5 Korean Mythological Creatures


5. Bulgasari
It is an iron eating monster, it can also destroy nightmares and smallpox. As most myths and legends, they tend to be changed and would vary from one place to the other. But what remains of the description of its looks is that it has a bear like body and a nose of an elephant. This some what reminds me of the Japanese Baku because of the nose and nightmare destroying trait. Scary.

This creature is also known as Bu Ke Sa 不可殺 in Chinese Mandarin language which means “can’t be killed”. From that name you know that this monster is invincible. In one of the legend, people tried killing it by all the means necessary and finally tried to burn it alive but to no avail. Lastly, only with a mysterious amulet given to a fortune teller who was also mysterious was the monster able to be killed.

There’s a movie called the Pulgasari which is loosely referenced to the Bulgasari and apparently the movie was made in North Korea after Kim Jong Il, that is Kim Jong Un’s father. So he kidnapped Shin Sang Ok and wife Choi Eun Hee who was a director and actress respectively to make movies for him.

4. Chollima
Also known as Senrima which means a thousand mile horse. This is just like the pegasus where the horse has wings. The chollima is an important symbol in North Korea because of how the creature is portrayed.

It is portrayed as a horse that can fly at very high speeds. It basically could travel the whole length of the Korean peninsula in just one day which is approximately 393 kilometres. According to legends, Chollima was a winged horse that wanted to be tamed but no one could so he just flew up into the sky never to come back.

For wanting to be tamed and not letting anyone tame it is quite counterproductive in my point of view but how should I know how a chollima thinks.

3. Gumiho
If you’ve watched the KDrama called “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” where Gumiho means nine tailed fox, you would know what this creature is. This creature is exactly like its Japanese and Chinese counterparts, that is when a fox lives for over a thousand years, it would turn into a magical being. It can easily shapeshift and would usually shapeshift into a beautiful woman or man to seduce humans. Though in their human form, there is always a tell tale sign that they could be a gumiho like having fox ears or fox-like face or even the nine tails.

There are a lot of variations to what the gumiho does but most of it centres around how the Gumiho wants to become human. Some tales say they need to abstain from eating or killing anything for 100 days, some say 1000 days and others say they have to eat 1000 men’s livers or hearts over a period of 1000 years just to become human.

So I guess, being a vegetarian for 1000 or even 100 days is almost impossible for the Gumiho because the stories of it eating and/or killing humans are more prominent in legends and newer literatures of it .

2. Haechi
Or Haetae. You would probably see this a lot if you’ve been to Seoul, Japan and even more so China. But this is the symbolic icon of seoul. The creature looks like a lion with horns on its forehead. It wears a bell on its neck and the body is covered with scales.

The haechi is known to be a sort of protector from bad omen and natural disasters. So most of the statues you’d find in Seoul would have a deeper meaning to it rather than just a decoration almost like the gargoyle statues found on top of buildings.

But apparently, other than protecting from natural disasters, they are known to eat children as well.

1. Dokkaebi
If you watch the world cup, You would have definitely seen the devil like goblin face on the banners, shirts or even towels of the South Korean national football team supporters. This goblin is what the Koreans call the Dokkaebi.

A dokkaebi is a grotesque- looking goblin. It usually carries 2 special items with it. It has a club, I mean the weapon and it is magical. It also has a magic hat as well. Now the club acts like a magic wand but all it can do is conjure objects out of thin air. Though, apparently it can’t create things, it can only summon existing things. So it would be a bit useless if you want to get rich or summon money without being a thief that is IF you managed to get a hold of the club of course.

Now the hat they have is also magical. It can make one become invisible just like the Cloak of invisibility in Harry Potter. You’re still but just invisible. There are a few different kinds of dokkaebis and people have divided them according to their appearance. Such as the Oedari Dokkaebi which only has one leg and likes to play the Ssireum which is a type of korean traditional wrestling and the Nat Dokkaebi that unlike the other kind of dokkaebi would appear during the day and are known to give the magic hats to humans.

Now the hat they have is also magical. It can make one become invisible just like the Cloak of invisibility in Harry Potter. You’re still but just invisible. There are a few different kinds of dokkaebis and people have divided them according to their appearance.

Such as the Oedari Dokkaebi which only has one leg and likes to play the Ssireum which is a type of korean traditional wrestling and the Nat Dokkaebi that unlike the other kind of dokkaebi would appear during the day and are known to give the magic hats to humans.

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