A Gaki

Gaki were a "hungry spirit", ghosts that ate blood, eyes, desire, ... [1]

Origin Edit

Gaki were a form of undead that were created when a person, having lived a life of selfishness or dishonor died, and were cursed to an existance in Gaki-do, the realm of the hungry dead. Also called hungry ghosts, they were spirits in agony from a constant need which they sought to satisfy--though they never could. The hunger drove them mad. [2]

Attacking the Kumo Edit

The gaki feasted on the power of Jigoku and on that of mortals, and had no desire to share their prey with another race. When the kumo race, denizens of Chikushudo, willingly allowed to become susceptible to the taint in exchange for passage into the realm of mortals, the Gaki attacked them where they were moving between realms. [3]

Appearance Edit

Their forms were ephemeral and ghost like. Moonlight made them glow softly. [4] There were many specific kinds of gaki which had been categorized, though quite often unique gaki were encountered. Exposed to the taint of Jigoku due to the proximity of the two realms, many gaki suffered horrible mutations often resulting in strange insectoid characteristics. [2] The Gaki had no true forms in their own realm, so they borrowed their forms from the closest Spirit Realm, Chikushudo, taking these insectoid aspect. [5]

Abilities Edit

The gaki were vampires who prey on the sleeping bodies of the living. They could easily move through solid objects, and only were affected by jade and crystal weapons, or Spirit Ward Magic. [4] Dogs, horses, cats, Nezumi, and Sodan-senzo could aIways see the gaki. [6]

Known types of gaki Edit

Toritaka Iemasa catalogued thirty-six varieties of gaki. [5]

Aoandon Edit

The “Blue Lantern Ghost” was a Shozai-gaki revealed to Rokugani in the 5th century, feeding from a distance upon fear and stories of spirits. It was summoned in Ningen-do when one hundred blue lanterns were lit on a moonless night, and one lantern was doused after each ghost story was completed. The ritual of the lanterns bound them to the mortal plane until sunrise. [7]

Skull Tide Gaki Edit

Skull Tide Gaki

Skull Tide Gaki

Drawn of the souls of drowned sailors, the Skull Tide Gaki manifested itself as a mass of chattering skulls, attacking ships by biting at the hull and tossing the ship about through sheer weight of numbers. Those sailors who fell overboard were ripped and torn in the jaws of the many skulls of the gaki, their tormented souls joining that hungry undead host. [2]

Shikko-gaki Edit

The spirits of those punished for the defilement of graves were cursed with a terrible hunger for dead flesh, becoming hulking primative creatures that skulked in graveyards, devouring corpses. Shikko-gaki resembled hunched, ape-like creatures with gray skin, long claws, bulging segmented eyes, and no legs. Though Shikko-gaki were extremely intelligent, they had no desire for conversation. [8]

Kwaku-shin-gaki Edit

Those who were guilty of allowing the destitute to freeze in winter storms, unwilling to be charitable out of greed or cruelty sometimes were punished to wander the world as these gaki, their lower bodies contained in flaming cauldron-shaped braziers--their upper bodies scorched continually by the blazing fires, but driven nonetheless to gather fuel for their continued torment. [2] Kwaku-shin gaki never spoke or otherwise communicated, and pursued their prey by hopping, [9] slamming into their prey and knocking them to the ground, pinning them and either consuming them with their cauldron mouth or belching out boiling liquid to destroy an enemy. [10]

Gakimushi Edit



Those who lived lives of mindless slaughter were condemned to short unlives as horrible rampaging insect monsters similar to mutated ant-lions, pincering and ripping apart everyone in their path until their tortured existance can be brought to an end by a large and skilled enough group of bushi. [2] They fed on pain, so they captured mortals and tortured them, feeding on their delicious agony. [9]

Night Moths Edit

Moths with dark and black coloration were the souls of wives who died poorly, and those who forsook maintaining their household in order to pursue their own agenda. These insects were the bane of silk, as the gaki was forced to eat this fabric and exposed herself to other households and relive their failures. [11]

Jiki-Kwa Edit

These gaki with the form of small flying insects [7] were forced to burn themselves and consume the fires of lamps and torches, destroys the form it had taken in Ningen-do and was forced back into Gaki-do for a period of time. This was usually the fate of those who caused fires in their life. [11]

Jikiketsu Edit



Those gaki where blood-drinkers, and they were the most dangerous. [5]

Jiki-Min Edit

Souls of those who have stolen from temples became pitiful insects that consumed nothing but the false hair on temple and shrine idols. Many times, they were swatted and destroyed by temple caretakers, and forced back into the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. [11]

Fujo-ko-Byaku Edit

An Usai-gaki [7] also known as flesh eaters, these insects were usually maggots or beetles and feed upon the skin of both the living and dead. Those who donated dirty and unwholesome food to shrines and temples suffered the fate of becoming a Fujo-ko-Byaku. [11]

Ju-Chu Edit

Ju-chu-gaki were almost always Muzai-Gaki, and could only appear in the mortal world inside trees. The growing of grass and grain around them caused them pain, and that was their punishment for cutting down the trees and flowers on holy ground. [11]

Doku Edit

Spirits of those who sold and used poison, they became doku-gaki, the poison eaters. These gaki often became leeches and slugs in Rokugan, and were used by clever shugenja for both the benefit of the gaki and a poison victim. [11]

Yoku-Shi Edit

Gaki of Desire

A Gaki of Desire

The ghosts of those who felt victim to the sin of desire became yoku-shi-gaki. These ghosts rarely appeared as insects, instead choosing to show themselves as comely women and men, leading others down their dark path and feeding off of their desire. [12]

Ubume Edit

Also known as "mourning ghosts," ubume were the spirits of those who had forsaken their loved ones and those who depended on them in life. They could feed off of only sorrow, and often appeared as despairing humans wandering the Empire and moaning in a low howl. [12]

Shokujinki Edit

The "Human-Eating Ghost," or "Eater of the Dead,", they were selfish men who after their death they were cursed to devour those who die as they had devoured in their life the livelihood of the living. [13]

Classification by Style Edit

Muzaigaki Edit

The "seekers"'were bitter and ashamaed gaki, cursed to always hunger and never feed, wandering in constant agony without the possibility to sate themselves. They sometimes became frustrated or violent, but never directly harm humans, just if angrey they caused objects to spontaneously break or hurl themselves through the air. Their only cure was time; when they have suffered long enough, they would join the shiryo. [14] They were the most common of all gaki. [15]

Usaigaki Edit

The "scavengers" were allowed to feed upon the waste and refuse of mortals, or even the upon the offerings left at shrines. They often travel in large packs, never harm humans, and sometimes could be quite helpful, exchanging information for food. When these gaki consume enough food, their punishment was lifted. [14] They were once the souls of mortals who succumbed too often to minor vices. [16]

Shozaigaki Edit

The "feeders"' were the most dangerous, cursed to feed only upon impure or living substance, seeking out blood, sweat, lille, tree pulp, or other such substances. For them mortal were anything but a source of food. Some shozaigaki invisibly entered a human body to feed, causing fevers and chills by their presence. All shozaigaki claimed a certain area as their territory, until their hunger was appeased. [14] Bayushi Shoju and Matsu Hiroru became Shozai-gaki, but they recalled everything about their previous lives. [17]

See also Edit

External Links Edit

Essence of Gaki-do

Gaki consuming a spirit


  1. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 10
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Creatures of Rokugan, pp. 23-25
  3. Secrets of the Crane, p. 87
  4. 4.0 4.1 Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 192
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Winter Court: Kyuden Kakita, p. 70
  6. Winter Court: Kyuden Kakita, p. 71
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Secrets of the Empire, p. 193
  8. Creatures of Rokugan, p. 23
  9. 9.0 9.1 Enemies of the Empire, p. 274
  10. Creatures of Rokugan: Third Edition, p. 105
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Fortunes & Winds, p. 41
  12. 12.0 12.1 Fortunes & Winds, p. 42
  13. Book of Void, p. 134
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Winter Court: Kyuden Kakita, p. 71
  15. Fortunes & Winds, p. 40
  16. Creatures of Rokugan: Third Edition, p. 107
  17. Creatures of Rokugan: Third Edition, p. 106

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