Rokurokubi, the long necked Japanese demon


The legend of the Rokurokubi originates from Japanese mythology during the reign of the last Shogun dynasty, known as the Edo period from1603–1867.

Transform in night time

A beautiful and charming woman by day but at night Rokurokubi transf orms. Her neck expands and she begins to hunt. Some rokurokubi are unaware of their condition and attribute the nightmares to stalking human prey at night, while others are well aware of it.


Origin of this demon

According to this belief, these spiritual beings have broken the teachings of Buddhism and are cursed as a result; His punishment is to live life as a demon roaming among humans. To induce repentance, the Rokurokubi target those who do not respect the Buddha’s philosophy. In this particular case, the creature behaves like an evil creature; It kills its prey by eating it, sucking its blood, or absorbing its vital energy. Nice creature, huh?

Types of Rokurokubi

Nukekubi is a type of rokurokubi whose head detaches from its body to travel. Roughly translated as “removable neck”, nukekubi move without holding the neck and thus manage to cover greater distances than rokurokubi. Legend says that the spirit of the Nukekubi travels along with the heads, making them appear even more demonic. Nukekubi are also said to be more violent than their long-necked cousins, reportedly attacking humans and drinking their blood like vampires. Nukekubi’s thirst is sometimes quenched by animals and sometimes they bite their victims rather than drink their blood.

To kill a Nukekubi, its body must be taken to a safe place where the head cannot be returned. However, many Nukekubi, such as Rokurokubi, are unaware or powerless to stop their curse, and so friends and family may find it difficult to kill someone they love, even if they are cursed.

How to detect this demon in day time ?

Since rokurokubi look exactly like humans, and some believe that they are even human-like, yōkai can be quite difficult to identify. However, according to legend, certain signs give away the Rokurokubi. Stretch marks on the neck sometimes appear during the day, prompting yōkai to wear scarves or other accessories around their necks. Others wear multiple layers of clothing to distract people from their awkward necks. Stories also tell that the Rokurokubi fell asleep while their heads were spinning, causing a great surprise to their neighbors and families. It will also be a shock for them when they wake up and find that their neck is too long and their head is somewhere else.

How to defeat Rokurokubi ?

Since Rokurokubi only reveal themselves at night, killing them usually requires capturing them in their true form. Cutting off the head of the rokurokubi when its neck is extended is also an option, as well as hiding its body during the night. In theory, if the head could not return to its body, the yokai would die. However, smart and cunning Rokurokubi can take extra steps to hide their bodies, so destroying them may not be as easy as it seems.

Given the fact that many of these yokai are not even aware of their curse, you may want to simply cure the cursed person rather than kill him. One legend claims that feeding Nukekubi the liver of a white-haired dog when he is in his human form will end the curse.

Although belief in spirits and demons is deeply rooted in Japan, the presence of rokurokubi in Japanese art evokes many interpretations. Long-necked and evil creatures all have a different history, different origins, and meanings. Now that you know everything about this scary monster, it’s up to you to try to decrypt it.

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