Kodama – 木霊

Evoking the Kodama the mischievous tree spirits of Japanese myth. This vase is our modern interpretation of an ancient folk tale.

Kodama originated in the forests and more mountainous regions of Japan and are thought to have emerged from a tree god that was chronicled about during the early 700s. They are forest spirits that are attached to the trees, kind of like the dryads of Greco-Roman mythology. If you hear an echo in the woods, it is likely to come from kodama.

Being one with a tree means that the spirit appears so long as the forest is healthy. Shrines to kodama can be found in Japanese forests. In Princess Mononoke (STUDIO GIBLI), after immortality-seeking Lady Eboshi cruelly hacks off the Forest Spirit’s head (we’ll get to that later), the kodama start to vanish as its lethal blood oozes through the forest. They only start to reappear after the head is returned and the forest starts growing back.

Oh, and don’t ever try to cut down a kodama’s tree, because you will be cursed!

Image credit: Juan David Cortés

Illustrations: Paparkone

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