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Naruto’s Tailed Beasts And Their Mythological Counterparts

Naruto is a popular anime and manga series, becoming a darling among its fans that still cherish the series dearly, even after it has ended. And while the Naruto series is filled with lore, and wonderful world-building, Masashi Kishimoto has made the series using many different mythologies from the real-world to guide him.

In this article, we will discuss the nine tailed beasts known as Bijuu who were created by the legendary sage of the six paths from the Ten-tailed beast. And what inspirations Kishimoto took from the real-world to create these Bijuu in the Naruto series.

1. Shukaku, the One-Tailed Beast

In Naruto, Shukaku has a sand-like appearance and has the ability to control sand and create sandstorms. On top of being able to control the sand around him when he is outside and free, when he is inside his Jinchuriki, he is able to protect the person he is stored in by using the sand around him, without any effort from the person themselves.

Shukaku is based on the tanuki, a type of raccoon dog from Japanese folklore. Tanuki are often depicted as mischievous and tricky, with the ability to shape-shift and manipulate objects, considering this it seems like a good fit to give Shikaku the ability to manipulate sand to its own will.. They are also associated with prosperity and wealth. Often depicted holding a promissory note or a sake bottle.

2. Matatabi, the Two-Tailed Beast

In Naruto, Matatabi has a blue, flame-like appearance and has the ability to manipulate blue flames. Despite its large size it is very agile and quick as well.

Based on the nekomata, a two-tailed cat demon from Japanese mythology. Nekomata are often associated with death and are said to have the ability to manipulate fire. This is very fitting for the two-tailed beast as it has the ability to use flames against its opponents.

3. Isobu, the Three-Tailed Beast

In Naruto, Isobu has a turtle-like appearance and has the ability to create tidal waves. As well as being able to create coral and when inside the water be able to swim at very high speeds. It also had the unique ability to create a mist that made his enemies hallucinate.

The ushioni is a creature from Japanese folklore that is often depicted as a sea monster with the body of a cow and the tail of a serpent. It is associated with the sea and is said to cause tidal waves and storms.

4. Son Goku, the Four-Tailed Beast

In Naruto, Son Goku has a monkey-like appearance and has the ability to manipulate lava. He is also knowledgeable about Taijutsu and seems to have a build that allows him to use his physical strength, which is immense, against his opponents.

Son Goku is based on the Sun Wukong, the Monkey King from the Chinese classic “Journey to the West.” In folklore, Sun Wukong is a mischievous and powerful monkey with the ability to manipulate wind and control spirits. He is also known for his strength, speed, and magical abilities.

5. Kokuō, the Five-Tailed Beast

In Naruto, Kokuō has a horse-like appearance and has the ability to manipulate fire and use powerful sound waves. Kokuō also acts as a Bull during fights as he aims to rush into his opponents aiming to hurt them using his horns and excessive force.

Kokuō is based on the kirin, a creature from Chinese mythology that is said to have the body of a deer, the scales of a fish, and the tail of an ox. It is often depicted as a powerful and noble animal with the ability to manipulate fire and water. It is also associated with music and the arts.

6. Saiken, the Six-Tailed Beast

In Naruto, Saiken has a slug-like appearance and has the ability to secrete a powerful acid in the form of either liquid or gas. It can also produce a sticky substance from its mouth, which is capable of trapping its targets.

Saiken is based on the Namekujira. In Japanese mythology, the namekujira is a sea monster that resembles a giant, bloated slug or a whale. The namekujira is associated with bad luck and disaster in Japanese mythology.

7. Chōmei, the Seven-Tailed Beast

In Naruto, Chōmei has a butterfly-like appearance and has the ability to create powerful wind gusts. It can also emit a blinding powder to fight against enemies and has the ability to fly as well.

Chōmei is based on a Japanese mythological creature called the kabutomushi, which is a type of beetle that is often used in Japanese folklore and art. The name “Chomei” itself means “Longevity” or “Ten Thousandfold Life”, which is consistent with the idea of the kabutomushi being a symbol of strength and longevity in Japanese culture.

8. Gyūki, the Eight-Tailed Beast

In Naruto, Gyūki has an octopus-like appearance and has the ability to create powerful shockwaves and control ink using it to make clones and even bind enemies with it. Gyūki is also seen as very intelligent and has the ability to form counter-attacks and find weaknesses against opponents even during mid- battle.

Gyūki is based on the octopus, a sea creature known for its intelligence and ability to camouflage itself. In Japanese mythology, the octopus is associated with the sea and is often depicted as a symbol of wisdom and knowledge. So it makes sense to make him quite intelligent in the series as well.

9. Kurama, the Nine-Tailed Beast

In Naruto, Kurama has a fox-like appearance and has the ability to manipulate chakra and create powerful shockwaves. Kurama also had an interesting sensor skill, which helped him detect chakra from great distances and uniquely able to sense negative emotions, as well as natural energy, which it could accumulate and transfer to Naruto to create senjutsu chakra.

Kurama is based on the kitsune, a mythical fox from Japanese folklore known for its intelligence, shape-shifting abilities, and association with the god Inari. Kitsune are often depicted as mischievous and sometimes malevolent creatures. Which considering how we see Kurama in the series fits with his actions and personality.

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