5 Rain Yokai in Japanese Folklore


5. Amefuri Kozo / 雨降小僧
Amefuri Kozo means rainfall boy. Anywhere he goes, there would be rain because the Amefuri kozo is the one that supposedly makes the rain fall. He’s not the kami(or god) that makes rain but it is known that the Yokai works for the rain god.

The Amefuri Kozo’s appearance is of a boy wearing children’s kimono, wooden clogs and always wears a hat which either looks like an umbrella or wide-brimmed straw hat. They are quite shy and rarely show themselves to humans.

There are stories that if you steal the umbrella hat off of him and wear it, you would never be able to take it off. There’s also another story where they just like the rain and they feel pleasure looking at people troubled and are wet.

4. Sunekosuri / 脛擦り
It means lower legs or shin rubber. You would know what I mean if you have a pet. Some cats and dogs would actually do this. They would rub against your legs and make it really hard to walk.

This is what the Sunekosuri does. A mischievous yokai that appears during rainy nights especially in the Okayama perfecture. They would get in the way of people’s path, maybe nuzzle against the knees or weave in and out in between your legs and just makes it very difficult to walk.

Other than the danger of tripping, the Sunekosuri does no harm to humans. The depictions of the Sunekosuri in drawings and other forms of media seem to always depict it as a small, furry animal which can either be cat-like or dog-like.

3. Ame Onna / 雨女
Which means rain woman. Whenever the yokai is there, there would always be rain whether it is in the morning or nights. She usually appears in dark streets and alleys. Her appearance is that of a haggard woman drenched in the rain and has a habit of licking the rain water from her hands and arms.

The Ame Onna is not a benevolent yokai in that they would wander around on rainy nights to find newborn babies to steal. They would snatch the baby away and carry it into the darkness and into their spiritual realm.

Because of grief and despair, the mothers who have their babies kidnapped by the Ame Onna are known to transform into the Ame Onna themselves and then the cycle of kidnapping continues.

In modern use, those who seems to be jinxed with rain wherever or whenever they have an important event are called either Ame Onna or for male the Ame Otoko.

2. Onibi / 鬼火
They are balls of fire that are usually bluish in colour. They could also be, but rarely, red or yellow balls of fire. Their size are said to be as small as the fire on a candle or as big as basketballs and they are said to float in the air for about 1 or 2 metres above the ground.

The Onibi would usually appear around spring to summer but they mostly appear during rainy days. They can appear to be only 1 or 2 of them around or in a group of more than 20. They also like to be near areas such as the wetlands, graveyards and places that are surrounded by nature.

These Onibi are different from a Hitodama in that a Hitodama are human souls that are detached from their bodies just wandering about harmlessly near cemetaries while the Onibi are demon fires that suck life force out of you until nothing but a husk of dead flesh on the ground.

1. Bake Kujira / 化鯨
It is a ghost whale. There is only one story of it and it goes a bit like this:
One rainy night, off the coast of Okino Island in the Shimane prefecture. Fishermen from the village saw a massive and white thing appeared. So they rowed a boat out to sea to see what it was. As they get closer and closer, they deducted that it could be a whale.

To their surprise, near the whale, they saw thousands and thousands of fish. Fish that they have never seen before just swimming about near the surface and even weird birds are flying in the skies. Weirded out but more interested in the whale, one of the fishermen threw his harpoon at the white mass but the harpoon only passed through it as if it wasn’t really there.

Now, because of the rain, it was really hard to see but when the fishermen finally got a good look at the whale, it was actually a skeleton of a great Baleen whale. A moving and alive skeleton with no skin or meat on it at all.

Terrified of all the strangeness, they even saw an island at a distant that shouln’t be there as if they stepped into unknown territories which I think is just another dimension. But who knows.

So while they were astonished and petrified, the whale and everything strange that came with it, quickly went further away from them.
Whatever the thing they saw was, may it be a ghost, an alien spaceship or even some strange god, it was never seen again.

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