A Rokurokubi is a mythical creature from Japanese folklore, specifically from the yokai category, which encompasses various supernatural creatures, spirits, and monsters. The term “rokurokubi” translates to “long-necked woman” in Japanese. These creatures appear to be ordinary humans during the day, but at night, their necks stretch to great lengths.

Rokurokubi are not inherently malicious, and their abilities may sometimes be beyond their control. Some stories depict them as unaware of their nocturnal activities, while others suggest that they may use their elongated necks to spy on others or engage in mischievous behavior.

Artwork of a Rokurokubi, her neck extended upwards, exploring the night


The Rokurokubi is typically described as having a human appearance. They may live ordinary lives during the day, disguising their supernatural nature from those around them. The true nature of the Rokurokubi only becomes apparent when its neck begins to elongate.

In some variations of the legend, the Rokurokubi may have a malicious or mischievous expression when their neck is extended, heightening the eerie atmosphere surrounding these mythical creatures. The rest of their physical appearance, such as clothing and features, is generally in line with typical human characteristics.


The specific origin story of the Rokurokubi varies, and there are different regional interpretations. In many cases, yokai legends are passed down orally or through written accounts, contributing to variations in the details of their stories.

The Rokurokubi is thought to have originated in Edo-period Japan (1603–1868) when a variety of yokai became popular subjects in literature and artwork. During this time, artists and storytellers drew inspiration from a combination of traditional folklore, local legends, and their own creative imagination to craft new stories and depictions of supernatural beings.

Rokurokubi in a moment of transformation, her neck elongating under moonlight


The primary power and ability of the Rokurokubi is the capacity to stretch its neck to extraordinary lengths, often while retaining the ability to move its head independently of its body.

Aside from its stretching neck, the Rokurokubi is not typically associated with other extraordinary powers or abilities. Its lore often focuses on the eerie and unexpected nature of its neck elongation.

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