I would like to know whats the word for "korean mythological creatures" in general and what groups are they divided into (such as ghosts, yokai, deities) and the korean words for that.

Thank you so much.

1 Answer 1


I'll just name a few that I know.

귀신 = this is the most widely used term for general sense of ghosts.

처녀귀신 = young female ghosts who died before getting married. Traditionally speaking, not getting married was considered tragedy for an individual in Korea.

총각귀신 = this is the male version of 처녀귀신, though not as commonly brouoght up as 처녀귀신.

원혼 = a soul with lots of grief/anger due to what happened in its life. It's usually said that these 원혼 usually hates a living person as its life had been miserable due to other people. It usually leads one to death.

구미호 = This is a nine-tailed-fox, and a fox usually symbolizes evil female spirit in Korean tradition. However, I believe this one is not specific to Korea, but its identity spans throughout East Asian Culture.

지박령 = a ghost that is bound to a specific place like a building due to the grieving or enraging incidents during its life there. It can be either good or bad depending on its own emotion in the place. It can make the place haunted, or it can protect people in the place.

지박신 = this is what 지박령 transforms to when it becomes so powerful in a positive way. This one serves to protect whoever it admitted into the building or any place. It mostly sticks to a building.

산신령 = this is a powerful god-like spirit living in a mountain that usually protects vulnerable humans against any danger. However, they can get pretty dangerous if you enrage them. They sometimes show up in the polymorphed form of powerful animals such as tigers, bears, deer etc...

옥황상제 = This is the most powerful god who reigns on top of everyone + everything. He's somewhat, but not entirely, like the God in a sense that you can only meet him if you have lived in a most humane way without any sin.

염라대왕 = He's the one like Hades in Greek myth. When you die, he's the one to call you to 저승, a place for the dead. You will be put on a trial and sentenced according to the sins you have committed during your life. Oh, yeah. He's the judge there as well as the King of Korean version of hell. If you're not guilty, then you will start fresh new life and go through 윤회

윤회 is, in a very loose definition, an eternal cycle of life and death in which a soul improves or deteriorates. This idea comes from Hinduism or Buddhism, if you want to figure more out about it. (even though theirs is not exactly the same as that in Korean myth. Korea has been through 500 years of buddhism country and another 500 years of confuscianism country, so ideas got mixed.)

This is not a professional comments. It's just what I know in a very general sense.

  • 대부분 도교 신화에서 유래한 귀신, 영혼, 신이네요. 신화적인 동물도 많아요. 해태, 달토끼, 삼족오, 인면조, 기린, 봉황, 용이 되지 못한 이무기, 청룡, 주작, 현무, 백호 등등
    – Coconut
    May 4, 2021 at 15:31
  • @Coconut 네 떠오르는대로만 쓰다보니까.. 머리 속에 신과 함께2를 떠올리고 쓴거 같습니다. 그러다 보니 거기에 나오는 캐릭터 위주로 쓴 거 같아요. 말씀해주신 쪽으로는 진짜 쓸 생각을 못했어요 ㅎ
    – fosinsight
    May 4, 2021 at 15:53

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