The Amanojaku is a mythical creature in Japanese folklore, often categorized as a yokai. The term “Amanojaku” can be translated as “heavenly evil spirit” or “perversity.” Unlike some yokai that are more widely known, the Amanojaku doesn’t have a fixed, specific appearance, and its portrayal can vary in different stories.

The Amanojaku is often characterized by its perverse or contrary nature. According to folklore, this creature takes pleasure in contradicting or opposing human intentions and desires. It is said to have the ability to incite people to act against their better judgment or to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.

Amanojaku depicted with a cunning look, challenging morals and virtues


The Amanojaku is not consistently depicted with specific physical characteristics, and its appearance can vary in different accounts and artistic interpretations. Unlike some yokai with distinctive forms, the Amanojaku is often described more by its behavior and nature than by a fixed set of physical features.

In some depictions, the Amanojaku is portrayed as a grotesque or demonic creature, possibly with animalistic traits. However, it’s important to note that the emphasis in Amanojaku stories is typically on its contrary and provocative behavior rather than its appearance.

Given its association with mischief and the perverse, the Amanojaku may be portrayed as a trickster figure, capable of assuming different forms to better carry out its disruptive activities. This shape-shifting ability, if included in the narrative, adds an element of unpredictability to the creature.

In visual representations, artists may take creative liberties in depicting the Amanojaku, leading to variations in its appearance. The lack of a standardized form allows for a wide range of interpretations in different folktales, artworks, and cultural expressions.


The term “Amanojaku” itself is derived from the elements “Amano” (heavenly) and “jaku” (evil spirit or wickedness). The combination suggests a supernatural being with a perverse or contrary nature that opposes the heavenly or virtuous order.

As with many yokai, the Amanojaku’s stories have been passed down through generations, evolving over time as they are shared in various regions of Japan.

Image of an Amanojaku, smirking


Contrary Influence: The Amanojaku is believed to have the power to incite people to act in ways opposite to their intentions or desires. It takes pleasure in creating chaos and disrupting the natural order.

Psychological Provocation: The creature is known for its ability to provoke individuals mentally, testing their character and ability to resist negative influences. This may involve playing on people’s fears, doubts, or weaknesses.

Shape-Shifting (Variably): Some accounts suggest that the Amanojaku has the ability to change its form, adding an element of unpredictability to its interactions. This shape-shifting ability can make it more challenging to identify and resist.

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