Yamata no Orochi

Yamata no Orochi

Yamata-no-Orochi (八岐大蛇 lit. large snake divided into eight) is a monster in Japanese mythology. He is described in the Shinto books Kojiki and Nihonshoki as a deity who lived in the area called Torikami, in the country of Izumo.

Although it is also said to be a Japanese version of the Lerna hydra. It has eight heads and eight tails, which is why it is called "Yamata". "Orochi" means "giant snake", and is usually worshipped as the mountain deity in Shinto.

The myth of Yamata-no-Orochi (summary of the descriptions in Kojiki and Nihonshoki)

Yamata no Orochi

In a region called Torikami, above the Hi-no-kawa river of the ancient land of Izumo, a holy prince came down expelled from heaven: Takama-ga-hara. The son of Izanagi and brother of the Sun goddess Amaterasu, his name was Susanowo-no-mikoto.

Arriving at the river, he saw a small stick floating by, and so he continued his way upstream thinking that there might be people living there. Before long he found an old couple sobbing with a girl beside them. The god asked them who they were and what was wrong with them.

The old man replied, "I am a son of the god of the country Oyamatsumi-no-kami and my name is Ashinazuchi. My wife is Tenazuchi, and our daughter is Kushinada."

He also explained to her that Orochi ruled the province, and demanded virgin sacrifices.

"We had eight daughters, but Yamata-no-Orochi swallowed them one by one every year, and we have only our youngest daughter left. And now the monster is coming to get her. That's why we are crying like this." Susano'o asked him, "What shape is she in?"

The old man answered, "Its eyes are red like alquequenjes, and it has a body with eight heads and eight tails. Its size comes to occupy eight valleys and eight hills. Its belly is always swollen and covered with blood." Although in none of his representations does Yamata appear in full body.

Susano'o, who had fallen in love with the young woman, said to her, "Will you let me marry your daughter if I save her?" The man replied, "I thank you for your interest, but I do not yet know your name." "I am the brother of Amaterasu-Omikami.

And I just came down from Takama-ga-hara," he replied. The couple told him, "Oh, if you deign to do this, our daughter is yours." Susano'o turned the girl into a sacred comb and put it in her hair, and said, "Prepare a well-distilled liquor. Surround your house with fences, and make you eight doors and eight boxes. Leave a cup in each box, pour in the liquor, and wait."

They prepared everything just as Susano'o ordered them, and waited. After a while Yamata-no-Orochi appeared. Immediately Orochi put their heads into the cups and drank. He became drunk and fell asleep there. Then Susano'o drew his three-foot sword (Totsuka-no-tsurugi) and cut the snake into pieces. The river became stained with blood.

When he cut off the middle tail, his sword splintered. Strangely, he slit the tail with the tip of the blade, and inside he discovered another sword, Murakumo-No-Tsurugi, which would later be called Kusanagi (草薙, Grass Cutter) by Yamato Takeru. He then took that sword and presented Amaterasu with it, telling her what had happened.

Yamata in modern times

  • In the online book X Unlimited, Yamata appears in China, where he devours all the young girls in a small village, leaving one alive to be given as a sacrifice. X uses the same strategy that Susano used to save the girl, and then confronts the dragon. By defeating it, X wins the "Eight-Headed Dragon Attack".
  • In the Doraemon episode called The Disappearance of the Time Machine, it talks about how Nobita loses the time machine, causing a Doraemon instrument that makes mythological monsters appear in an ancient Japanese village. Yamata no Orochi appears and causes the Japanese village to be in misery for a year and a half because of his attacks on it.
  • In an OVA of the Ranma 1/2 series, Yamata no Orochi appears as a snake that fell into one of the enchanted wells in China.
  • In the Kannazuki no Miko series, Yamata no Orochi appears as a giant mecha, who, with the help of his followers also called orochi, tries to kill the priestesses of the sun and moon.
  • One of the creatures of the Pokémon saga, Hydreigon, is partially based on Yamata no Orochi.
  • In the Digimon franchise there is a digimon named Orochimon, whose name and design refers to this creature.
  • In Konami's Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, there is a "Spirit" type card named "Yamata Dragon" with an image of a dragon similar to the one described in the legend.
  • In the anime, "Kamisama Hajimemashita" , one of the recurring characters made reference to this yokai. Nanami encountered Mizuki as an albino snake at her school, only to transform into a human for the remainder of the series.
  • The manga and anime adaptation Blue Seed are based on the legend of Yamata no Orochi.
  • In the third Inuyasha movie, the Murakumo no Tsurugi (also called Sounnga) is also named. This is the sword that Susanoo drew from the dragon Yamata No Orochi that has the power to summon 3 dragon heads that create a huge ball of energy in the form of a tornado.
  • In Legend of the Millennium Dragon, Yamata-no-Orochi is one of the main characters.
  • In the video game Okami, he is one of the main enemies faced with Amaterasu and Susano (Susanowo).
  • In the video game Dragon Quest III, the hero must defeat an enemy called orochi, a snake-headed monster, who lives in a cave and demands sacrifices from a Japanese-themed village.
  • In the Final Fantasy I video game, several monsters appear in a sacred wind temple by the name of Yamata no Orochi, with the appearance of the dragon that the legend describes.
  • In the video game Golden Sun II: The Lost Age, the Avimander is a boss based on Yamata-no-Orochi.
  • In the fighting video game The King of Fighters created by the SNK company, three of the games which are from 95' to 97' compose the Orochi saga by having a villain of the same name. Orochi is presented as a deity of great power that finally appears in the game KOF 97'. He manifests as a tall man with silver hair and markings on his chest representing the eight-headed serpent as the original beast. Orochi possesses the bodies of his three servants Yashiro, Shermie and Chris, taking full control of Chris to be reborn, but is eventually defeated by the 3 Sacred Treasures Team composed of Iori Yagami, Kyo Kusanagi and Chizuru Kagura, ending the third and final chapter of The Yamata no Orochi Saga.
  • In the Naruto series the main enemy Orochimaru does not possess the 8-headed demon but has the ability to transform into a snake and summon a giant snake. To extend his life, he uses bodies of beautiful women or young characters. The character is related to Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari. It is also reflected in Sasuke Uchiha's fight against Itachi. Orochimaru, who was kept sealed in Sasuke Uchiha's body and once he is exhausted, comes out of it in the form of a giant eight-headed snake and Itachi, using the Susanoo technique, which is an ethereal warrior using the Totsuka no Tsurugi, defeats him.
  • In the video game Warriors Orochi does not appear as a snake but is the king in the form of humanoid, like a god who fell from the sky and takes the times of the three kingdoms of China and the period of the fourth century creating a new world based on the castle of Koshi.
  • In Golden Sun II: The Lost Age we find a village called Izumo where a dragon-like snake eats the maidens. The next maiden to be sacrificed is named Kushinada. Susa weakens the snake by drinking spells and in doing so leaves a sword next to the snake's tail. This sword is called "Cloud Sword", a name very similar to the original name of the sword found in the tail of the snake in the original legend (Murakumo-No-Tsurugi means "Cluster Cloud Sky Sword").
  • He is a recurring character in the RPG video game saga Shin Megami Tensei.
  • In the Facebook game called Ninja Saga, in the last part of the jounin exam, Yamata no Orochi must be defeated.
  • In the Bakugan series there is a bakugan called Exedra referring to this monster.
  • In the game Blazblue Continuum Shift the character known as Hazama has a Drive ability similar to the monster.
  • In Sekirei the fourth Sekirei of Minato(Tsukiumi) has an ability known as Yamata No Orochi.
  • In the manga and anime Shaman King, Ryu (secondary character), went through the river of yamata-no.orochi, and thus, in the end obtaining an attack known as the yamata snake attack.
  • In the One Piece manga and anime, Boa Sandersonia uses an attack called Yamata no Orochi, in which his hair turns into snake heads. In the same series, the character Kurozumi Orochi is named after the creature, as well as being able to transform into it.
  • In the manga and anime Hoozuki no Reitetsu, he works in the drinker's hell as the drinker's watchman.
  • In the manga and anime Donten ni warau, the main enemy is Orochi.
  • In the manga and anime One Punch-Man, the boss of the monster association is called Orochi.
  • In the game "Otogi Spirit Agents" there was an event in which one of the rewards was a card of Yamata-no-orochi, along with other Japanese heroes such as Susanoo and Ame-no-habakiri.
  • In the video game "For Honor" among the playable characters there is a samurai warrior named Orochi.
  • In the Noragami manga, Orochi is mentioned, among other deities.
  • In the Yaiba manga, this character appears
  • In the third OVA of Darkstalkers this creature appears.
  • Yamata is one of the titans monitored by Monarch in Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters.
  • Yamata-no-Orochi is Kyoichi Kusanagi's charyeok in The God of Highschool.
  • One of the yokais featured in the Yokai Watch saga called Venocto is based on Yamata-No-Orochi.
Back to blog