Jump to content

[Lore] Yokai


Recommended Posts

Yokai - Spirit of Mystery



(Art by community artist Zeig)


Yokai are a truly fascinating race. At first glance, one may think them to be an average animal, such as a fox or a cat. Some may even put on an act as such, letting curious tourists and passersby of Poninawa pet the 'darling little animal' only for said travelers to discover shortly after the precious native animal has gone, that their camera is now some how hanging in the tree behind them or that their bits have been scattered across the forest floor.


In truth, average would be one of the last words to describe these mysterious and magical creatures. Virtually nothing is known about the Yokai's origins; some scholars believe them to be ancient spirits that have resided in Neighpon – and possibly the whole of the world at one point – long before ponies, others think that the Yokai are the leftovers of a prank caused by Discord that has long since been forgotten. Whatever the case may be, the Yokai aren't telling.


What we do know of the Yokai are only what they allow us to know. The enigmatic species never reveals more than they want us to know and in fact will often impede scholars who attempt to delve deeper into them. It's a common belief that this is done as a way of saying that not everything in the world needs to be known and that some mysterious are better left to the imagination and wonder. Though it could be as simple as their mischievous attitudes: toying with us because it's amusing.


The Yokai are a clearly magical race, capable of hiding their true forms via shape shifting or glamour, disappearing, and levitating objects at will. Rumors insist that Yokai can be just as powerful as a qilin or unicorn with magic, but any attempts to find proof of this has been met with failure. After all, the Yokai never do what we want them to do unless they want to do so anyway. But common belief dictates that they are indeed just as magical, only not to our faces.


Yokai come in several different distinct forms that have been given names by the Neighponese, and judging by the fact that they've not tried to expunge any writing that calls them by these names the Yokai seem to enjoy them.


The Bakeneko and Nekomata appear as large house cats with very long tails. The Bakeneko is simply a young Nekomata, the older Nekomata can be distinguished from the younger Yokai by the tip of their tail which has partially split in two. While most Yokai tend to not speak in a language that the general populace can understand (simply because they don't want to), the Bakeneko and Nekomata seem to be the most common ones to speak, or at least mimic, Neighponese.


Hebi look like the ghosts of snakes or ones made of mist. Despite their appearance they are completely corporeal...When they want to be that is. As mentioned, little is known about the Yokai, and the Hebi are a prime example of this. For many years Hebi were thought to be a myth even in Poninawa. Some time ago however, during a caribou raid, several dozen Hebi swarmed onto a caribou longboat and stole away with a vast majority of their supplies and equipment while the caribou were unable to even touch the 'ghost' snakes.


Inugami and Ha-inu are both dog-like Yokai but are very distinct in disposition and appearance. Inugami are long bodied, flying, dog-like Yokai, not unlike Serpent Dragons with dog-like features. Their heads are often black and are marked by intricate red designs and bright glowing red eyes. Despite their fearsome appearance they're not malicious by any means, but they are more prone to pushing pranks a bit too far, though they usually appear apologetic if things go poorly. Ha-inu appear as dogs with fluffy white wings and are possibly the most helpful Yokai. While still pranksters and tricksters by nature, there have been several stories of foals riding home on the back of a Ha-inu after having gotten lost in the forests.


Kamaitachi, which are musteline Yokai, are often thought of as the ninjas of the Yokai world. Not only due to their stealthy nature, but also the fact that some literally emulate the arts of ninjas with small knives and scythes and the like, though they never seem to harm anyone. Kamaitachi are often seen in groups of three and are easily one of the strongest argument for Yokai having more magic than we might realize as there have been several reports of Poninawa citizens seeing Kamaitachi casting wind magics.


Kitsune are quite likely the most well known among the Yokai. These multi-tailed fox-like Yokai are often seen sporting five, seven, or nine tails although some may have more or less. While the Kamaitachi are a strong source of evidence that the Yokai secretly have strong magic, the Kitsune would all but confirm it if we could find solid proof. At the very least it's obvious that these keen eyed tricksters are master shapeshifters and cunning masters of sleight of paw. Unique to Kitsune are two interesting things, the first is their Kitsune-bi, or fox-fire, wisps of magic fire akin to will o' the wisps that they can summon at will. While other Yokai have shown this ability, Kitsune are the most common practitioners. The second is a small ball worn around a collar on their neck. Rumour has it that this ball, often adorned with a little star on it, contains the life force of the Kitsune and that if someone holds it they can control them. Whether this is true or not is unknown, but when stolen a Kitsune will often go to any means to get it back.


Mujina, badger like Yokai, are another of the great shapeshifters of the Yokai. Much like the Hebi, little is known about the Mujina as often times you don't know you're faced with one until they decide to drop their illusion years later and run off to likely prank another unsuspecting soul. Some say that Mujina are able to disguise themselves as other Yokai and even cast mild hypnosis.


Ōkami are wolf like Yokai with thick, luxurious fur that is oft times long and billows gently even without a breeze, giving them a beautiful and majestic appearance. Ōkami are possibly the rarest Yokai, perhaps due in part to their pelts being sought out by poachers in years long past. Though if their numbers have dwindled or they have simply become more reclusive is, as with many things about the Yokai, unknown. Ōkami are also said to be the strongest of Yokai and stories often speak of them defending those in need when lost in the woods or mountains. Nowadays it's seen as a blessing to see an Ōkami even for a brief glimpse.


Tanuki are another of the more well known Yokai, chubby raccoon like Yokai often wearing straw hats or leaves on their foreheads and carrying bottles of sake, Tanuki are often called lovably hedonistic. Their love for food, drink, and companionship is well known across Neighpon. While they too are masters of shapeshifting, just like the Kitsune and Mujina, they're exceptionally good at turning themselves into inanimate objects, such as tea-kettles. Another trick they're infamous for is disguising plain, useless leaves as money and giving it to the unaware, only for it to turn back to leaves as they go to use it. Due to their reputation as cheerful and benevolent rogues, many shops in Poninawa and beyond may have statues of these little guys sitting in their storefront. Be careful though, you never know when one may be the real deal in disguise.


Jorōgumo are the Spider Yokai. While thoughts of a spider ranging in size from that of a small dog to a pony would probably scare the colour out of most travelers, the Jorōgumo are not nearly as frightening as actual spiders. Their faces, while still having eight eyes, are slender and almost tiger like in nature, and their orange and black colouration adds to this. While the Yokai as a whole are not remotely a malevolent race, some stories have told of Jorōgumo siding with the wicked for long periods of time, causing their own brand of strife, if only to later betray the evil they were 'sided' with. A long web of deceit, one might say.


All in all, this race of strange and wonderful creatures is a great representation of our world. That no matter how long we live or how much we study, never will we know everything, nor should we. Without that sense of mystery and wonder to drive us to learn more, we would grow complacent and never journey beyond the horizon. And bare in mind, these listed here only represent a few of the kinds of Yokai out there! Don't be surprised if you happen to run into something unexpected...or do, they like it that way after all!

~Compendium of Curious Creatures

Ashley 'Ash' Ravencrest

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...