Jorogumo – The Japanese Shapeshifter

The shapeshifter legends are numerous. These legends can be found all over the world. Even in Japan. Although, we all know that Japan has one too many paranormal and creepy legends. The Jorogumo myth is one of these. The Jorogumo is a very creepy and scary Japanese ghost, but it is more than that.

Jorogumo – The Origins

JorogumoThe Jorogumo appears in actual ancient Japanese writings from the Edo period. Writings such as Taihei-Hyakumonogatari and Tonoigusa describe the Jorogumo as a creature that has the ability to shapeshift into a women. These two writings depict two different stories.

The Tonoigusa describes a women of about 19-20 years old which appears to a bushi (a younf warrior). The women tries to seduce the young warrior, but it sees through her tactics. And he realizes that the beautiful women is actually a Yokai, which is a Japanese ghost or evil creature. The tale describes that the young warrior strikes the yokai with his sword. And the creatures falls into the attic and dies. Being surrounded by the bodies of people it seduced and devoured until that day.

The Taihei-Hyakumonogatari depicts a different situation. It tells the myth about how Magoroku has been deceived by a Jorogumo. Magoroku was a Japanese veteran from Takada. A 50 year old women appeared to him asking him to join her to her estate. And to meet her young daughter. There a young girl was waiting or the veteran. The girl who appeared to be 16-17 year old asked him to marry her. Being already married, Magoroku declined the offer. But the young girl persisted and became more and more aggressive. Claiming that the veteran tried to kill her mother two days prior. Then Magoroku had enough and fled.


When he got out of the house, it disappeared, and he found himself on his own porch (where he was when the older women approached him). The veteran’s wife saw how confused his husband was. And she explained him that he was only sleeping the whole time. Confused, he noticed a small joro spider that worked on a web around the eaves. Relieved that the whole situation was just a dream, he remembered how two days prior, he tried to drive away a spider.

How does a Jorogumo look like?

Being a shapeshifter, it usually shapeshift into a beautiful women. But it actually looks like a women-spider. Therefore, it has the face a women and the legs o spider. Also, this is where it become really scary, it manipulates small fire breathing spiders. Those who suffer from arachnophobia be aware next time you visit Japan!

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