Lions, Tigers and Jubokko! Oh my!

Cryptozoology is the study of unknown animals along with plants that have not yet been accepted by science to exist or be real. In some cases, cryptozoologists researched accounts involving large carnivorous plants consuming animals and even human beings. What would one do if encountering a tree starving for human blood spawned not from nature but by supernatural forces? In Japan, legends warn of such a vampiric plant called the Jubokko.

Japanese folklore label demons, monsters, spirits and other malevolent forces as yokai. A few of these supernatural entities resulted in a human, animal or even a household transforming after experiencing some traumatic or violent event. Not surprising to discover legends about plants manifesting into yokai that feed upon humans like the Jubokko. In myth, this creature was once a tree within a battlefield whose roots absorbed vast amounts of blood soaked in the soil from dead warriors giving birth to a monster.

Jubokko appears as any other ordinary tree in the forest waiting for an unsuspecting victim. Only the few observant maybe warned to the unusual jagged branches or the several bones poking through the roots. Many fail to notice these features and fall victim to tree once close enough. The branches would grabbed the prey and hoist them up center of the tree. The victim would have their veins and arteries stabbed by the branches as Jubokko sucks out all the blood. The corpse would either remain hanging or lowered to the ground for animals and other scavengers to feed up till bones littered round the roots. Often, Jubokko thirsts for human blood, but will consume large animals when people are not around.

Many Japanese legends of yokai will refer to ways of defeating them. Jubokko maybe a demon, but it is still has the same vulnerabilities of a plant Some stories told of chopping the tree down while fighting off its branches or setting fire to it until ashes remained. Just to note, myths mentions a Jubokko branch can heal wounds and cure aliments.



2 thoughts on “Lions, Tigers and Jubokko! Oh my!

  1. David Calvert

    I’m no botanist, but I wonder if this myth has evolved from an ancient and prehistoric tribal memory, when some plants may have been carnivorous, like the modern-day nepenthes raja. From fossil records, we know that animals were certainly far bigger than they are today. Perhaps plants were also far larger than their modern-day counterparts.



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