Umibozū

Umibozū
The Umibozū depicted by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Umibozū

The Umibozū (海坊主 – Sea Monk) is a type of Japanese Yōkai known to dwell far out in the deep ocean.1

Other Names

This creatures goes by several other names, two of which are Umimyūdō and Umikozō.2 Other areas of Japan gives the creature even more names. On the Island of Sado it is said the people call it the Tate-Eboshi and is a 65 foot tall creature which will try to drown boats. In Shiriyazaki, northern Honshu, they call the creature the Mojabune.1

Appearance and Origins

Sources alternate on their origins, some saying they are the spirits/ghost of drowned sailors who wish to seek revenge, with others saying they are gigantic sea creatures.1

Others believe these creatures are the manifestation of people who have no one to care over their graves or those who have died suddenly and take refuge at sea transforming into an Umibozū.2

Generally it is agreed that they have large, domed heads12, have glowing eyes and are completely jet black in color; formed entirely of water.1

Other sources have stated these beings are covered in ultra-fine hair, that they are humanoid in appearance and that they emanate strange moaning sounds.1

Manifestations

Should you run into one of these creatures, talking to it will immediately cause them to capsize your boat,2 rising from the water they will attempt to engulf sailors or ships whole. However, it is said you can hurt them if they are hit with a pole.1

One source known as the ‘Kanso Jigo‘ (Speculations on Natural Tales) by Norimitsu Yanagihara states that at times, smaller ones of their kind come close to shore. One instance of this was in the village of Izumi, Osaka where villagers say a small Umibozū remained in the shallows for 3 days. The villages avoided the ocean during this time before it left one day, and no explanation is given as to why.1

People in Shiriyazaki, say that mixing miso paste and water together and pouring it into the sea will drive the creatures away.1

Other Depictions

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Footnotes

1. Yoda, H & Alt, M. (2008) “Yokai Attack: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide” Tokyo: Kodansha International Ltd.
2. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.

List of Supernatural Creatures

Abura akago * Aka Manto * Akaname * Akashita * Amefuri Kozo * Amikiri * Aōbozu * Aonyobo * Aosagi no hi * Buruburu * Chochin bi * Funa Yurei * Furaribi * Furutsubaki no rei * Gaikotsu * Ganbari Nyudo * Gagoze * Gensuke * Haka no hi * Hannya * Hashi-Hime * Hiderigami * Hikeshi baba * Hitodama * Hitotsume Kozō * Hiyoribo * Hone Onna * Hyōsube * Ikiryō * Inugami * Jorōgumo * Kamaitachi * Kamikiri * Kappa * Kasha * Katawa Guruma * Kawa Akago * Kawauso * Kitsunebi * Kejoro * Kodama * Kosenjo no hi * Kurozuka * Makurageishi * Mikoshi * Nekomata * Noderabō * Nopperabo * Nuppeppō * Nurarihyon * Nureonna * Nuribotoke * Nyūnai Suzume * Obariyon * Okiku * Ōmagatoki * Oni * Onmoraki * Osakabe * Otoroshi * Ouni * Rokurokubi * Sakabashira * Samebito * Sansei * Sarakozoe * Satori * Seta * Shirachigo * Shiranui * Shōkera * Shuten-dōji * Sōgenbi * Suiko * Takaonna * Tamamo-no-mae * Tanuki * Tenasobi * Tenjō-Kudari * Tengu * Tenome * Teratsutsuki * Tesso * 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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Supernatural Creatures