Thursday, 13 April 2017

K is for... Kodama

Kodama (木霊) are small forest spirits from the folklore of Japan.
They are thought to inhabit trees and make strange echoing sounds. If you hear the sound of a falling tree at night, this is also thought to be the sound of a Kodama. 

They are said to take on the appearance of atmospheric ghost lights, beasts, and sometimes they can even take on human form.
Some believe that Kodama look just like real trees and are rooted to the ground.

Kodama are beilieved to have magical powers and if someone tries to cut down a tree in which one of these little spirits lives they will be badly cursed.

However, if a Kodama is treated well it will be kind and protect houses and villages.

In some areas of Japan small shrines are created at the bases of trees to honour the Kodama. These shrines are still worshipped at today by some people - showing that a belief in the little tree spirits still exists in some places.

In Hachijo-jima, in a village called Mitsune, they still celebrate the "Kodama-san" with an annual festival where they give thanks and show their respect. During this festival they ask for forgiveness and the Kodamas blessing when they cut down trees.

Kodama also appear in the anime movie Princess Mononoke which was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
In this movie they are shown as cute little bobbled-headed creatures who run around in the forest. (as shown above)
All of Miyazaki's movies are really beautiful with wonderful storylines and characters, with Princess Mononoke being one of his very best! So definitely check it out if you haven't already seen it.


  1. I learned about them from the Miyazaki movie... :) I like folklore that thinks of forests as something that is full of living creatures that are to be respected.

    The Multicolored Diary: WTF - Weird Things in Folktales

  2. I didn't quite know that's what they are called, I did saw Princess Monoke but sadly, I don't recall the kodamas. I could believe such spirits existed in the real world. trees are alive even if we don't see them move but perhaps there is a spirit within them like a kodama, we just don't see it.

    have a lovely day.

    ~ my K post - Korean Dramas ~

  3. They look very cute :-)

    It's intersting how their mythology sounds a lot like mythologies from other cultures.

    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

  4. These guys are cute! I definitely have to see Princess Mononoke! I've heard such great things about its animation. Thanks for reminding me about it! :)

  5. I have never heard of the Kodama. The Japanese festival would be interesting to see.

  6. i've heard of these but didn't know much about them. now i have a bit a more information about them.