Jubokko: The Twisted Tree of Death In Yokai Lore

Jubokko is a mythical tree in Japanese folklore that is said to grow on the site of old battlefields, feeding on the blood of fallen warriors. The name Jubokko means “strangling tree” in Japanese, and it is said that the tree’s branches and roots can come to life, ensnaring and strangling any passerby who dares to approach.

The Jubokko, which is a yokai tree, is featured in various Japanese yokai-related literature such as the writings of Shigeru Mizuki.

Bleached Bones at the Base: A History of the Jubokko Tree 

In places where battles and massacres have occurred and the soil is soaked with the blood of warriors, a unique type of tree can be found called the jubokko. From a distance, the jubokko looks like any other tree and it takes a keen eye to spot its more menacing branches or the human bones buried below it. Despite its ordinary appearance, the jubokko is not a normal tree. It was once like any other tree but due to the large amounts of human blood absorbed through its roots, it has transformed into a yokai and now craves only human blood.

The Deathly Grasp: The Jubokko Tree’s Sinister Strategy

The Jubokko tree lies in wait for unsuspecting humans to pass by underneath its branches. Once someone is in proximity, the tree attacks by seizing its prey with its long, jagged, finger-like branches and lifting it into its boughs. These branches penetrate the victim’s skin, and then the Jubokko extracts all their blood using special tube-like twigs. When the Jubokko has taken everything it can from the body, birds, insects, and other animals consume the remains, leaving only dry bones to fall back to the ground. The heaps of bleached bones at the tree’s base are often noticed too late by people who have unwittingly come too close to the Jubokko.

Note: You must read this post to know about the most terrifying Human Eater Plants beforehand.

Uncovering the Jubokko’s Powers

In Japanese folklore, the Jubokko is a type of vampiric yokai that takes the form of a twisted tree. This demonic creature was born from centuries of unceasing bloodshed that corrupted the tree, causing it to hunt down and attack any unsuspecting individuals who ventured too close. The Jubokko would ensnare its victims in its twisted branches and impale them on sharp spikes before consuming their blood.

After draining the victim’s body, the Jubokko would drop their lifeless remains to the ground from its roots. As a result, the ground surrounding the Jubokko’s roots would become defiled and covered in the blood, bones, and decaying corpses of its previous victims. This allowed others to detect the monster’s presence and avoid it.

One of the most notable abilities of the Jubokko is its long, jagged, finger-like branches that can snatch up its prey with surprising speed and strength. These branches are said to pierce the skin of its victims and suck out all of their blood with special tube-like twigs.

In some depictions, the Jubokko is also said to have the ability to control its roots and manipulate the surrounding environment, using them to ensnare or trap its victims. Additionally, some stories describe the Jubokko as having the power to create illusions, making it difficult for its prey to escape.

Finally, as a tree yokai, the Jubokko is often depicted as having a strong connection to nature and the ability to control plant life. This can include causing nearby trees to wither and die, as well as summoning other plant-based creatures to aid in its attacks.

The Jubokko is capable of taking in the blood of others, typically by consuming it, for a variety of reasons such as sustaining itself, defending against attackers, launching attacks, or healing its wounds.

They may possess Spike Protrusion powers where the Jubokko tree is equipped with sharp spikes on its body that can be utilized for both offensive and defensive purposes. It can use these spikes to launch an attack on its enemies or create a defensive barrier made of spikes that can simultaneously provide both offense and defense.

They may possess power to defile or corrupt souls. According to folklore (citation needed for this power, we are still lacking reliable reference for this statement), the Jubokko tree has the ability to corrupt and stain souls, causing them to become impure and unholy. This corruption can result in the damned souls being subjected to unimaginable torment, while also causing damage to the very essence of their soul and spirit. The corruption is often so severe that it can result in the soul being irreversibly damaged and corrupted in extremely horrible ways.

Jubokko May manipulate other plants in order to strangle passerby. This power is still capable of unleashing a variety of attack techniques on a target. By harnessing the power of plants as weapons, users can seize and strike their opponents continuously using vines and roots, project thorns from a distance, and regenerate withering weapons quickly at will. They can also grow vines to ensnare enemies, wrap around their necks, causing choking, or strike them with plants.

A more subtle technique involves releasing damaging toxins and pheromones that can affect the target’s physical condition, causing them to develop ailments that require immediate treatment.

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Fact Or Fiction?

According to scholars of Japanese folklore such as Kunio Yanagita and Iwao Hino, who authored works on yokai such as “Yokai Stories” and “Vocabulary of Changes in Japanese Yokai,” there is no basis for the Jubokko in traditional folklore. The To Scholar Conference, a group led by yokai scholars Natsuhiko Kyogoku and Tada Natsumi, writer Murakami Kenji, and SF writer Yamamoto Hiroshi, has also concluded that there is no known source for this yokai tree, and that it may have been a creation of manga artist Mizuki. 

Mizuki has claimed to have created about 30 different yokai in his work “GeGeGe no Kitaro,” but has not specified which ones are original creations. Some experts speculate that the Jubokko could be a fictional combination of other yokai, such as kodama, onryo, kyonshi, obake, tsukumogami, and possibly kosenjobi and/or furutsubaki-no-rei.