Onikuma – Demon Bear

百物語怪談会 Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai

Onikuma Mizuki Shigeru

Translated and Sourced from Mizuki Shigeru’s Mujyara, Kaii Yokai Densho Database, Japanese Wikipedia, and Other Sources

What walks on its hind legs like a human, is covered in fur, and hauls off horses in the middle of the night to eat? If you answered Onikuma, the Demon Bear, then you are definitely up on your Japanese yokai.

What Does Onikuma mean?

The name onikuma is broken down into two kanji 鬼(oni; demon, ogre) + 熊(kuma; bear). It’s an unusual name for a yokai of this type—the vast majority of magical animal yokai use some variation of bake-, like the bakekujira, or bakeneko. I have no idea why this isn’t called a bakeguma, but it just goes to show that folklore doesn’t follow any rules. A monster bear comes tromping through your town, you get to name it whatever you please.

In this case the word “oni” doesn’t mean that this…

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