Female demons of Ancient Japan

!! As you know the Kingdom (and demon) at the core of ‘Ninth Planet’ in The Pearl Territory is called Mara. I have no idea why I’ve chosen that name, but then I googled… and found out:

x x x 

Japanese folklore humors us with stories and tales about scary, powerful demons and monsters that represent EVIL and are set out to terrorize humans that do wrong in their lives. Fictional or not, Japanese Buddhists firmly believe in these spirits who attack humans with impure thoughts, negative behaviour traits and unruly desires.

“Be careful when you cast out your demons
that you don’t throw away the best of yourself.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Folklore also tells us that these spirits are human beings that have suffered a terrible life or death – from unfaithful husbands, dead babies to family betrayal. These demons are out for vengeance and to make others suffer for their misfortunes. Whether you believe in these legends or not, their stories will leave you diving under the duvet in fright…

The wolves wait for you, little lamb…

One of the most infamous Buddhist demons and the only non human being to appear in Buddhist scriptures is MARA. Also known as ‘Lord of Death’, Mara’s gender remains debatable in Buddhist writing. Mara represents the temptations that distract and delude us and is well known amongst Buddhists for his wicked ways during the Buddha’s enlightenment. Mara believed that the seat of enlightenment belonged to him so Mara set out to tempt and attack Siddhartha Gautama – the soon to be Buddha, as he meditated.

Mara brought his three beautiful daughters to strip naked and seduce the Buddha, but they failed!

Next, Mara sent armies to attack the Buddha but Siddhartha remained still and untouched. The next morning, Mara was gone and Siddhartha achieved enlightenment and became the Buddha.

Another famous demon in Japanese folklore is Yamauba, which translates to “mountain hag”. They live deep in the Japanese mountains and forests and pray on travellers passing by. They disguise themselves as ordinary kind, old women offering food and shelter for the night but once their prey is fast sleep, they turn back into their wicked selves and feast on their guests. The story behind these ugly demons starts with tales of young women fleeing from accusations of crimes into the wilderness to live out their days in exile. Over time, they transform into Yamauba.

“Darkness will always be its own master.” C.K. Mullinax

There are also alternative stories involving families leading their elderly mothers or grandmothers deep into the words to starve due to extreme poverty and famine and not being able to feed them. These abandoned old women get angry and revengeful as they transform ready to feed on humans.

Fast-forward to modern day society and many people believe these stories to be just that – stories. Tales you tell your disobedient children if they misbehave or wander off unsupervised, “Yamauba will get you if you run off!”

Many believers apply these tales to their daily lives and attitudes. For these people, these demons are frightful reminders to do only good things if you want to keep these demons and spirits away. 

“There’s no use wasting energy being afraid of the devils, demons and things that go bump in the night… Because ultimately we’ll never encounter anything more terrifying than the monster among us. Hell is where we make it.” Dean Koontz

As one reads more and more into the ancient demons and spirits of Japanese folklore, a pattern starts to emerge. They’re mostly women! It might be mythology’s way of saying how ‘demonic’ women are even as humans and a warning to men. Treat us badly and we will make sure we get our revenge.

Why do you think most demons are portrayed as women? 😬😬


Next post – “The Pearl Territory”, chapter 7 – Goe #journal 

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46 Responses

  1. I truly believe that writers tap into their own spiritual world. As in the muse. It’s undeniably real to me. I’ve written things with twists, names, themes, all that support the ideas put forth in the story. There was a reason that you subconsciously chose Mara. 🙂

  2. Fiery says:

    Firstly I love that Nietzsche quote. How true.
    Why are demons usually portrayed as women? I’ll try to keep my answer as short as I can lol.
    I think it stems from the innate fear of the feminine. And I say “feminine” without any of the trappings of political correctness.
    The power of the feminine form and psyche is undeniable yet denied and demonised it most definitely is. The power that women have over the creation of life, the nurture of every human that comes into existence, the obvious yet incredibly feared power we have over the male genitals and the brains that go hand in hand with those genitals, coupled with the almost otherworldly, 6th sense instinct we all have and then add to that the immense threshold for pain and survival AND the power again that we weild over the ONLY organ in human anatomy whose purpose is only FOR PLEASURE (the clitoris) makes for an entity that has been pushed down and belittled since our demi god ancestors became too full of hubris to appreciate their true power and were obliterated (so the myth goes)
    It’s far easier to create female demons because we’re gorgeous and alluring and magnetic and tempting and magical and effing HOT and let’s not forget, warm and nurturing and addictive and NEEDED and with all that power we could take over the world. So much easier than that scenario…we are made into fictional demons and succubuses who are intent on destroying Mankind.

    In my humble little opinion

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      In my humble opinion…you are AWESOME! Don’t you wanna run for president next time? 🙂 seriously…
      Ah, and about the answer, agreed with you, but maybe sometimes we, women, need to hear it (that we r magnetic 🧲 & magical 🧙‍♀️) again & AGAIN… because so often many of us treated as “not-good-enough” or “know-your-place”, and maybe that is pushing us, sweet & kind, to the road – becoming Demons 🙂 & destroying some…bad guys :))

      • Fiery says:

        Ha! You’ve made my morning, lovely Ms. Ray

        I won’t be running for president because I’m pretty sure I would be impeached immediately for firing up the masses into a rebellion against our all powerful illuminati overlords!

        But you couldn’t be more right about what you say. We do need to be reminded. So many of us, are belittled and degraded to the point of despair and destroyed from the inside and abused on the outside leaving nothing but a bruised shell. We don’t deserve the bad things that happen to us but we’re strong enough to survive them.
        Strong urge to hug you very tightly

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Agreed 🙂 we are strong 💪 enough to survive 💙

  3. Baffledmum says:

    Wow! Imagine, had you not chosen that name – you may not have googled it leading to missing out on these stories… Well done you! 😏

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Yep pretty weird, considering that I picked name in Business Insider App (most of the names for my stories are from this app, I’m too lazy to think 😂)…

  4. Weird. I wrote about Japanese folklore yesterday.

  5. I’ve always heard that women are portrayed as demons in old mythology to either support the patriarchy or support women. For instance, the tale of Medusa in Greek. To men, the story is about a slut who got what she deserved by being turned into a hag and killed. For women, it is the story of one woman protecting another by stripping away her beauty and giving her the power to turn men into stone to protect herself from ever being harmed again. So I guess my answer is, it depends on the audience.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Yes agreed here too…we are usually seeing the same text or story with different eyes. I actually always thought Medusa is evil …😱😂

      • I used to think that too! Then I actually read her story (not the adaptations) and different interpretations and she became a much more interesting character.

  6. Women as demons? Nothing that good looking and haunting could be a saint. Also, men cannot dream of bedding a saint but a demon? That is another matter.

  7. Love your posts, as always, and the quotes. I agree that women are very magical, but I only know two true women demons – my ex wives – LOL!

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Maybe all ex-wives are demons (for their ex-husbands). Then we’ve got problems…

      • LOL! I wasn’t trying to be too serious. A bit of humor is good medicine. Even those relationships had their good times, and I still love them and care about them. I’ve been reading a lot lately where there is a view that all men are evil too. No exceptions allowed, and if you try to defend yourself, that’s when you are truly demonized. I don’t think the extreme points of view help. And I do agree the traditional patriarchy needs to die. In my case, Ex #1 had multiple affairs, Ex #2 became alcoholic and refused all attempts at getting help. I was the nice faithful husband, but like my Ex told me “Nice guys finish last.” I took good care of them with the divorces too 🙂

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        You have some “demonic” experience to write books then 🙂 fiction or non-fiction, doesn’t matter.
        Nice guys write great books – a good slogan to follow :))

      • Now there’s a saying I can live by ❤❤

  8. Hyperion says:

    Women are demons simply because they possess the power men have no defense against. Just take off all your clothes and wait for your man next to your fireplace. When he comes home and sees you, you can ask for anything and get it right away. Just be careful the pets are not traumatized by thinking you two are fighting on the couch. Personally, I adore dark gothic vampiric demon ladies.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Never done it lol & never will…me on inet & me in life are soooo different things haha

      • Hyperion says:

        Ha ha ha! Let Ray do it and you stay safe. I let Hyperion do all the risky fun stuff for me and I stay safe in my man cave. And I apolgize for Hyperion being cheeky. He is such a rascal. I need to find a leash for him and a muzzle. He thinks he is a wolf sometimes.

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Lol 😂 leash & muzzle… ah, sounds like “The TORTURE GARDEN”(world largest fetish club), in London. I’ve been there by the way. Cool place. U should google it, for inspiration 😂😂✌️

      • Hyperion says:

        Thank you Ray! Research is our friend 😁

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        💙✌️😉👍

      • Hyperion says:

        🦹🏼‍♀️🦹🏻‍♂️🏏

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Lol 😂 haha maybe men are demons because they are expecting that – his lady is going to sit near fireplace naked waiting to satisfy him. Or first satisfy him & then to ask something in return. Bleewwaahhhh 😂

      • Hyperion says:

        Oh yes indeed Ray, and we men fall for it every single time. It never gets old. In truth, if we truly love another we give freely and sacrifice much for them and they for us in return. I pray we never turn the magic of love and selflessness into a hateful thing. Of course, if he spanks her unnecessarily, it could cause lumps to form on his head from some blunt object. That does often lead to changes in the thought processes.

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Love is tricky…😉✌️

      • Hyperion says:

        That is probably why we are all addicted to it. 😜🥰

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Haha True 🙂

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Have to say also “fireplace” situation feels too #staged

      • Hyperion says:

        Of course it is staged, Ray. That makes him think she was thinking of him all day when in fact, she doesn’t need to do much thinking at all. The other benefit is she doesn’t get cold. I don’t know why, but a frosty hug from one’s lovely spouse can cause shivering and panic driven searches for blankets. So distracting. 🥶🔥🥰

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Staged is ok…depends on the goals. I’m very pragmatic girl 👧. Haha

      • Hyperion says:

        Awesome. Pragmatic girls are best for 60 year marriages because they make sure things are done practically and so Hubby lives longer and stays happier, thus a long time together. My Swedish great uncle was very practical and my auntie and uncle Dan lasted together happily for a very long time.

  9. kinkyacres says:

    One thing happens to males at a young age to make us look at the female with suspension in our eyes! The one thing women can do that most men can’t! Give birth!

  10. Love these quotes. Japanese folklore is so complex and we have only just started scratching the surface with our understanding. Nietzsche is spot on an usual.

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