the online database of Japanese folkore

Kijikui

雉喰い
きじくい

Translation: pheasant eater
Habitat: fields and valleys
Diet: pheasants

Appearance: Kijikui look like big snails with speckled spiral shells. They have long necks which protrude from their shells. They are blue and snake-like, and they have heads filled with sharp teeth.

Behavior: Kijikui live in fields and valleys. They sneak through the tall grass and hunt pheasants. Despite their snail-like appearance, they are actually very quick and nimble yōkai. They are scared of humans. When a human approaches a kijikui, they dash away as fast as the wind and hide.

Origin: Kijikui appear in Kikoku sengai roku, an Edo Period manual written in the style of Chinese monster encyclopedias. It details a variety of yōkai found throughout Japan. The entry describes a kijikui that was spotted in 1726 in Chikugo Province (present-day Fukuoka Prefecture). It contained an illustration and description of the creature, but no other details. The name kijikui was given to this yōkai at a much later date.

Alphabetical list of yōkai