Translated from Mizuki Shigeru’s Yokai Daihyakka
How are Yokai born?
It is said that the vast majority of Yokai are born from the emotions of human, especially the powerful emotions of fear, yearning or hate.
But there are other ways for a Yokai to come into being:
1. From the violence of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, windstorms or volcanic eruptions.
2. From the fear of dying accompanying disease and dire poverty.
3. From fear of animals, especially the terror humans feel at the prospect of being eaten by some beast.
4. From plants with lifespans that outstrip humans, like cedar and pine trees. It was thought that these trees would live forever, and there was a desire of humans to believe in something that had power over death, something indestructible.
5. From human belief in superstitions and stories, or the teachings of religions. There are things that scientific knowledge cannot explain, and it is there that Yokai are born.