Oni (鬼), which translated means Evil or Demon, is one of the more mysterious creatures you can find in Japan. The word Oni comes from the word “On” (隠) which means something to hide or be hidden. These creatures are a representation of something evil or scary, and are bad spirits which tend to “hide” or “are hidden”.
Oni are a type of Japanese yokai, which means supernatural or strange creature.
Oni have one or two horns on their heads, and wear yellow shorts. They may be holding a golden rod or an iron club, and have sharp teeth.
They may also be presented as large and ogre-like.
Sometimes oni have three eyes instead of two.
Oni are typically male, but there are also female Oni. Female Oni do not appear as frequently in traditional Japanese folklore, but have started to show up in various Japanese animation series. Female Oni are treated more as fantasy creatures which makes their impression less scary.
The origins of oni are rooted in Shinto and Buddhist beliefs, as well as in ancient Japanese legends and myths.
According to Shinto mythology, oni are born from the souls of wicked humans who are punished after death by being transformed into demonic beings. In Buddhist beliefs, oni are considered to be manifestations of negative human emotions such as anger, jealousy, and greed.
The earliest known depictions of oni can be traced back to ancient Japanese artwork from the 8th century, where they were often portrayed as fierce and menacing creatures with horns, fangs, and wild hair. Over time, oni became a common motif in Japanese art, literature, and theater, where they were often used as symbols of evil or as stock villains in folk tales and legends.
Today, oni continue to be a popular and iconic figure in Japanese culture, appearing in everything from manga and anime to video games and pop music. Despite their fearsome reputation, oni are also sometimes portrayed as comical or even lovable characters in modern media, and they remain a beloved and enduring part of Japanese folklore and mythology.
powers and abilities
Superhuman Strength: Oni are typically depicted as possessing immense physical strength.
Enhanced Durability: Oni are also known for their toughness and resilience, making them resistant to physical harm .
Shape-shifting: Oni are often said to be able to change their appearance or transform into other forms, such as animals or even humans.
Magical abilities: Oni are sometimes depicted as having access to various magical powers and abilities, such as telekinesis, pyrokinesis, or the ability to control the weather.
Fear-inducing aura: Oni are said to exude an aura of fear and intimidation, which can paralyze or terrify their opponents.
Immortality: Oni are often depicted as being long-lived or even immortal, with some legends suggesting that they can only be killed by a special weapon or ritual.
Oni can be one of five different colors. Each color represents one of the five worldly desires from Buddhism.
The most popular color is red, and it is called Akaoni (赤鬼), which means “Red Oni” in English. The second famous color is blue, Aooni (青鬼), and this type tags along with the red type.
The remaining ones are yellow, green, and black. Each desire is listed below along with its corresponding color of Oni:
Five worldly desires / Gogai (五蓋)
Tonyoku (貪欲) lust – Red
Shinni (瞋恚) hatred, anger – Blue
Osa (悪作) regret, agitation – Yellow
Konjin (惛沈) laziness, sleep – Green
Gwakui (疑惑) doubt – Black
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