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Tengu

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Species OutlineEdit

Tengu (天狗) are yōkai who take the form of birds of prey and usually appear as either a large, monstrous bird or a human with a long nose. They were originally considered harbringers of war but eventually were viewed as dangerous yet protective spirits of mountains and forests. Early depictions of tengu show them capable of taking a human-like form, but retaining their avian wings, head or beak.

They are sometimes also considered to be the ghosts of people who had excessive pride in life and, as Buddhists, are unable to go to heaven or hell.

VariationsEdit

  • Daitengu (大天狗) were supposedly once knowledgeable men who became tengu after death and are portrayed with a more human-like appearance. The Great Tengu of Mount Kurama is one of the three greatest and most famous tengu. He is traditionally also known as Sōjōbō (僧正坊) and is a wise demon who teaches Minamoto Yoshitsune martial arts and war tactics.
  • Kotengu (小天狗) are the underlings of Daitengu. They are essentially ignorant men who were unable to become Daitengu.
  • Karasu Tengu are small, crow-headed tengu.

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