Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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YUKI ONA

(OO-key OWN-ah)
Variation: Yuki Onna, Yuki-Onne
In Japanese lore there is a type of vampiric spirit known as a yuki ona ("snow woman"). It levitates rather than walks and appears to its victims as a tall and beautiful woman with impossibly long HAIR and inhumanly pale skin. Sometimes a yuki ona will show itself wearing a pure white kimono, but other times it will appear in the nude. On occasion, it will be holding a child in its arms. Ayuki ona is perfectly camouflaged against a snowy backdrop, and combined with its ability to shape-shift into a cloud of mist or falling snow, it can be impossible to find.
The yuki ona is only active in the winter months as its hunting methods require. It will lead travelers astray, assuring they die from exposure or by breathing on them with its icy breath to make sure they meet the same death, but more quickly. It will appear before parents who are looking for their child; the yuki ona will seem to be holding it, beckoning for them to come and claim it. As soon as they do, taking it into their arms, the yuki ona turns them into ice. It has also been known to be aggressive, and although under normal circumstance it must be invited into a home, it will burst into a person's home by sending a gust of icy wind, freezing the occupants, especially the sleeping ones, to death. Not afraid to uses it beauty as a lure, it will tempt men into having sexual intercourse with it, and all the while the yuki ona will drain them of their life-energy, pleasuring them until they die (see ENERGY VAMPIRE). When it wishes it, one look into its eyes will cause a person to go insane. With each death it causes, it absorbs the life-energy of its victims.
It is only on the very rare occasion that a yukiona will allow a potential victim to live, but he must beg for his life and be so moving and convincing when promising that he will never tell anyone about the encounter that even the icy heart of the yuki ona is moved.
Source: Davis, Myths and Legends of Japan, 149­53, 391; Mack, Field Guide to Demons, 64; Perez, Beings, 35; Smith, Ancient Tales and Folklore of Japan, 307­11
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