Tsuchigumo

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Tsuchigumo
Tsuchigumo in the Konjaku Gazu Zoku Hyakki.

 

 

Tsuchigumo

Tsuchigumo (土蜘蛛) is a type of Yōkai depicted in the Konjaku Gazu Zoku Hyakki by Toriyama Sekien and various other literature such as the Bakemono no e.

The creature is an oversized spider type of creature.

Yōkai Connections

It is said Minamoto no Yorimitsu killed one of these creatures. The 1781 Kabuki Play called Kumo no Hyōshimai (Dance of the Spider Woman) has a version of this tale where Yorimitsu encouters a beautiful woman, only to see later that her shadow is shaped like a spider.

The Tokyo National Museum houses the Tsuchigumo no Sōshi Emaki, a large picture scroll showing the story of a Tsuchigumo. It can be viewed online.1

Connection to ‘Barbarians’

Historically this word was used to describe those who would not submit to Imperial Rule, these people portrayed as monsters and barbarians. It is more likely however, that they were merely people who prefered to live their own way of life.1

Some of the Kumaso people from Tsukushi appear to fall into this category as five people, Awo, Shira, Uchizaru, Yata and Kunimaro are called Tsuchigumo in the nihongi. The first two are even said to dwell in caves.

They are all defeated by Imperial Forces during the reign of Emperor Keikō.2

Other Depictions

Bakemono no eMinamoto Yorimitsu and Tsuchigumo, Kuniyoshi Utagawa

External Links

Footnotes

1. Yoda, H. and Alt, M. (2016) “Japandemonium: Illustrated: The Yokai Encyclopaedia of Toriyama Sekien.”. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.
2. Aston. W.G. (1896) “Nihongi Volume 1: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD697”. Tuttle Publishing.

List of Supernatural Creatures

Abura akago * Aka Manto * Akaname * Akashita * Amanozako * Amefuri Kozo * Amikiri * Aōbozu * Aonyobo * Aosagi no hi * Buruburu * Chochin bi * Dōjōji no kane * Dōmeki * Dorotabō * Enenra * Funa Yurei * Furaribi * Furutsubaki no rei * Gaikotsu * Ganbari Nyudo * Gagoze * Gensuke * Haka no hi * Hangonkō * Hannya * Hashi-Hime * Hiderigami * Hikeshi baba * Hinode * Hitodama * Hitotsume Kozō * Hiyoribo * Hōkō * Hone Onna * Hyōsube * Ikiryō * Inugami * Jakotsubaba * Jorōgumo * Kamaitachi * Kamikiri * Kanedama * Kageonna * Kappa * Kasha * Katawa Guruma * Kawa Akago * Kawauso * Kitsunebi * Kejoro * Kerakeraonna * Kodama * Kokuribaba * Kosenjo no hi * Kurozuka * Makurageishi * Mikoshi * Momonjii * Nekomata * Ningyo * Ninmenju * Noderabō * Nopperabo * Nuppeppō * Nurarihyon * Nureonna * Nuribotoke * Nyūnai Suzume * Obariyon * Ōkaburo * Ōkubi * Okiku * Ōmagatoki * Oni * Onmoraki * Osakabe * Oshiroibaba * Otoroshi * Ouni * Rokurokubi * Sakabashira * Samebito * Sansei * Sarakozoe * Satori * Seta * Shinkirō * Shirachigo * Shiranui * Shōkera * Shokuin * Shuten-dōji * Sōgenbi * Suiko * Takaonna * Tamamo-no-mae * Tanuki * Tenasobi * Tenjō-Kudari * Tengu * Tengu Tsubute * Tenome * Teratsutsuki * Tesso * Tōdaiki * Tōfu Kozō * Tsurubebi * Ubagabi * Ubume * Umibozū * Umizatō * Ushinotoki-mairi * Ushioni * Uwan * Waira * Wani * Wanyudo * Yamabiko * Yamauba * Yamawarawa * Yanari * Yukionna * Zenki and Goki

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