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Sazae-oni (栄螺鬼 lit. shellfish ogre) are oni from Japanese mythology, resembling large mollusks. They are a type of obake demon, forming when turban snails reach 100 years of age. Historically, they were believed to inhabit the pirate-teeming Kii Province of Wakayama Prefecture, though recent stories of a similar mollusk yokai circulate from Onjuku of Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

Description []

Literally the Sazae Ogre, it’s a demon formed when the Sazae turban snail turns 30 (or some say 100) years old. 


In the Boso Peninsula 's tradition, it is assumed that a mysterious woman comes to rent property. This woman is the Echizen Oni's, who then steals the house from the host, killing them in the process.[1] It was also believed that Sazae-oni was a young woman who was thrown into the sea and turned into a scallop, it then disappeared, only to reappear dancing in the moonlight.[2]


Dewi Sekartaji Keong Emas

Keong Mas, a similar Indonesian snail like creature

Pirates off the coast of Japan often reported seeing the creature. In Kii Province, Wakayama Prefecture, Pirates rescued a drowning woman from the sea and took her back to the ship.[1] They vied for her attention but soon found that she was willing to have sex with all of them, cutting their testicles off afterward. The men, obviously upset, threw her into the ocean, where she revealed her true form. Other legends of these creatures depict them wandering into coastal or seaside inns whilst in human guise, whereupon they devour the innkeeper in the night and then escape before morning.

During the late Muromachi period (16th century), the Hyakki Yagyō Zu (百鬼夜行図) records several cases of this creature.[3]

According to the fishermen of Onjuku, Chiba Prefecture during 1917, the Iwawada coast were infested with a variant of this creature with an Abalone shell, inhabiting rough tide. It "reportedly makes the seas so rough" that prevents the seafarers from going out to fish.[4]

Stages of Transformation[]


1) Sudden increase in size[]

If your snail is turning into a yokai, it will grow larger when you’re not looking. Much larger.


Sazae-oni 栄螺鬼 - Yokai Tales!

2) Unseasonal weather '[]

A sazae-oni loves to fill its gills with water and then spray a fine mist into the air, creating the impression of a foggy day.

3) Amphibian lungs[]

Did I say gills? A sazae-oni is also equipped with amphibian gills, allowing it to thrive underwater or on land. There is nowhere you’ll be safe.

4) Human hands[]

Human hands are probably going to be easier to spot than amphibian lungs. Especially since each palm is lined with giant suckers that allow the snail body to stick to any surface.

5) Constant licking[]

And not the snail demon licking itself. I mean the snail demon licking you. Its tongue is super-long and sticky and it finds entertainment in stroking passing humans on the face. Like it or not. (Probably not...Did I guess right?)

6) Death  []

And again, I don’t mean the snail. If you’re close enough for the snail to lick, chances are you have already been spat on. With giant, sticky globs of paralyzing poison, designed to kill you quick. Sorry, but a snail this big has got to eat.

7) Python-like intestines[]

Now we’re into the ‘Death’ part, I can tell you that the Sazae-oni doesn’t really have teeth. But that doesn’t matter. You’ll most likely be crushed to pieces in coil after coil of its powerful gut. Squished to bits by a boa-constricting bowel.



  1. 1.0 1.1 山室静執筆代表 『妖怪魔神精霊の世界』 自由国民社、1977年、50頁。NCID BN07011168
  2. 多田克己 『幻想世界の住人たち』IV、新紀元社〈Truth in Fantasy〉、1990年、155頁。ISBN 978-4-915146-44-2
  3. 『鳥山石燕 画図百鬼夜行』 稲田篤信・田中直日編、高田衛監修、国書刊行会、1992年、278頁。ISBN 978-4-336-03386-4
  4. 藤沢衛彦 『日本伝説叢書』上総の巻、日本伝説叢書刊行会、1917年、91-96頁。NCID BN08761196