Japanese Mythology in Popular Culture - Ushi-oni

  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game, there are three cards featuring ushi-oni: "Ushi Oni" is a bull fiend with four octopus tentacles on its back, "Abare Ushioni" is a bull monster, and "Great Ushi Oni" has the head, torso, and arms of a minotaur on a spider-like body.
  • In the anime Karas, a bloodthirsty Ushi-Oni (voiced by Michael McConnohie) becomes a mechanized 'Mikura' concealing itself in the form of a police chief.
  • In the game Jade Empire, there is a two headed ushi-oni.
  • In the manga Naruto, the eight-tailed beast is revealed to be an ushi-oni, built like a minotaur with eight octopus tentacles.
  • In the anime and manga series One Piece, Roronoa Zoro, one of the main characters, performs a technique called after this creature. The attack is named "Gyuuki Yuzume" (Demon Ox Brave Claws).
  • The Japanese heavy metal band Onmyouza have a song titled "Ushi-oni Matsuri" ("Bull Demon Festival") on their Kojin Rasetsu album.
  • An Ushi-oni makes an appearance in Japanese director Miike Takashi's film Gozu.
  • In the game Warriors Orochi 2, Gyuki appears as an NPC except in versus mode.
  • In Kamen Rider Decade, the Nine Worlds' version of Kamen Rider Hibiki encountered by Tsukasa and co. loses control of his powers and transforms into a Makamou called Gyuki, which is essentially an Ushi-oni.
  • In the MMORPG Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine, there is a demon named Gyuki that has the appearance of a demon/spider.
  • The Ushi-oni is also a monster in Ninja Sentai Kakuranger. It was used as a background monster in later Power Rangers series as it wasn't used in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

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The Ushi-Oni (牛鬼?, Ox Oni (demon)), or gyūki, is a creature which appears in the folklore of Japan. There are various kinds of ushi-oni, all of them some sort of monster with a horned, bovine head.

Perhaps the most famous ushi-oni appears as a protective symbol in the Uwajima Ushi-oni Festival, which is held in late July in Uwajima of Ehime Prefecture. Something like the dragon dancers at a Chinese New Year celebration, this ushi-oni is represented with a huge, multiple-person costume with a cloth body and a carved, painted head held upon a pole. It has a sword for a tail, and is thought to drive away evil spirits.

Another well-known ushi-oni is a massive, brutal sea-monster which lives off the coast of Shimane Prefecture and other places in Western Japan and attacks fishermen. It is often depicted with a spider- or crab-like body. This ushi-oni seems to be connected to another monster called the nure-onna, who sometimes appears before an ushi-oni attack and tricks the victim into holding her child, which then becomes stuck to the person's hands and grows heavier in order to hinder escape.

Yet another ushi-oni is depicted as a statue on the grounds of the Negoroji temple in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture. It is a bipedal monster with huge tusks, spurred wrists, and membranes like a flying squirrel. A sign nearby explains that this creature terrorized the area about four-hundred years ago, and was slain by a skilled archer by the name of Yamada Kurando Takakiyo (山田蔵人高清). He dedicated its horns to the temple, and they can still be seen to this day.

Ushi-oni are also mentioned in Sei Shōnagon's tenth-century diary The Pillow Book, and in the Taiheiki of the fourteenth century.