Daitengu – 大天狗 29. March 2023

The Daitengu is one of the most well-known Yokai creatures in Japanese folklore, alongside Kappa and Hannya. These mythical beings are part of the Tengu family, which is divided into two types – the exclusively evil Kotengu and the Daitengu, which are more humanoid and higher up in the hierarchy.

The appearance

Daitengus are imposing figures that wear the robe of the Yamabushi mountain ascetics and are slightly taller than conventional humans. They have a red face and a long phallus-like nose, with the size of their nose indicating their power. They also have luxuriant facial hair, feathery wings protruding from their backs, and carry various objects such as pilgrim staffs.

The behavior

While Daitengus spend most of their lives alone on mountains in meditation, they are known for their intelligence and ferocity. They are unpredictable and have been attributed to natural disasters and calamities in the past. As a result, people used to fear them and offered them offerings to appease them.

The rise

However, over time, the Daitengu evolved from feared demons to god-like beings, associated with the mountain religion of Shugendō. This religion helped people earn the respect of the Daitengu over time, and they began to provide assistance to worthy individuals and teach them various skills. According to one story, the famous Japanese warrior Minamoto no Yoshitsune learned his swordsmanship from the king of the Tengus “Sōjōbō” himself.

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