The Kijimuna (キジムナー, Kijimunā) (Okinawan: Kijimunaa), also known as Bungaya or Kijimun, are Japanese folklore creatures native to Okinawa Prefecture. They look like children between three and four years old and have red hair.

Kijimuna's Description

According to Okinawan mythology, Kijimuna are small forest spirits. They live in trees, but mainly in Banyan trees. They are described as being the size of a young child with long red hair covering their large heads.

They are very skilled fishermen, catching fish or crab, but they only eat the fish eyes before leaving the rest. Legend has it that by befriending a Kijimuna, one can become rich or have an endless supply of fish.

It may also follow the human to his fishing boat and help him fish in exchange for a treat. The fish given by the Kijimuna will have no eyes, as the Kijimuna will eat them.

Another local name for the Kijimuna is Bungaya, meaning roughly having a big head. They are very mischievous, liking to play tricks on human beings. One of their tricks is kanashibari, where they sit on a human, preventing them from moving or breathing.

Despite their habit of playing tricks, the Kijimuna often become friends with the humans they meet.

After becoming friends with a human, a Kijimuna may offer to carry him on a mountainous journey or out to sea, but will drop him if he sees him flatulence. The latter does not like octopuses either. He can bring misfortune if he sees man destroying trees.

It is also called spirit, semagu (セーマグ sēmagu), bunangaya (ブナンガヤー bunangayā), bunagai (ブナガイ), michibata (ミチバタ), handanmi (ハンダンミー handanmī), or akaganda (アカガンダー akagandā) and is not feared by humans.

Kijimuna Local peculiarities

Although recognized regionally as part of folklore, the Kijimuna does not seem to have any recognition in the Yaeyama Islands.

Legend has it that the Kijimuna originated in the hamlet of Kijoka (喜如嘉) in the village of Ōgimi where it was called the bunagaya. He is said to have appeared on the eighth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar each year at a local house to strangle pigs in the pigsty before burning the whole thing.

In Nakijin, it is said to be taboo to bury the dead on the island of Yaganna, an action that could attract the wrath of the Kijimuna, known locally as Sema, who would go and choke to death the person who buried a body.

In the village of Haneji, an old woman reportedly saw a child with large testicles sleeping on a tree branch.

The woman then approached the child and attacked its testicles with a stick, causing the child to run away. When she returned home, she was attacked by the same child, who prevented her from sleeping during the night.

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