TRANSLATION: ox demon
ALTERNATE NAMES: gyūki
HABITAT: usually along the coast or near bodies of water; found in West Japan
DIET: varies from type to type, but always carnivorous
APPEARANCE: A terror from Western Japan, ushi-oni is a class of monster that lives near water. The name literally means “ox demon,” and it can actually refer to a number of different monsters with bovine traits. Most ushi-oni they resemble an ox from the head up, and a demonic horror below the head. Many forms are known to exist; the body of an ox with a head like an oni’s; the head of an ox on a body like a spider’s or a cat’s; or even an ox’s head on the body of a kimono-clad human (a Japanese version of the minotaur).
BEHAVIOR: Despite their unique and varying morphology, all ushioni share a number of characteristics, pointing to a common origin. They are exceedingly cruel and savage beasts, they breath toxic poison, and they like to eat humans. Some ushi-oni are lurkers, attacking people who draw too close to their lairs; others are hunters, roaming the coasts seeking prey; the cruelest ones ravage the same towns over and over, inflicting terrible curses or bringing diseases with them. Most ushi-oni live along the rocky coasts and beaches of Western Japan, although a few roam the mountains of Shikoku.
Ushi-oni frequently work together cooperation with other yokai. The spider-like version from the coasts of northern Kyushu and western Honshu frequently partners with nure-onna and iso-onna, who use their charms to lure unsuspecting men towards the water’s edge. When they approach, the ushi-oni pounces upon them and bites the victims to death, and the meal is shared between the yokai.