The Gashadokuro means Starving Skeleton and is found in Japanese Folklore. It is a huge skeleton from the spirit of those who did not get a proper burial and are haunting the areas around their unholy graves. If you are unfortunate enough to meet one, beware, they are after your blood and life.

The Gashadokuro  (“がしゃどくろ”) is a type of skeleton spirit from Japanese folklore. The Gashadokuro is a type of yokai, a spirit or monster. This type of skeleton is created from the souls of those who died in great numbers, usually during a famine or plague.

Gashadokuro is a huge skeleton that emerges from the ground and reaches for the sky and literally means Starving Skeleton. The Gashadokuro are often portrayed as being about 15 meters tall and wearing tattered clothes. They wander the earth at night looking for living people to kill and drag back to the land of the dead with them.

The Gashadokuro are spirits that haunt battlefields or near mass graves. There are legends about these spirits, and they are said to be created from the ghosts of the people who died in battle and were not cremated or buried.

The Gashadokuro is a spirit that haunts the living because of their rage about how they died and is compiled of the many vengeful spirits into one monster skeleton.  

The Gashadokuro can only be seen at night time and one of the ways to survive an attack is to hide until daylight. You can hear them by the ringing sound caused by the rattling of their bones and teeth. They dwell in the darkness and feast on the blood of those who stray from their company.

The Story of the First Gashadokuro

Stories of the Gashadokuro can be traced back all the way to the 10th century. The story of the first Gashadokuro was made by a powerful sorceress to avenge her father after a bloody uprising he died in.  

During this time in the Heian period in Japan, there lived a samurai warrior named Taira No Masakado (平将門) from Kanto. He led the uprising known as Tengyō no Ran against the leader in Kyoto, Ōya no Mitsukuni.  

The government in Kyoto responded to his uprising by putting a bounty on his head. In 939 he was defeated and decapitated by his cousin and took his head to the capital for the reward.  

But he had his daughter to carry on his rebellion after his death. His daughter Takiyasha continued to live in the ruined manor known as shōen in the countryside and plotted her revenge on Ōya no Mitsukuni and Kyoto.

Princess Takiyasha was famous for being a powerful witch. She conjured up the first Gashadokuro with the bones of those dead in the battle where Masakado died. To take revenge, Takiyasha Hime unleashed the Gashadokuro on Kyoto. It ravaged the city until Masakado’s head was moved to Shibasaki, a fishing village that eventually became Tokyo. According to some legends, the giant skeleton is still haunting the region. 

The head became a sort of demigod there, with a grave still standing today near the Tokyo Imperial Palace.


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MythBank (September 26, 2022) Gashadokuro: The Starving Skeleton Japanese Yokai. Retrieved from

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