The stairs in the forest leading to a Japanese shrine. Will the miko of the shrine have a suitable Japanese witch name?
Everyday Witchcraft

10 Unique Japanese Witch Names

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Whether you’re looking for Japanese witch names to honor your own ancestry, or to name a character in a novel you’re writing for NaNoWriMo, this list is for you! These magical Japanese witch names come from traditional Japanese folklore.

Names like Himiko and Momiji Densetsu hold power thanks to their history and associations with witches and magical creatures from mythology.

Don’t forget to check out my list of Irish witch names, too!

A Japanese mountain surrounded by cherry blossoms.
The fox witch is one mythical witch in Japan. There is also the legend of Momiji.

Japanese Witch Names

It was extremely hard for me to find any names associated with witches in Japan. Most of these names are actually the names of monsters in Japanese folklore.

While there are some stories of witchcraft in Japan, I couldn’t find any that named specific Japanese witches.

So, instead, we rely on the myths of monsters to choose our magical Japanese witch names.

We also look to the names of miko, or shrine maidens, many of whom became famous through their actions.

Himiko

Himiko is an interesting figure. She was suppposedly the first ruler of Japan and the originator of the Grand Shrine of Ise.

In spite of that, she is missing from Japanese historical records but is present in Chinese stories.

She was a shamaness and peaceful ruler of the proto-Japanese federation of Yamatai.

She was young when she became a ruler, and was very interested in magic:

The country formerly had a man as ruler. For some seventy or eighty years after that there were disturbances and warfare. Thereupon the people agreed upon a woman for their ruler. Her name was Himiko [卑彌呼], her age at the time was only fourteen. She occupied herself with magic and sorcery, bewitching the people. Though mature in age, she remained unmarried. She had a younger brother who assisted her in ruling the country. After she became the ruler, there were few who saw her. She had one thousand women as attendants, but only one man. He served her food and drink and acted as a medium of communication. She resided in a palace surrounded by towers and stockades, with armed guards in a state of constant vigilance. (tr. Tsunoda 1951:13)

People Pill

If you were trying to name a Japanese witch in a novel, you couldn’t do much better than choosing Himiko as a name.

A Shinto shrine submerged in water.
Spirit possession in Japanese religion is a common practice among shrine maidens or miko.

Momiji Densetsu

Her name translates to “maple leaves”. Princess Sarashina or Momiji is a story from the Muromachi period.

Momiji was a powerful witch that lived in the mountains of Nagano prefecture. She disguised herself as the Princess Sarashina to avoid being killed by a great samurai, Koremochi.

In a dream, Hachiman warned Koremochi that Princess Sarashina was the witch Momiji, and that he must kill her with a holy katana.

Koremochi was eventually successful, but the witch was a fierce opponent.

Suzuka Gozen

Sometimes a thief, sometimes a divine celestial maiden similar to angels or fairies, and still other times an oni or monster.

Suzuka Gozen is often seen as a kijo or a monstrous woman ruined by her karma or resentment of others.

A Japanese shrine in the mountains
Japanese paganism has shrine maidens, or miko, that perform magical rites such as prophecy, divination, and communicating with spirits.

Yamauba

In Japanese tales, travelers and merchants were attacked by Yamauba.

Yamauba appears as a terrible crone, with unkempt golden white, long hair. Her clothes were filthy and torn, and she did not shy away from cannibalism.

One tale had a woman assisted in giving birth by an old woman that seemed kind… until it was revealed that the Yamauba had plans to eat the child once born.

Amaterasu

The Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu is an incredibly popular Japanese deity.

She is the embodiment of the sun, as well as the embodiment of Japan. The imperial family claims their right to rule by claiming to be descended from her.

She is a goddess of creation and of the rising sun. In Shinto, the sun represents order and purity, two very important concepts in the religion.

The Ise Grand Shrine (built by Queen Himiko) is dedicated to Amaterasu.

A Japanese shrine accessed by a bridge
Japanese witch trials took place in Okinawa.

Kishimojin

In Buddhist traditions, Kishimojin is either a revered goddess of a demon.

Her positive aspects include protecting children, childbirth, and easy parenting.

As a demon, she terrorizes irresponsible parents and bad children.

She is similar in some ways to the Greek goddess Tyche. In Japanese tradition, she is an aspect of the goddess of mercy, Kannon.

Nakayama Miki

Nakayama Miki was a 19th century Japanese religious leader whose followers suspected she was a living goddess.

She was thought to have healing powers, though her last years were spent being persecuted by the government.

The courtyard of a Japanese shrine.
Of the ancient Japanese queens, Queen Himiko is the most interesting as she was a powerful shamaness and the first Japanese person recorded in history.

Empress Jingu

A controversial and legendary leader, Empress Jingu has many myths about her.

Though many consider her to be a mythical empress, she was also seen as a shamaness and a military ruler.

Iitoyoao-No-Mimemiko

Another famous miko, Princess Iitoyoao was a member of the Imperial family. She briefly acted as an administrator and addressed state affairs.

She may have given a prophecy of who should be on the throne after Emperor Seinei died.

A Japanese shrine.
Japanese folklore holds many myths of female oni. They are mostly scary, like Japanese demons.

Izumo-No-Okuni

This shrine maiden is believed to have invented kabuki. She was a shrine maiden until her dancing became more popular.

As a miko, she performed sacred dances and songs.

Other Japanese Witch Names And Words

In Japan, a Miko is a shrine maiden or shaman. While modern shrine maidens are seen in a more secular light, they once performed spirit possession and communicated with the divine.

There are many words associated with shrine maidens, and many of them would be suitable for Japanese witch names.

  • Ichiko (translated: female medium or fortuneteller)
  • Reibai (translated: spirit go-between, medium)
  • Itako (blind spiritual mediums that communicate with Shinto spirits)
  • Okamin (possible translation: wife or mistress of God)
  • Moriko (possible translation: protector)
  • Nono (Shinshu Kuni mikos that shook bells, chanted invocations, and spoke with the voices of spirits)
  • Zatokata (translated: Zato = priest, Kata = wife, they were formerly wives of priests. Zatokata performed after funerals and communicated with the dead)

Magick Names For Witches

Explore magical names from every culture and tradition with these blog posts. Whether you want to use witch names in your novels, or want to choose a magical name for yourself, these blog posts will help you choose the right one.

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