2015-09-01

Japanese legends and tales INFO

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Japanese legends and tales 伝説 民話 昔話 - Introduction



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Whereas folktales (mukashibanashi 昔話) are usually pure phantasy and happen "once upon a time",
many legends (densetsu) have a bit of truth, explaining about a place name, a historical person, a local speciality or something of that kind. Legends with a similar theme but varying contents can be found in different regions of Japan.
For unification purposes, I call most of them "tales".

Gabi Greve, Japan

. tsukimono 憑き物 bewitched .
Being bewitched by a fox, badger, a Yokai or other ill-meaning foe was pretty common in Japan,
there are many legends and tales about it.

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. animals and their legends 動物と伝説 - - ABC list .

. plants and their legends  植物と伝説 - - ABC list .

. trees and their legends  樹木, 木と伝説 - - ABC list .

. Persons, People, Personen and their legends - - ABC list .

. Natural Disasters 自然災害 shizen saigai - Legends - - ABC list .
- drought, earthquake, flooding, landslides, tsunami, typhoon, volcanic eruption -


- under construction
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- - - - - ABC List - - - - -

. Abekawa, Abe-Kawa 安倍川 river in Shizuoka . *

. Abe no Seimei 阿倍晴明 (921 - 1005) .

adauchi 仇討ち revenge killing
- 18 entries to explore -

. Amanojaku 天邪鬼 Heavenly Evil Spirit .

. amazake 甘酒 "sweet rice wine" - Amazake .

. anesama ningyoo 姉様人形 "elder sister" dolls .

. Aoso Jinja 青麻神社 "Green Hemp Shrine" . - Sendai, Miyagi

. Asakusa in Edo 浅草 江戸 . *

. Asamayama, Asama yama 浅間山 Mount Asama, a volcano .
14 legends to explore

. Ashikaga Takauji 足利尊氏 - Shogun (1305 – 1358) .

. Atago Gongen 愛宕権現 . *
avatar (Gongen) of Buddhist Bodhisattva Jizo Bosatsu.
77 to explore


. bakuchi 博打 - tobaku 賭博 gambling . *
19 to explore

. bijin - Edo no bijin 江戸の美人 the beauties of Edo .
美人 89 to explore

. bikuni 比丘尼 Buddhist nun (ama 尼) . *
50 to explore

. Binbogami 貧乏神 Bimbogami, God of Poverty . *
42 to explore

. Bonten 梵天 Baramonten, Brahma . *

boozu 大坊主, 小坊主 monk priest, young monk
. boozu 坊主 / oshoo 和尚 priest/ .
316 to explore

. Buddhist Temples and Sake 酒とお寺 .

. butsudan 仏壇 / 佛壇 Buddhist family altar . *
90 legends to explore

. byakudan 白檀 sandalwood legends .


. Castles and their Legends お城と伝説  . *

. choochin 提灯 / 提燈 / チョウチン Chochin, Lantern .
300 + to explore

. craftsmen, artisan, Handwerker 職人 shokunin .
21 entries to explore

daikokubashira 大黒柱 strongest pillar of a building
. Daikoku Ten 大黒天 .
86 大黒 to explore

. daiku 大工 carpenter and legends . *

. dokuro 髑髏 Gasha-dokuro がしゃどくろ "rattling skull" legends

. Doosojin, Dososhin 道祖神 Legends about Wayside Gods .

. doozan, dōzan 銅山 Dozan copper mine .

. doyoo 土用 Doyo days .
44 to explore

. Dragon - ryuu, ryū 龍 竜 伝説 Ryu - dragon legends . *

. Ebisu, Hiruko 蛭子 .
蛭子 - 7 legends to explore
えびす様 - 9 legends // 恵比寿 - 36  // 恵比須 15

. eboshi 烏帽子 officials hat .
28 to explore - Tateeboshi 立烏帽子 Lady Tate Eboshi

. Edo - Legends and Tales from Edo 江戸の伝説 .

. ema 絵馬 votive tablets .
78 legends to explore

. Enkuu 円空 Legends about Master Carver Enku 円空と伝説  .

. En noGyôja 役行者 En no Gyoja .
34 役行者 / 15 小角 / 7 役小角


fuchi, -buchi 淵 / 渕 river pool
. Kappabuchi, Kappa-buchi 河童淵 / カッパ淵 / 河童が渕 .
渕 200 legends to explore
淵 more than 700 legends to explore


. Fudo Myo-O 不動様 in legends and tales .


Fujisan 富士山
八ヶ岳,富士山 / 金北山,富士山 / びわ湖の土,富士山,三上山 / ダイラボウ (ダイダラボッチ) , , ,
- 63 legends to explore -


. Funadamasama 船霊 / 船玉様 amulet to protect boats .
船霊 - 56 legends to explore
- - -- - . Funadamasama 船玉様 / 船霊 .
船玉 - 09 legends to explore

. furoshiki 風呂敷 cotton wrapper .
47 to explore

. Fuujin 風神 Fujin、Fuuten 風天 Futen - 風神伝説 Wind God Legends . .
- Kamaitachi 鎌鼬(かまいたち) "sickle weasel" to explore



. gangu 玩具, omochcha おもちゃ  toy, toys .
more than 200 legends to explore, including mingu 民具
- - - - - hariko 張子 / 張り子 papermachee doll legends .

. geta 下駄 wooden clogs .
117 to explore

. Gold and Silver Mines - kinzan 金山 ginzan 銀山 . *

. goshiki 五色と伝説 Legends about the five ritual colors .


. Hachiman Legends about Hachiman Shrines 八幡宮 / 八幡神社 . *
- and - Minamoto no Yoshiie Hachimantaro 源八幡太郎義家 (1039 - 1106) *

. hahako 母子 / 母と子 mother and child . *
24 to explore

. hanabi 花火 firework legends .

. ha no kamisama 歯の神様 Deity of Teeth .
hagami san 歯神さん / ハガミサン - / 10 to explore

. hashi 橋 bridge / Onibashi 鬼橋 Demon Bridge . *

. Heian Period Legends (794 to 1185) 平安時代の伝説 .

. Hidarugami ヒダル神 The Hunger Gods. .
41 to explore / Darashi ダラシ 9 to explore

. Hidari Jingoro 左甚五郎 - legendary carpenter .

. Hikyaku, hikyaku 飛脚 伝説 legends about fast messengers . *
to explore

. hina 雛 / お雛様 / 烏の雛 Hina dolls and chicks . *

hinotama, hi no tama 火の玉 "ball of fire",
. kitsunebi 狐火 Wwill-o'-the-wisp .
420 to explore ( and the souls of dead people)
kechibi 鬼火 / けち火 from Tosa (23 to explore) and Onibi
. janjanbi じゃんじゃん火 from Nara .
”a mysterious light associated with spirits, found in various folklore tales”
. tenpi, tenbi, tenka 天火 "fire from heaven" / 天火(落雷 rakurai) lightning .

. Hita 日田市 - Bungo no Kuni Hita 豊後国日田 . * Oita
17 to explore

. hitobashira 人柱 / ikenie 生贄 / 生け贄 human sacrifice .

. himonoshi 檜物師 "artisan making things from Hinoki cypress wood" .

. Hookigami, Hōkigami 箒神 Hokigami, Hahakigami - the Broom Deity .

. Hoosoogami, Hoosooshin 疱瘡神 Hosogami, God of Smallpox .
25 legends to explore / smallpox 疱瘡 69 legends to explore

. Hot Springs 温泉 Onsen legends .



. ibotori 疣取り / イボ取り / いぼとり take away warts . *

. ike no nushi 池の主 the master of the pond, "Pond Deity" .

Ise 伊勢 - 伊勢の神様 - 伊勢様 - 伊勢踊
318 to explore

. ishibitsu, sekibitsu 石櫃と伝説 Legends about stone coffins .


. janjanbi じゃんじゃん火 / ジャンジャン火 Janjan fire legends from Nara . *


. jishin 地震 earthquake, Erdbeben .
59 to explore

. Jizo Bosatsu 地蔵菩薩 Legends .

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. kagami 鏡 mirrors and legends .
- Matsuyama kagami 松山鏡 The Mirror from Matsuyama

. Kagamigaike, Kagami-ga-Ike 鏡ヶ池 Legends about a Mirror Pond .

kaika, kechibi 怪火 / 火の玉 Kaika, atmospheric ghost lights
65 to explore

. kajiya 鍛冶屋 kajishi 鍛冶師 blacksmith .
37 to explore

. kamado 竈 kitchen hearth .
54 to explore

. kaminari 雷と伝説 Legends about Thunder and Thunderbolts .

. kamon 家紋 family crest, shinmon 神紋 Shrine crest .

. kane 鐘 temple bell . *

. kanju manju 干珠満珠 the tide jewels .

. Kannon Bosatsu 観音菩薩 Legends .  
many to explore

. Kano Hoogen 狩野法眼 Kano Hogen / Kano Eitoku 狩野 永徳 . *

. kanoke 棺桶 coffin, casket .
42 legends to explore

. Kappa 河童 the water goblin tales .

. Kasuga Daimyôjin 春日大明神 Kasuga Daimyojin .

. Kasuri 絣 Ikat pattern and legends .

. kataba no ashi, kataha no ashi 片葉の葦 One-sided Reed .

. kekkon 結婚 konrei 婚礼 marriage in Edo . *
more than 100 to explore

. kikin 飢饉 famine .
29 to explore

. Kishibojin, Kishimojin 鬼子母神と伝説 Legends about the deity Kishibojin .


. kobiki 木挽 timber cutters .
31 to explore

. kofun 古墳 burial mound, tumulus . *

. kokeshi こけし wooden dolls in the tales .

. Kokuuzoo, Kokūzō 虚空蔵菩薩 Kokuzo Bosatsu Akashagarbha .
27 to explore

. komainu, koma-inu 狛犬 / 高麗犬 / 胡麻犬 "Korean Dog" legends .

. komusoo 虚無僧 Komuso begging monks .
and Shakuhachi flute 尺八

. Konjin, Konjin Sama  金神, 金神様 deity of metal . *

. Koobo Daishi Kuukai 弘法大師 空海 - 伝説 Kobo Daishi Kukai Legends .

. Kōjimachi 麹町 / 麴町 Kojimachi district in Edo .

. Koorai, Kŏrai, Goryeo 高麗 Korai - Legends related to Korea .
9 to explore *

. kooshin 庚申 Koshin "Wild Deities" . *
175 to explore

. kugi 釘 nail, Nagel - and curses のろい . . . . *
100 to explore

. kushi 櫛 comb, Kamm .
48 to explore

. kuwa 鍬 hoe, plough . *
76 to explore

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. makuragaeshi 枕返し pillow turner, pillow flipper 枕小僧 makura kozō .
- - - - - makuragami 枕神 "god of the pillow" / yumemakura 夢枕 and more

mamako 継子 stepchild
16 to explore

. mamono 魔物 monster, ogre, devil, evil spirit, demon .
- - - - - madoo 魔道 - まどう / mamono no toorimichi 魔物の通り道 mado, road where monsters pass

. matagi 又鬼 - マタギ と伝説 Legends about bear hunters .
36 to explore


. Matsuyama town in Ehime 松山 . 愛媛県 . *
26 to explore


. mi み【箕】 winnow for grain .
61 to explore

. miko 巫女 shrine maiden, female shrine attendant .
115 to explore

. mikogami 御子神 / ミコ神 "Honorable-child-kami", offspring kami . *
28 to explore

. Misaki and Kojin ミサキ 荒神 / 御先大明神 Misaki Daimyojin . *
212 to explore

. mugimeshi 麦飯 cooked rice with barley .
5 to explore


. nakoodo 仲人 matchmakers for a marriage .
with foxes, serpents, tanuki . . .

. Nanafushigi, nana fushigi 七不思議 "The Seven Wonders" .

. Nio, Deva Kings 仁王 (Nioo, Niou) . *

. nuibari 縫針 sewing needle legends .



. Oguri Hangan 小栗判官 Daisukeshige (1398 - 1464) .

. Okayama Legends  岡山の民話と伝説 .


. Onipedia - 鬼ペディア Oni demon legends .
942 legends to explore

. Ontakesan 御嶽山 / 御岳山 Mount Ontakesan Nagano Ontake San Tengu .
28 to explore

. ooki na otoko 大きな男 a huge man .
10 legends to explore

. Oonyuudoo 大入道 O-Nyudo Monk Yokai .
hitotsume dainyuudo 一つ目の大入道 Great Nyudo with one eye
mitsume nyuudoo 三つ目入道 Nyudo with three eyes
105 to explore


. O-Shirasama おしらさま "White Deity" of Tohoku .
50 to explore

. o-shiroi (hakufun) おしろい / 白粉 white face powder .
8 to explore

. O-Suga sama お菅さま "Lady Suga" .
- - - - - and . kuwa 桑 mulberry tree . silk worms


. pee, pipi, tachi shôben 立小便 pissing, standing at the roadside .


. Raijuu, Raijū 雷獣 Raiju Thunder Beast Yokai and Legends .
- and tenpi 天火 "fire from heaven", lightning

. ranma 欄間 transom, panel - Legends .

. Rokugoo, Rokugō 六郷 Rokugo, "Six villages" and legends .

. Rokusan sama 六三さま Deity of Illness .

. ryuutoo 龍燈 / 龍灯 Ryuto, "Dragon Lantern" legends .



. saints, priests, holy men in legends .
上人 法人 - zenshi 禅師 Zen priests - 修験者 shugenja 山伏 yamabushi


. Sado Densetsu 佐渡伝説 Sado Island Legends, Niigata . *
more than 350 to explore

. Sai no Kawara 賽の河原 Dead Children's limbo .
14 to explore

. Sakanoue no Tamuramaro 坂上田村麻呂 .
40 legends to explore

. sake 酒 and o-miki お神酒 rice wine rituals and legends .

. Sanada clan 真田幸村 Sanada Yukimura .
44 to explore

sanbi and shinibi 産火(サンビ) sanbi "fire of life" and 死火(シニビ)shinibi "fire of death"
people come together for the funeral and eat a meal together
. Misaki ミサキ / 御先 / 御前 / 御崎 the Misaki deity .


. sankin kootai 参勤交代 Sankin Kotai Daimyo attendance in Edo .
- - - - - daimyō gyōretsu 大名行列 Daimyo Gyoretsu procession to Edo

. Sanzu no Kawa 三途の川 River Sanzu, the river on the way to hell .
19 to explore

. Sarutahiko densetsu 猿田彦伝説 Sarutahiko Legends .

sekihan 赤飯 red cooked rice
112 legends to explore

. senryoobako 千両箱 Senryobako money box legends .

. seppuku 切腹 -- harakiri 腹切り ritual suicide .
to translate

. setomono 瀬戸物 pottery, crockery . *
8 to explore

. setsubun 節分 "seasonal divide" rituals - legends .
oni wa soto 鬼は外 "Demons, get out!" -
100 to explore


shakujo 錫杖 walking staff - a crozier, a crosier
20 to explore

. shichiya 質屋 pawn shop legends .

. shinbutsu 神仏 kami to hotoke, the Deities of Japan . **

. Shinigami 死神 God of Death "Grim Reaper" .

. shinka 神火と伝説 Legends about "divine fire" .
- goshinka, go-shinka 御神火 "divine fire" from a volcano

. shinrei 神鈴 "bell of the gods" . *
206 to explore - clay bells and others

. Shishigashira 獅子頭 lion head mask . *
14 to explore

. Shitenno-Ji 四天王寺 Osaka . *

. shoochuu 焼酎 Shochu strong liquor . *
14 to explore

. Shoomen, Shomen Kongo, Seimen Kongo 青面金剛 .

. Shōnai 庄内地方 Shōnai district, Shonai in Yamagata .
23 legends to explore

. silk 絹 kinu and related legends .
silkworm, kaiko 蚕, kuwago 桑子 "mulberry child"

. soba 蕎麦 Legends about buckwheat .

. sumigama 炭竈 と伝説 Legends about charcoal kilns .
- - - 91 炭焼き (00)


. Ta no Kami 田の神 God of the Fields - Legends .
more than 100 to explore

. tabi 足袋 split-toe socks .
27 to explore

. taika 大火 Taika "Great Fires" .  *
55 to explore

. Taishakuten 帝釈天 Taishaku Ten .

. Taitoo, Taitō 台東区 Taito Ward, Edo and its legends .

. Takefu town legends  武生市伝説 . - Fukui *

. tako 凧伝説 Legends about Kites .

. Tanuki and Sake 狸とお酒 .

. tansu 箪笥 / 簞笥 / たんす chest of drawers, Kommode . *

. Tengu 天狗 long-nosed goblin . *
1378 legends to explore - karasu tengu 烏天狗 Tengu with a beak

. Tenjin Sama 天神菅原道真伝説 Legends about Tenjin Sugawara Michizane . *
to explore

. tenugui 手ぬぐい / 手拭 cotton hand towels .
more than 65 to explore

. tokko, dokko 独鈷 と伝説 Legends about the Vajra Thunderbolt .

. Tokugawa Ieyasu 徳川家康 . (1543 - 1616) .

. Toodaiji 東大寺 Todai-Ji in Nara .

. toofu 豆腐 Tofu, Dofu, bean curd . *
49 legends to explore
- and abura-age 112 entries (with the inari fox mostly)

. Totsukawa / Totsugawa 十津川と伝説 Legends about Totsukawa village - Nara .


. tsue 杖 stick, walking stick - Wanderstab .

. Tsunami 津波 .

. Typhoon legends - taifū 台風 伝説 Taifun Legenden .
- - - - - 風神 Fujin, God of Wind / 雷神 Raijin, God of Thunder


. uranai 占い fortune telling, divination .
109 to explore (00)

. urushi 漆 lacquer, Lack .
96 to explore


. waraji - zoori 草鞋- 履 と伝説 Legends about straw sandals .
waraji 草鞋 45 to explore / zoori 草履 125 to explore ...

. water basin 手水 temizu, choozu . *



. Yagyu clan and legends 柳生一族と伝説 .
Yagyū Shinkage-ryū 柳生新陰流 Yagyu school of swordsmanship

. yakan 野干 a monster beast . *
(8 legends to explore) - probably ジャッカル jakkaru, jackal, or maybe a fox 狐.

. Yakubyoogami 疫病神 Yakubyogami, Deity of Diseases .
45 to explore

. Yakushi Nyorai Legends 薬師 / 薬師如来 / 薬師様 / 薬師さん .
The Buddha of Medicine and Healing

. Yakushima 屋久島 Yakushima island legends .

. Yama no Kami 山の神 God of the Mountain - Legends .
800 to explore

. Yamanba, Yamauba 山姥 and 山姫 Yamahime, "Mountain Hag" .
to explore

. Yamato Takeru 日本武尊 / 倭健命 - legendary Ousu 小碓命
x legends to explore

. yashikigami 屋敷神 "estate deities" . *
138 to explore

. yookai, yōkai 妖怪 Yokai monsters and their legends .

. Yoshiwara 葦原 / 吉原 pleasure quarters in Edo . *

. yuuzen 友禅 Yokai wearing Yuzen kimonos .


. zaimoku 材木 timber, lumber .
71 to explore

. zashiki warashi 座敷わらし child spook - Iwate .
16 to explore

. zui-un 瑞雲 auspicious clouds .

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. mukashibanashi 昔話  Japanese Tales .
- Introduction -

- Yookai 妖怪 Yokai Monsters of Japan -
- Introduction -

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- #legendsandtales #densetsu #talesofjapan #legendsabc #legendsindex -
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