Umibōzu (海坊主 "Sea monk") is a spirit in Japanese folklore. He is said to live in the ocean and capsize the ship of anyone who dares to speak to him.
The name of this spirit, which combines the character of "sea", with the character of "Buddhist monk" is possibly related to the fact that the Umibōzu is said to have a large, round head, similar to the shaved heads of Buddhist monks.
Alternatively, they are huge Yōkai that appear to castaways and fishermen. Believed to be the spirits of drowned priests, they display their shaved heads and usually appear to be praying.
They are said to have a gray color, a torso formed by clouds and serpentine limbs. According to one story, if they enrage them, they ask the crews to provide a barrel which they proceed to fill with seawater to drown them.
To avoid this disastrous fate, it is necessary to give them a bottomless barrel.
This tale is probably related to another Japanese tradition, which says that the souls of people who have no one to care for their graves take refuge in the sea.
Umibōzu In popular culture
Umi bozu is a well-known yōkai, who is also recognized in modern Japanese culture.
- In the PS4 video game Nioh we can find an Umi Bozu as a final boss in one of the levels.
- In Shigeru Mizuki's manga, Gegege no Kitaro features an Umibozu in its cast.
- A folk tale about an Umibozu is told in the second story arc of the Mononoke anime, a sequel to Ayakashi: Samurai Tales of Horror, which combines folk tales, Kabuki plays and animated versions of 19th century woodblock prints to retell classic ghost stories.
- In the Naruto anime, episode #172. Amachi during his fight with Naruto Uzumaki summoned Umibōzu, which devoured Naruto causing him to start choking, but when the ninja released the Nine-Tails chakra, he managed to get out and destroy the beast. Later, the creature appears again and so Naruto summons Gamabunta to fight it again, but as they saw that it was regenerating, they decided to create a great heat to evaporate it being a success since they managed to defeat it once and for all.
- In the One Piece manga and anime, when the crew is sailing off the Florian Triangle at the end of the "Thriller Bark" arc (volume 50, chapter 490), a giant, mysterious shadow with eyes appears in the fog. This is considered by many to be an Umibozu. Another character named "Wadatsumi" resembles an Umibozu. Wadatsumi is nicknamed "Great Monk" and was mistaken for an Umibozu by Usopp.
- a black sea serpent
- Itsuki's pet "Uraotoko" in the Yu Yu Hakusho series bears a striking resemblance to Umi Bozu.
- Hideaki Sorachi's manga and anime adaptation Gin Tama features an Umi Bozu in its cast. Although the only yōkai-like feature is the bald, round head.
- The Umibozu (written as "Umi Bozu") is Monster in My Pocket number #118.
- The Umibozu is also a monster du jour in the Super Sentai Series season titled Ninja Sentai Kakuranger adapted as Hydro Hog in episode 10 of Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers.
- In Pathfinder Bestiary 3, the "Sea Monk" is a creature generated from "the combined despair and horror of dying at sea, such as when a ship sinks and the entire crew drowns. " It has an infamous reputation for capsizing and sinking ships.
- It is the name of a special forces unit in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
- In Love★Com, it is the name of a musician that two of the main characters like.
- The shōjo series Akazukin Chacha features an Umibozu in its third episode.
- In Tsukasa Hōjō's manga and anime, City Hunter, one of the characters is named Umibozu, he was named after the protagonist Ryo Saeba, in the course of the series this makes references to a "sea monster" in direct relation to the character's appearance.
- In the Nintendo Pikmin video game series, there are several enemies that share obvious characteristics with the Umibōzu or make reference to it. Among the similarities we can rescue the fact that although they are not in the ocean, two creatures are made of water. Also in all the games every landing is mysteriously ruined, just as the Umibōzu capsizes the ships. This has led several fans of the franchise to theorize that certain bosses like Pikmin 3's PlasmaSpectrum are actually the same Umibōzu taking various forms.