A kodama (木魂?) is a Spirit from Japanese folklore, which is believed to live in certain trees (similar to the Dryad of Greek mythology). According to the 13th century Ryōbu Shinto manual Reikiki, kodama can be found in groups in the inner reaches of mountains. They are rarely seen, but can be heard as an echo that takes longer to return. When they are seen, they usually take the form of a faint orb of light, though they sometimes appear as as a tiny humanoid creature. They occasionally speak, and can especially be heard when a person dies. Some old trees will bleed when cut, which is thought to mean it contains a kodama. In modern times, cutting down a tree which houses a kodama is thought to kill the kodama and bring misfortune, and such trees are often marked with shimenawa rope.
- Kodama is the name of an independent professional wrestler who works for Chikara.
- Kodama appear in the 1997 animated film Princess Mononoke, in which they are portrayed as small, white humanoids with large, rattling heads and mask-like features, similar to bobbleheads. In one scene, San (Princess Mononoke) chops down a sapling. They appear to crowd around it. Near the end, when the trees begin to die, kodama can be seen falling from the air and dissolving on the ground.
- Kodama are presented as demons in the Shin Megami Tensei series, and sometimes 'evolve' into Sudama.
- The races found in the forest regions in the The Legend of Zelda games, such as the Kokiri from Ocarina of Time, the Koroks from The Wind Waker and the monkeys from Twilight Princess have been widely regarded as interpretations of the Kodama throughout the series' run.
- 'Kodama' also appears in the video game Okami as a cherry tree spirit which calls upon their god Amaterasu to save the world which was corrupted by the awakening of an evil spirit of Orochi. Kodama becomes a tree again by the end of the scene and bears a 'fruit', which holds the villagers of the regions taken over by Orochi.