Japanese name すねこすり
Romanized name Sunekosuri
Meaning Shin rubber
Other names Sunekkorogashi, Sunekkorobashi, Sunekajiri
Type Animal form
Places Okayama Prefecture

Sunekosuri (すねこすり or 脛擦り, Sunekosuri) is a Japanese yōkai. Stories are told of it in Okayama Prefecture and is said to get in the way of people's paths as they walk.


Sunekosuri are small, mischievous spirits from Okayama Prefecture. They appear on rainy nights in streets and alleys where people travel. They are most often described as dog-like in appearance, though they are also occasionally said to resemble cats.

Sunekosuri run up behind people walking on dark, rainy nights. They rub against their shins, weave in and out of their legs, nuzzle against the knees, and otherwise make it difficult to walk. They do not intentionally cause any harm to humans, although occasionally their rubbing is strong enough to make a person stumble or even knock them down.

A few local of the local variations are slightly more aggressive than the sunekosuri. The sunekkorogashi and sunekkorobashi both mean “shin toppler.” The sunekajiri means “shin biter.” Although not as violent as other kinds of yōkai, these spirits are blamed for the occasional bruise or bloody nose.

In Yoshii, Shitsuki District, Okayama Prefecture, a similar spirit called sunekkorogashi (meaning "make lower legs fall over"). A legend states that it would slip into darkness at night and pull on people's legs, making them fall over. Children were made to fall over and hurt their noses.

Sunekosuri is a relatively modern yōkai. It did not appear in writing until the 1935 yokai encyclopedia Genkō Zenkoku Yōkai Jiten, although it is impossible to tell how far back oral traditions go. Despite its relative recentness, it is a fairly well-known and well-loved yokai, most likely due to its cute depictions and manga and film.

In popular cultureEdit

  • In Mizuki Shigeru's manga GeGeGe no Kitarō, it takes on the appearance of a cat rolled into a ball. People who claimed to have actually witnessed one often claim that "it was like a cat". Yōkai researcher Yamaguchi Binatarō claimed that this was because of Mizuki Shigeru's influence. Some netsuke resemble Mizuki's design, creating the possibility that they referred to Mizuki's design.
  • In the movie The Great Yokai War sunekosuri appeared as yellow and white lumps of hair with cute eyes.


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