CHARACTER HOME PAGE

devil, demon; spirits of the dead, ghost; "devil" radical
Kanji 1128

Thank you for visiting this Character Home Page. Below you'll find a synopsis of the essay. If you wish to read the full text, the PDF of the essay is available for purchase to the right.

Synopsis

The oni (鬼), the Japanese devil or demon, is elusive. It’s hard to find images of this supernatural creature at temples or elsewhere in Japan. On the other hand, devils and demons work their way into our lives much more than we might realize. In Japanese, 鬼 references are pervasive. Find out when 鬼 is a term of endearment and when it's an insult. Learn about a folktale (in which Momotaro travels to Devil's Island) and the holiday called Setsubun. Finally, see how 鬼 functions as a radical or component in several Joyo kanji.

Revision history:

January 5, 2018:

p. 1: Updated the Character Profile in various ways, including the definitions of the look-alikes.
p. 10: Updated definitions of kanji containing the radical 鬼.
p. 15: Slightly revised the photo caption (the part about -入り).

June 6, 2014: On page 1, I added hyphens to -展 (-てん: exhibition) to reflect that it's a suffix. On page 4, I changed the definition of 渡る (わたる) to "to pass through."

August 24, 2012: Added photos to pages 16 and 17. One photo caption tells the great children's story of The Red Devil Who Cried.

June 2, 2012: Added a photo to page 15.

May 14, 2012: Changed the breakdown of 桃太郎 to peach + given name for 1st son (last 2 kanji). Also noted that 餓鬼 (ガキ: brat) is a term used only for boys, not girls.

April 30, 2012: Added four photos—two of 鬼瓦 (おにがわら: ridge-end tile with the figure of a devil or gargoyle), two of oni.

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Kanji PDF
Mini Profile
JOYO ON-YOMI
JOYO KUN-YOMI
おに
STROKES10
RADICAL鬼 (194: devil)
JLPTN1
HALPERN1702/2313
HENSHALL1128
SPAHN5f5.6