the online database of Japanese folklore



Translation: hairy, fluffy sight; alternatively, rare and dubious thing
Habitat: damp homes, dirty gardens, moldy closets, under floorboards
Diet: mold, dirt, and garbage

Appearance: Keukegen are filthy monsters commonly found in populated areas. They are the size of a small dog and appear as a mass of long, dirty hair. Keukegen make their homes in cool, damp, dark places; they are particularly fond of living under floorboards and around run-down homes, where stuffiness, moisture, and lack of human activity create the perfect breeding place for sickness.

Behavior: Despite their apparent cuteness, Keukegen do not make good pets. They are actually a kind of minor spirit of bad luck, disease, and pestilence. They bring sickness and bad health to those whom they live near. Being shy by nature, they try to avoid human contact and are rarely seen. Those who claim to have seen them are often accused of overactive imaginations. However, their proximity is apparent when members of a household mysteriously fall sick or have a run of bad luck. Keukegen are easy to avoid, however. Just clean your house. Keukegen keep away from clean, kempt houses.

Origin: Keukegen’s name is a pun. It is commonly written with characters that mean “a hairy, fluffy sight.” But it can also be written with different characters that mean “rare and dubious.”

Alphabetical list of yōkai