Japanese Mythology

The Shinto and Folk Gods of Japan...


Japanese Trickster Spirits

Also known as Ten-Gu

Long-nosed mountain spirits

These are very tricky demon creatures, similar to sprites or bogeys. They live in forests and on mountains where they lie in wait to cause mischief.

Ruled over by the elderly but formidable Sojobo, the Tengu are a syncretic bunch who cross several religious boundaries. They pop up in Shinto, folk religion and Japanese Buddhism, and are the legendary mountain creatures of choice in Shugendo.

There are several different kinds of Tengu, but they are all ugly, mischievous and utterly unpredictable. They are not necessarily evil, but take delight in doing crazy things. Often with an unhealthy dose of magic involved.

Although they can fly, Tengu have been known to ride around on the backs of animals just for kicks. There are no reports of them riding on humans, but we wouldn’t put it past them. They also fight with swords. Best avoided.

Tengu Facts and Figures

Name: Tengu
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: Ten-Gu

Gender: Male
Type: Spirits
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

In charge of: Mayhem
Area of expertise: Trickster, Mischief, Mayhem

Good/Evil Rating: NOT OKAY, be careful
Popularity index: 3988

Cite this article

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Article last revised on September 23, 2018 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

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