A nue descends upon the Imperial palace in a black cloud. Print by Kuniyoshi Utagawa.
Region Japan

This article was copied from the English Wikipedia.

A nue (鵺) is a legendary creature found in Japanese folklore. It is described as having the head of a monkey, the body of a raccoon dog (tanuki), the legs of a tiger, and a snake for a tail. According to the legend, a nue can transform into a black cloud and fly. Due to its appearance, it is sometimes referred to as a Japanese chimera. Nue are supposed to be bringers of misfortune and illness.

According to The Tale of the Heike, Emperor Konoe, the Emperor of Japan, became sick after having terrible nightmares every night, and a dark cloud appeared at two o'clock in the morning on roof of the palace in Kyoto during the summer of 1153. The story says that the samurai Minamoto no Yorimasa staked-out the roof one night and fired an arrow into the cloud, out of which fell a dead nue. Yorimasu then supposedly sank the body in the Sea of Japan.

In a local expansion of the story, the nue's corpse floated into a certain bay, and the locals, fearing a curse, buried it. A mound which exists today is supposed to be this grave.[1]


Nue as a word appears in the oldest of Japanese literature. Early quotes include Kojiki (712) and Wamyō Ruijushō (c. 934). Due to the usage of Man'yōgana, the Jōdai Tokushu Kanazukai|historical spelling is known to have been nuye. At this early time, though, it had a different semantic meaning. It referred to a bird known as White's Thrush.

In the 13th century, Heike Monogatari makes reference to a creature called a nue. In addition to having the head of a monkey, the body of a tanuki, the paws of a tiger, and the tail of a snake, it has the voice of a White's Thrush.

Around 1435, Zeami wrote a Noh song titled Nue dealing with the events described in Heike.

Popular CultureEdit

  • The Japanese band Kagrra, has an album titled Nue, containing the track "Nue no Naku Koro" (鵺の哭く頃, When the Nue Cries).
  • The avex artist Tomiko Van has a song called "Nue no Naku Yoru" (鵺の鳴く夜, The Night when the Nue Cries)
  • A Nue appears in many of the games in the Megami Tensei series, as a potential fight opponent.
  • A Nue appears at the gate to the Dream (DC Comics)|King of All Night's Dreaming's castle in Neil Gaiman and Yoshitaka Amano's Sandman: The Dream Hunters.
  • Zabimaru, the zanpakutō of Renji Abarai in the manga/anime series Bleach (manga)|Bleach, manifests itself as a nue.
  • One of the monsters a player fights in the PlayStation 2 game Genji: Dawn of the Samurai is a Nue.
  • In the Japanese version of the game Blood Will Tell, Kagemitsu Daigo transforms into a Nue during one of the final battles. However, in the English version, the monster is referred to as a chimera.
  • In the game Breath of Fire III, the first boss is a Nue, which kills villagers to feed its young.
  • Nue is the name of a Mikura (a yōkai turned blood-drinking machine) in the anime/CG 6-part OVA Karas (anime)|Karas voiced by Jay Hernandez. Unlike the other Mikura, he opposes Eko.
  • Nue is a tiger monster in various Final Fantasy games.
  • In Monsterology: A Complete Book of Fabulous Beasts, the Nue (Chimera japonicus), is depicted as a relatively small and misunderstood creature, whose reputation derives from the foul odor of the fumes in produces from its rear end when threatened.
  • The anime series Mononoke (TV series)|Mononoke features a two-episode arc, titled "Nue," in which the mononoke is determined to have the form/shape (Katachi) of a Nue.
  • Also in the new anime Boruto: Naruto Next Generation, Boruto ( Naruto's son ) and his friends are chasing a "ghost" which in their terms really mean monster that takes over people's bodies and sucks there life out. But recently we are told that someone his using a justu to revive a creature. That creature is Nue. "I devour opon the weak hearted," ominously spoke by Nue.
  • In the video game Okami, there is a monster called a chimera but is actually a Nue with a giant blue kettle as a body.
  • in the video game series Touhou Project, the Extra Stage boss of Touhou 12 (Undefined Fantastic Object) is a Nue in the form of a young looking girl named, obviously enough, Nue.


  1. Nue; The Obakemono project,, 20 August 2006, (accessed 21 January,2007)

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