the online database of Japanese folklore



Translation: unknown; possibly grimace

Appearance: Jūmen is an ugly yōkai which looks like a human male, except for a few key features. His ears are wide, protruding, and somewhat elephantine. He has red rings around his eyes, giving them a bloodshot, glaring look. His mouth is stretched wide, and his lips are fat and fishy. He is mostly bald, but has a bristly goatee, sideburns, and a mustache.

Origin: Jūmen comes from the Bakemono zukushi emaki, a scroll containing twelve yokai which are not found in other locations. Like the other yokai in that scroll, he is presented with a name and illustration only, leaving everything else about him up to the viewer’s imagination. His name is a mystery as well, with no meaning in it as written. However, when written with different kanji, the word jūmen could imply a bitter or sullen grimace. It is possible the artist name this yōkai with a play on words based on his ugly and sullen face.

Alphabetical list of yōkai