Said to eat fire, they are places at the entrances to buildings and palaces to prevent them from burning down. It is romanised many different ways, with the Chinese version xiezhi (sure to give any Scrabble player a heart attack), and the more Korean haetae, or Haitai. Other times, multiple urban legends are combined to create a new mythology. The Korean Mythological Bestiary The bulgasari is an unusual hybrid creature. Don’t worry. People are wont to carelessly refer to Korean dokkaebi or Japanese dokkaebi, but they are clearly mistaken. Lovecraft Country finally revealed the military service of protagonist Atticus Freeman during the Korean War, which included a horrific encounter with one of the biggest monsters in Korean folklore: the kumiho. It’s a major part of Chinese mythology, often even replacing the rooster in the Chinese zodiac. Myths and legends help explore those anxieties. The Chollima has lent its name to a Pyeongannam-do (South Pyeongan Province) county, as well as the national soccer team, a movie studio, and even North Korea’s 1956 answer to China’s Great Leap Forward, intended to promote rapid economic development (wanna guess how that worked out for them?). Curupira (Brazilian Mythology) orig06.deviantart.net. You might recognise that last one as the confectionery and beverage company of the same name. But they tell us about more than mortal fear alone. Some legends say she had to starve for 1,000 or 100 days, some say that she had to eat human liver or heart 100 times. They reproduce sexually with the arrival of the rains, which symbolizes abundance and fertility. To understand more about the character and scope of Korean mythology and folklore, it is necessary to have at least a brief background in the history and geography of the country. Follow our curriculum and chat with Lanny in Korean! The gamtu (감투), or hat, grants them invisibility. Geography The Korean peninsula juts out from the mainland in Northeast Asia between China and Japan. Korean legends characterise a variety of mythical creatures, ghosts, monsters, and dragons. The face is modelled after Chiwoo Cheonwang, an influential figure in Korean and Chinese mythology who stood as a figure for victory and guardianship. You can see gwishin all over Korean horror movies, and the Japanese version of the image went global thanks to the 1998 film The Ring. The haechi should be recogniseable to anyone who’s been to Seoul, as it’s been the city’s symbol since 2009. It is said to come to this world when there’s peace on earth. It is bigger than a turtle, but has a … Curupira is a gnome like creature belonging to … Characteristics of a Goblin/Dokkaebi. In recent times, illustration has become the core component to create the identity of any product…, This is what 500 years of graphic design in print looks like, Why Typography Matters — Especially At The Oscars. Having found no one able to tame him, he flew up into the sky. Michelle Bachmann’s worst nightmare? The Red Devils mascot is based on a type of dokkaebi (photo: Yonhap News). Thank you for a very interesting and informative article. They love cucumbers. The Chollima is one of the more straightforward creations of Korean legend, as it can be very easily likened to the Greek Pegasus. Technically gwishin belong to a different category from the other entries here, which are all considered monsters while gwishin is essentially the ghost of someone who died. The Inmyeonjo took part in the opening ceremony of 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics as an important part of Korean folklore and the symbol of peace. The dokkaebi is a good place to start, as it was the focus of the museum I found up on Namsan. Your email address will not be published. Let the students share their myths with the rest of the class. Most dragons were originally imugi, a type of lesser or juvenile dragon resembling a giant serpent. It is portrayed as a horse that can fly at very high speeds. Dokkaebi, in other words, are exclusively Korean monsters. Western cultures have many myths and legends that we are familiar with. Korean mythology is intricate, complex, and the ideals behind some of their mythological beliefs were often intertwined with real-life events. The azure dragon is the guardian of the East. Of course not in real life, but their legends live on in various forms. 구미호 Gumiho (Nine-tailed fox) The Gumiho, known as a Nine-tailed fox is also one of the popular … Although Korea’s dragons are comparable to Chinese dragons, there are a few factors that make Korean dragons unique. Often symbolising justice, it was a common decoration of old Chinese and Joseon architecture. © blog (dot) korea (dot) net. They are generally considered harmless, and have a penchant for challenging others to ssireum (a Korean style of wrestling). Bonghwang. There are different legends about it but most say that Gumiho usually took a form of a beautiful woman and really wanted to become human. Monsters. by Charles La Shure. If you ever find yourself in a match with a dokkaebi, remember never to push them from the left side, only from the right. For in a culture's tales of death we can see what it is they value in life. It’s a major part of Chinese mythology, often even replacing the rooster in the Chinese zodiac. During the construction of Gyeongbok Palace, geomancers predicted that the “yang” energy from Gwanak Mountain across the river would bring disaster to the nation, so the haechi statues were built to cancel out this bad mojo. I’d love to see more movies do to Korea’s mythical creatures what films like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ginger Snaps, and Twilight (okay, maybe let’s forget that one) have done for vampires and werewolves. The Kappa lives in the rivers and waterways of Japan. However, their image is striking and easily identifiable, and I’ve been taken aback by the strength of the belief so many Koreans have in ghosts, which are imagined to be found almost everywhere. They most often choose to transform into the form of a beautiful girl, and are rumoured to seduce men for the ultimate goal of eating their livers, or in some stories hearts. Dokkaebi (도깨비) are mischievous creatures that play jokes … Due to conflicting definitions, the ri is either 393 meters or 2927 meters, the latter which was adopted by Korea during the Japanese imperial era, so I’m going to guess they’re referring to the first one. Many believe the legend of this lone wolf actually comes from real-time ecological periods when the untraveled deep woods were indeed populated by larger varieties of wolves (like the better known dire wolves). Gumiho was also portrayed in a Korean drama called My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (내 여자친구는 구미호), a romantic comedy about a childish student and a Gumiho that wanted to become human. A gumiho is said to be a fox that has lived 1000 years, after which it gains the power of shapeshifting. Another extremely popular Korean legend that is being used in recent dramas is that of the Jeosung Saja; also known as Netherworld Emissaries. Their club, called a bangmangi (방망이), allows them to summon any item they want. According to the original legend, Chollima was a winged horse who wanted to be tamed. Pages in category "Korean legendary creatures" The following 21 pages are in this category, out of 21 total. The name elicits great speed, and has been used as a slogan or cheer directed at soccer players or workers. Like Chinese mythology, Korea has its own polar guardians, but if you’ve seen D-Wars, you’ve probably had enough of dragons. The mogwai are demons who seek to harm a human. Cheonma as depicted on logos for: Seongnam FC, Chungnam Women’s FC, Cheonma Cement I think perhaps the image of Chollima as essentially Pegasus is a modern conceit, as older descriptions have wings on Chollima’s ankles. Scylla was a monster in Greek mythology that lived between two rocks near Italy and Sicily. Dokkaebi (도깨비) are mischievous creatures that play jokes on bad people and grants good people’s wishes during the night. Korean legends are full of mythical creatures and today I will tell you about some of them. King Arthur and Excalibur, the Loch Ness Monster; the Boogeyman; Bigfoot, Leprechauns, and many others. Probably the most confusing of all these creatures, the three-legged crow known as samjoko seems the most like it just shouldn’t exist. After they finish their final draft, they can make picture books. Korean legends are full of mythical creatures and today I will tell you about some of them. Korea’s mythology is filled with incredible supernatural creatures, and I’d love to see more of them brought forward into the modern world, much the way the gumiho has been, or other famous movie monsters in the western world such as vampires and werewolves. A fantastical giant wolf from the barren lands of the Arctic, the Amarok is said to hunt alone in contrast to the pack tendencies of its much smaller brethren. In Lovecraft Country ’s portrayal of Ji-Ah/the kimiho, we only get a small glimpse of what’s a centuries-old Chinese myth, which later became a part of Korean mythology. Dokkaebi are endowed with a few magical items. Also like western ghosts, most gwishin are depicted as floating, legless, and translucent. These Japanese monsters are seen as mischievous tricksters, though this can range to the downright diabolical such as kidnapping or raping women. At the Boseong Green Tea Plantation, a dragon is depicted holding the Yeouiju in its jaws (photo courtesy of Boseong County). It had six heads with three rows of sharp teeth. Please let me know. The gumiho has been depicted in Korean media numerous times; as well as the SBS drama they’ve been the center of the 1994 film The Fox with Nine Tails, the 2006 musical comedy The Fox Family, and the 2007 animated film Yobi, the Five-Tailed Fox. The Inmyeonjo (인면조) is the bird with the human face. Ihamrga is the representation of fabulous creatures in Hindu mythology. Many of them have jumped straight from the pages of myth and into popular culture. Despite the existence of tales (and SBS dramas) depicting the gumiho as good, or even as naive beings being exploited by evil humans, they have gained a reputation for being evil, sometimes feral beasts, depicted seducing men or robbing graves to eat the hearts of the recently deceased. A while ago, I was riding around Sowol-gil on the slope of Namsan when I stumbled across what appeared to be a museum on mythical Korean monsters. Gwishin are usually women or girls with long black hair, and most commonly they are depicted wearing white funerary clothes. Thus, the Chollima could travel 393 kilometers in a single day, which is approximately the north-south length of the entire Korean peninsula. Required fields are marked *. There are multiple versions of dokkaebi, which come in … Follow our curriculum and chat with Lanny in Korean! I guess owing to their love of games, the dokkaebi were a natural choice when it came to pick a mascot for the Red Devils, the official support group for the Korean national football team. The myth must explain how that feature was formed. Korean creatures that transform from old inanimate … Like Chinese mythology, Korea has its own polar guardians, but if you’ve seen D-Wars, you’ve probably had enough of dragons. Don’t live there? Of course, she was still encouraged to drink blood, and told that her boyfriend must die after 100 days. In this list of supernatural creatures, I’m comfortable rating the gumiho (or nine-tailed fox) the third most popular, mainly due to their appearance in the 2010 TV drama “My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox.” Sounds like a particularly uncomfortable episode of Maury Povich. The religion went into decline around a thousand years ago when Christianity swept through the north of Europe. The image of the dokkaebi ranges between a demonic figure and a conventional troll, right down to the club. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Korean mythology. The bonghwang is a mythical bird of East Asia that is said to have dominion over all other birds. A kumiho (gumiho) (Korean pronunciation: ; Korean: 구미호; Hanja: 九尾狐, literally "nine-tailed fox") is a creature that appears in the tales and legends of Korea. Starring Seung-gi Lee (이승기) and Min-ah Shin (신민아). Greek mythology is known for its variety of mixed-up monsters — e.g. In artwork depicting dragons, it’s common to show the dragon clutching an orb known as Yeouiju, which was said to grant its bearer omnipotence. Deriving from ancient Chinese myths and folklores, a fox that lives a thousand years turns into a kumiho, like its Japanese and Chinese counterparts. The three-legged crow Eggbun promises to be your Korean tutor and conversation partner. The main character was actually a Dokkaebie that was looking for the human wife to end his immortal life. Here is the best alternative. So I am very excited before Halloween to introduce you to some of the legendary creatures of Korea. From mythical foxes and shape-shifting raccoon dogs to vengeful spirits and human-eating spiders, Japanese folklore is full of fascinating creatures born from people’s observations of the inexplicable. Dokkaebi are legendary creatures from Korean mythology and folklore. Many are derived from Chinese legends, but with their own unique Korean spin. But during the Goguryeo Dynasty, the samjoko was considered a symbol of power, superior to both the dragon and the bonghwang. The bonghwang is a mythical bird of East Asia that is said to have dominion over all other birds. Like pretty well every country, Korean legends make mention of dragons. For that matter, they are known to eat children as well, which anyone who’s ever flown in economy class with a crying baby the whole flight will probably see the logic to. Dokkaebi exist in Korea, not in Japan. Korean dragons are associated with water and agriculture, a benevolent force often said to summon rain and clouds. Although, it should be pointed out, in My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox this is revealed to be a rumour that ruined the main character’s reputation and kept her from landing a husband. Also known as Senrima which means “a thousand mile horse”. An impressive 46-meter-tall statue of Chollima was built in downtown Pyongyang, depicting the winged horse carrying on his back a worker holding a Korean Workers Party address and a woman carrying rice. Korean mythology consists of national legends and folk-tales which come from all over the Korean Peninsula. However, it cannot create the item out of thin air, thus obeying the Laws of Thermodynamics like a good little magic item; instead, the item is stolen from others. Some also draw parallels of this beast with the Waheela gian… 7) Tsuchigumo. A haechi statue sits in front of Gyeongbok Palace, protecting the nation from Yang energy (and small children). Kala is a ferocious monster symbolic of time in its all-devouring aspect and associated with the destructive side of the god Shiva. These two history books are based on much older records that are currently lost. These days, the romanisation “Cheonma” is highly favoured, which can be found on anything from cement to soccer teams. Supernatural Creatures of Korean Mythology, by JonDunbar. The chollima is an important symbol in North Korea because of how the creature is portrayed. The name means “1000-ri horse,” with “ri” representing a traditional unit of measuring distance. The dokkaebi is a mischievous creature, fond of practical jokes and games, but also known for rewarding good people. In old Tokyo, there was a tradition where people wrote their family members’ names onto cucumbers and sent them downstream to appease the Kappa. The most common type of gwishin is the cheo-nyeo gwishin, the departed soul of a maiden, but there is also mool gwishin, which I think is the ghost a of drowning victim, mongdal gwishin, the ghost of an unmarried man, and dalgyal gwishin, which is said to have a featureless egg for a head for some odd reason, and perhaps is just more like a basic ghost image like what you’d see in Pac-Man. The term “ Mo ” is derived from the Sanskrit Mara and means “evil” (the word “Māra” comes from … The bonghwang is composed of the beak of a rooster, the face of a swallow, the forehead of a fowl, the neck of a snake, the breast of a goose, the back of a tortoise, the hindquarters of a stag, and the tail of a fish. Some dragons were even said to be sentient, capable of understanding complex emotions. the manticore, which has a lion's body, bat wings, and a human head — but they have nothing on Japan. However, Chollima is a far more influential figure in North Korea, where state propaganda brought him back to Earth and depicted him being tamed by the proletariat. This is just like the Pegasus where the horse has wings. Norse mythology – including the stories of Odin, Thor and Loki – was the basis of the religion of the Viking warriors that plundered Europe from the 8 th to the 11 th centuries. Dokkaebi - Korea. The creature was described by Homer as a monster with twelve feet and six long necks. They may move objects around, and their presence is accompanied by an eerie feeling, a light breeze, or a cold sensation, very much like western ghosts. According to some stories, they are easily beaten by hooking their leg, as they only have one of those. Unlike European dragons which generally breathed fire and lived in caves, Korean dragons lived in bodies of water and helped humanity. The more I looked into it, the more I discovered that many of Korea’s legendary beings are still with us. This book will examine how both myth and fact contributed to the culture and traditions of the Koreans, and how these influences and some stories continue to live on throughout the centuries. Goblin (dokkaebi) Goblin, also known as dokkaebi in Korean, is a creature familiar to people who’ve … Have I missed any other supernatural Korean creatures? They are said to have been transformed from inanimate objects, rather than the spirit of someone who has died. Actresses depicting gumiho, from left clockwise: Noh Hyeon-hui, Park Min-young, Jeon Hye-bin. So, not much different from any other club at the hands of a robber, from what I can tell. For instance, the ancient Greeks had their minotaurs and cyclopes, the middle ages had elves and dwarves, every culture had dragons, and even the relatively young culture of North America has Bigfoot and Chupacabra. An important distinction to make between dokkaebi and Chinese and Japanese monsters is that dokkaebi wish to live among people. It made me curious about what other kinds of mythical creatures lie buried in Korea’s past. Mogwai/Mogui. Published by: JonDunbar On December 16th 2011. The oldest records of them can be found in Samguk Yusa (written in the 13th century by Buddhist monk Iryeon) and Samguk Sagi (written in the 12th century by government official Kim Busik). While some myths suggest Crataeis was Scylla’s mother, Hecate was also linked to be the mother in some other myths. Dokkaebi, also known as Korean goblins, possess extraordinary powers and abilities that are used to interact with humans, at times playing tricks on them and at times helping them. 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