Mythical Creatures Series
Popular in Japanese literature, theatre and art, Oni are commonly found in folklore, and a variety of translations call them demons, trolls, ogres or devils.
What is it?
Oni is a mythical race of creatures that were once considered Gods in ancient times, invisible to humans, but after the introduction of Buddhism, they began to take on more demonic characteristic, visible to everyone. They are known for their ill-tempers and glutenous temperaments, though crude humor is said to distract them.
The oni have a deadly punch, and said they torment sinners in hell, but they also create a lot of menace on earth as well. They are savages by nature. Their image represents such ferociousness, they are sometimes used to ward off evil – used for protection. The onigawara figurines found at the end of Japanese roofs are carved in the shape of an ogre’s face.
When a person is said to be near their death, and have created a lot of negative karma, the oni will jump into the mind of such a person and throw them into hell. They shape shift into a friend of relative of that person to trick them first.
Gigantic in size, they are considered hideous with their long claws, wild hair and sharp horns growing out of their head. Otherwise they are pretty much humanoid in appeaerance. Though at times they do take unnatural forms – red or blue skin, odd number of eyes or toes or fingers, that sort of thing.
They are often depicted carrying am iron club and wearing a loin cloth.
Appearances In Culture
They are very common in a number of media mediums, including games such as D&D.
The oni plays a key part in a Japanese holiday called setsubun. A festival marks the start of spring and the new year. People dress in ogre masks and are driven away as a symbolic way to ward off evil for the new year. It is also common to throw soy beans and shout Out with demons! In with happiness (in Japanese of course), since it is believed oni dislike soy beans.
Did you know? The expression ‘Oni with an iron club,’ represents being invincible and can also be used as a sense of ‘strong beyond strong.’
Previous Mythical Creature Posts:
Marchosias, Ningyo, Abatwa, Cait Sith, Anka, Huldra, iele, Manticore, Hantu Demon, Lich, Joan The Wad, Fomorian, Rakshasa, Hellhound, Sleipnir, Three-Legged Crow, Afanc, Tarasque, Echidna, Alkonost, Landvaettir, Hippocampus, Cockatrice, Shedu,Dryad, The Erlking