the online database of Japanese folklore

Tengu daoshi


Translation: knocked down by a tengu
Alternate names: furusoma, sora kigaeshi, kara kidaoshi, tsue tsuki
Habitat: forests deep in the mountains

Appearance: Tengu daoshi is an audio phenomenon which occurs deep in the woods. It is characterized by the sound of a large tree falling down, and the crashing vibrations of it hitting the forest floor. Often it is accompanied by a powerful gust of wind.

Interactions: Tengu daoshi is usually only encountered by people who spend much of their time in the mountains, such as woodcutters and Shugendō practitioners. The sound of trees being chopped and crashing to the ground late at night comes from deep within the mountains. It can continue for some time. Occasionally voices can even be heard shouting “Ikuzo!” (the equivalent of shouting “Timber!” as the tree falls). Woodcutters sometimes feel creatures shaking their sleeping huts during the night. However in the morning, there is no sign of fallen trees or any evidence whatsoever of what could have made the noise.

Origin: Tengu daoshi occurs all over Japan. It is known by many regional names and attributed to many supernatural forces. As the name suggests, it is often believed to be the work of tengu who make their homes deep in mountain valleys. In addition to tengu, animal yōkai are often blamed for this phenomenon. Tanuki are said to kick rocks at humans with their hind legs or slap trees with their tails, causing these mysterious sounds. Kitsune and mujina are sometimes blamed as well. It is also sometimes said to be the sounds of mountain kami.

Other common names for this phenomenon include furusoma (“old woodcutter”), sora kigaeshi and kara kidaoshi (which refer to trees being knocked down from the sky), and tsue tsuki (“cane strike,” as it sounds like trees being struck by walking sticks). In most of Shikoku, tengu daoshi is known as furusoma, meaning “old woodcutter.” Legend has it that the phenomenon is the work of the ghost of an old woodcutter. He was illegally cutting down trees when he was crushed to death under a falling tree. His ghost now haunts the mountains, causing phantom woodcutting sounds.

Alphabetical list of yōkai