villagers were very greatful and tell his story to our day, making gestures of shooting an arrow.
Some say this is the origin of the Momote Matsuri 百手祭 Festival of 100 hands (shooting arrows).

In Monobeson village 物部村 there is the legend of an Ushi-Oni who fell into a deep hole and could not get out by itself. An old woman of the village heared him crying and shouting and helped him to get out. From that day on, the monster did not do any more harm to the village.


Mie Prefecture 三重県

The legend of Gokasho-Ura 五ヶ所浦
at Kirima no tani 切間の谷 Kirima valley

The Ushi-Oni is quite a curse, especially in Southern Ise town, where he is said to live in a cave.

The famous archer Aisu Shigeaki 愛洲重明 tried to shoot the monster, but instead his own wife became ill. He tried to avoid her company and became friends with a vagrant singer from Kyoto. This brought a fight with his father-in-law of the Kitabatake family, and finally the family of Aisu became extinct.

source : www.bunka.pref.mie

. . . . .

The Legend of Kigobei in Miyamura Village 宮川村 の喜五兵衛

Once upon a time, there lived a famous hunter in Miyamura.
Near the village was a waterfall along the deep water pool called "Ushionibuchi".
But it was haunted place, this waterfall.

Forest workers had build a small hut nearby. Sometimes they heard a strange sound ... zabuuunnn ... and observed some huge something fly off from the pool.
One day they looked more closely and saw a monster with the head of a demon and the body of a bull come out of the water and full of fear they run away.
They were afraid to work there any more and asked the hunter Kigobei to kill the demon.

When the demon appeared, he fired his gun and hit it three, four times but whow ... the monster was not affected in the least and just flew away and disappeared.

Kigobei stayed in the hut for a few days until the monsters appeared again.
He made a bullet with a prayer to Amida Buddha and shot it into the pool And whow ... the pool turned all red with blood.
And the demons were not seen any more in this region.

There is another legend in the region too about Kigobei.
He shot the demons again and even hit a dragon with his special bullet. The river ran red with blood after he shot it.
Kigobei sat at the riverbank and breathed with relief.
Then a white deer appeared and spoke to him:

"I am the messenger of the local deity.
You should not kill anymore things around here. Put your gun away in peace now.!"

spoke these words and vanished.
Kigobei gave up his hunting business at once, but he became solitary and lonely and died soon afterwards.

The villagers built him a nice grave and cared for the grave and the gravestone.

One day a huge wolf appeared and brought the gravestone to fall down.
The villagers mumbled amongst themselves:

"Kigobei was such a famous hunter, but now the animals do not fear him any more, what a shame!"
and they left his grave.

A few days later when they came back, they found a dead wolf at the side of the gravestone.

The villagers mubled amongst themselves:

"Kigobei was indeed a famous hunter. Even now his soul is amongst us here!"
And they kept talking about him until our day now.

source : www.bunka.pref.mie


shigeo manga


Okayama Prefecture 和岡山県

Ushimado Village 牛窓町 (lit. Ox-window)

When Empress-consort Jingu Kogo (?169 - 269) passed here on her war path with Korea, she killed a monster called Jinrin Ki 塵輪鬼 which had eight heads of an oxen, with her arrow. The monster divided itself into three parts, head, body and tail and the three parts became three islands off Ushimada, called Yellow Island, Front Island and Green Island 黄島、前島、青島.
On her way back from Korea, Jingo Kogo was attacked by the monster again, because it could not find peace in Buddha yet. But the deity Sumiyoshi Myojin 住吉明神 grabbed the horns of the monster and threw it far away into the sea. And whow and behold, the three islands suddenly changed and became Black Island, Small Middle Island and Small Island at the Edge 黒島、中ノ小島、端ノ小島.
The local name of USHIMADO is a local dialect of the meaning "changing of the ox" (ushi marobi 牛転(うしまろび) > Ushimado.

Festival Poster 2011

The annual Ushioni Festival 牛鬼まつり is in July.

. Jingu Kogo 神功皇后 and Japanese Dolls .

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Koshihata village 美作苫田郡越畑

At Mount Ohirayama 大平山 (Oohirayama) there is a legend about Gyuuki 牛鬼(ぎゅうき).
In the year 1645, Kane, a girl from the village had a relationship with a local officer and bore a baby boy. This boy had long tusks, a tail and horns on his head and looked like Ushi-oni. Her parents became ashamed and angry and killed it, driving iron bars throuhg its body.
Yanagida Kunio believes these kinds of monsterlegends are about the Deity protecting metal mines in the mountains of Japan.

八束 Yatsuka 中和村 Chukason village

kudan 件
In the year 1963 they found records in Yatsuka village.
A Kudan was born and predicted that next year in June a great war would break out.
Others say it was born in 川上村 Kawakami village or in Chukason village and had predicted a good harvest and the outbreak of hayariyamai 流行病 an epidemic.

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The kudan (件, literally "matter", more creatively translated as "human-faced bovine")
is a yōkai which became widely known throughout Japan during the first half of the 19th century.
The kanji for kudan is composed of two characters: hito (人, "human"), and ushi (牛, "cow" or "bull").
... Appearance
Traditionally, the kudan is depicted as having the head of a human and the body of a bovine. Subsequent depictions have occasionally switched these elements and placed the head of a bovine onto the body of a human similar to a Minotaur.
Ushi-onna ...
- - - More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Shimane 島根県

. ushioni 牛鬼 "bull demon" and nure-onna 濡女 "wet woman" .


Wakayama Prefecture 和歌山県

Ushoonin うしょーにん in local dialect.

Nishimuro gun village 西牟婁郡 in Southern Wakayama
also in Higashimuro

When the water in the inlay of Esumi 江住 became muddy, the villagers knew that the Ushioni was up to no good.
Whoever met this monster fell ill soon afterwards.
It was a time when
"stoned can float, leaves sink to the bottom of the river,
oxen start neighing and horses howl".
This monster howls every month on the night of the 23rd day.

Some say this monster had the body of a cat, with a tail of more than 3.3 meters. Its body was light and it did not make any sound when walking in the woods.
It shows up in the valley of Mino-O 箕尾谷 and in Oto village 大塔村 (Ootoo mura) .

At night the bull-demon goes to the cow sheds and flirts with the cows.

In Koza village 古座町 (Nishimuro) lived a female monster in the waterfall pool. She heared the flute of a hunter and came close to listen. But the hunter saw her real features in the water and shot her dead. But soon the curse got him, he became mad and died soon after.

In Susami village すさみ町 in the Valley of Hirose 広瀬谷 at the waterfall Koto no Taki 琴の滝 the monster licks the shadows of people. It liked also to drink sake.

Almost the same story is told here:

In Kamitogawa village 上戸川 there was a waterfall pool where the Ushi-oni lived.
If the shadow of a person in the water was licked up by the demon, this person would get a high fever and even die within a few days. To appease the demon, every year on the New Year, villagers brought offerings of sake to the waterfall.

Along the river Mio no kawa (Miogawa) 三尾川, the Ushi-oni could change his form to look like a human being and even help people in distress. One day a hungry lady monster sat at the riverside. A young man of the village, Ueda Matanosuke 上田又之助, shared his lunch with her. She was in fact the monster of the river. Two months later, when the youngster was almost swept away during the flooding of the river, the monster helped him again and saved his life.
After that, she could not go on living any more, and the river became all red with the blood of the monster and then it was not seen again any more.


Yamaguchi Prefecture 山口県
Hikarishi town 光市

There is an island Ushijima 牛島 with legends relating to the Ushi-Oni monster.

ushioni clay doll from Ushijima

source : kamishibai

There lived an Ushi-Oni monster on the island in the village of Miwa 三輪村, but there came two Samurai brothers and killed the monster with their bow and arrows.

. . . . .

oni-ushi yo
an island full of


. Ushi-Oni, the Bull Demon, 「牛鬼像」at Negoro
Temple Negoro 根来寺, Shikoku 四国


. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. Reference .



Natsui Itsuki sensei 夏井いつき
o dekake haiku-ing おでかけ俳句ing
going out to write a haiku, in 2009

at the store Yoshio Mingei Ten よしを民芸店

Papermachee dolls of the Head of Ushi-Oni
Ne Ushi-Oni ね牛鬼 "Hello, Ushi-oni"

source : 100nenhaiku.marukobo.com

- reference : Nichibun Yokai Database - 牛鬼 -
50 legends to explore


. Onipedia 日本の鬼 The Demons of Japan .

. Oni 鬼 Demon Amulets .

. - yookai, yōkai 妖怪 Yokai monsters - Introduction .

. Regional Folk Toys from Japan .

. Tohoku after the BIG earthquake March 11, 2011

- #ushioni #gyuki #bulldemon #kudan -


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

horns of an Ushioni demon
hone 鬼の骨 伝説 Oni Demon Legends about its bones

Gabi Greve said...

Tokyo 東京都 台東区 Taito ward

onna no ushi-oni 女の牛鬼 a female Ushi-Oni demon
At 浅草駒形 Asakusa Komagata a female Ushi-Oni demon has been seen runing around.
Komagatachoo 駒形町 Komagata district