Creatures of Korean Mythology: +14 Types and Legends

Meet with us the most popular Creatures of Korean Mythology. Their legends, powers and myths most deeply rooted in this culture.

Creatures of Korean Mythology
Creatures of Korean Mythology

Creatures of Korean mythology

In Korean mythology, there are many creatures and other mythological beings that are part of their culture and are related to different aspects of their life. However, these creatures of Korean mythology are left in the past and only those that are reflected in their legends survive.

Many of the legends of Korean mythology are linked to Chinese mythology; although in very few cases. Korean legends are full of supernatural animals, ghosts, mythical beings, monsters, dragons, among other creatures with supernatural powers that influenced Korean culture.

1.- Dokkaebi

They are very scary looking creatures, they are mischievous and love to play pranks on people who commit wrongdoings. However, when they encounter good doers or innocent children, they reward them with riches.

They originate from objects abandoned for many years; the Dokkaebi carry with them a kind of magic wand called “bangmangi”, with this wand they have the power to appear all the things of their choice. They are not objects created from nothing, they are objects stolen from their rightful owners to appear in front of others.

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Another of their powers is the ability to become invisible thanks to their magical cloak. They are described as dwarves and horned; they love to trick people into playing “Ssireum” with them , which is a fighting game.

Types of Dokkaebi

  • Cham dokkaebi: is considered the original Dokkaebi, it is very mischievous and playful.
  • Gae dokkaebi: it is evil and wild. The opposite of Cham dokkaebi.
  • Gim seobang dokkaebi: he is a very silly being; his appearance is similar to that of a peasant.
  • Nat dokkaebi: is the only dokkaebi that appears in the daytime; they are well known among humans for giving them invisibility cloaks.
  • Go dokkaebi: the strongest dokkaebi of all, they have great skills in fighting and weapons; especially in shooting arrows.
  • Gaksi dokkaebi: she is the dokkaebi lady. She seduces humans.
  • Chingak dokkaebi: is the single dokkaebi and loves to attract females.
  • Oenun dokkaebi: they are known for having only one eye, and they even eat the door knockers of convents.
  • Oaderi dokkaebi: it is the dokkaebi that most likes the ssireum, it has only one leg.

2.- Chollima

Its name means “1000-ri horse”, and it is compared to the Greek Pegasus; it is one of the most direct creations of Korean mythology. The meaning of its name was given to it by the fact that the Chollima can travel more than 393 kilometers in a single day; this distance represents the length of the Korean peninsula from north to south.

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Chollima was a winged horse, which flew into the sky when it could not find a tamer. Even today Chollima is named in many public speeches, for its representation in the people of devotion and hard work.

3.- Bonghwang

A mythological creature from eastern Korea, it is a mythical bird that has the power to tame all birds. The Bonghwang, was present in the royal emblem; and even nowadays it appears in the presidential emblem.

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In its physical form, it is described as a fusion of different animals; it has the beak of a rooster, the face of a swallow, the breast of a goose, the forehead of a wild bird, the back of a turtle, the neck of a snake, the tail of a fish and the rump of a deer.

4.- Haechi

The origin of this creature comes from the Joseon dynasty and symbolizes good fortune. They are described as having the appearance of a dog’s body but the head of a lion, and a horn on its head; it also has wings on its back, a rattle hanging from its neck and its body is all covered with scales.

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His statue is a common sight at palace entrances to prevent fires because of his fire-eating myth. In 2009, the Haechi became the official symbol of the city of Seoul. In addition to preventing natural disasters, the Haechi is believed to prevent disruptions and sudden changes in daily life.

5.- Jangseung

Its name means “guardian of the people”, represented by wooden totem poles. They were used to mark the boundaries of villages, and were believed to ward off demons that wanted to frighten the villagers.

Sometimes they were also placed on tombs to protect the deceased from demons. The Jangseung are adorned with carved figures of protective characters and have their descriptions engraved on them.

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There are two types of Jangseung; male totems engraved with the words “great general of all under heaven” and female totems engraved with the words “general woman of the underworld”. Generally the female totems are much less elaborate than the males.

6.- Quilin

This Korean mythological creature appears in Japanese, Korean and Chinese culture, appearing in a cloud of fire. It is believed that the appearance of the Quilin is linked to the appearance or passing of an important ruler or illustrious person of great wisdom.

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It has a very fearsome appearance, but it is a very noble creature; it only gives punishments to all people who are wicked and cruel. The Quilin symbolizes peace and prosperity; it is a very peaceful creature and only feeds on plants. In his walk he takes care not to harm any living being.

7.- White Tiger

Also called Baekho which means “white tiger of the west”; in Korean mythology it also represents autumn and metal. It also represents one of the four symbols that make up the constellations of Chinese mythology. Throughout Korea there are murals honoring the white tiger.

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8.- Black turtle

Also called the “dark warrior”, the black turtle is another of the four symbols of the constellations in Chinese mythology. It is described as a black turtle with a snake coiled around it.

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In Korea, it is also called “hyeonmu”; the black turtle in Korean mythology represents the north, water and winter. It is also associated with the god Xuan Wu.

9.- Vermilion bird

Also known as “Jujak”; it symbolizes fire, the south and the summer season. It is described as a giant red bird that has a plumage that is made up of five colors and is wrapped in flames.

Jujak Creatures Korean Mythology

It is very common to confuse the vermilion bird with the phoenix; but they are two different mythological creatures that have nothing to do with each other. This creature is another of the four constellation symbols in Chinese mythology.

10.- Haetae

He is a legendary creature of Korean mythology, and his statue is in the main buildings of Korea. He is described as having a physical appearance similar to a lion, carries a horn on his forehead and is believed to be able to prevent fires and natural disasters.

hetae Creatures Korean Mythology

The Haetae is also a mythical creature well known for separating good and evil; for this reason he is associated with justice and law. He has been of great influence in Korean society, many companies, sports teams and even cities have adopted his name because of his protection and significance.

11.- Samjoko

It has its origin in the Goguryeo dynasty, it is a crow that has three legs; in the times of the dynasty when the Samjoko emerged it was a mystical creature that symbolized power, it was above a dragon and a Bonghwang. In Korean mythology today the Samjoko represents the sun.


12.- Gwishin

The Gwishin are ghosts, representing the spirits of deceased people. In Korean mythology there is a strong belief in Gwishin, and it is believed that they can appear anywhere, anytime. They usually appear with a female image, and are spirits that are anchored for various reasons which is usually revenge.

gwishin Creatures Korean Mythology

13.- Guminho

The Guminho is the most popular creature of legends in Korean mythology, this is a nine-tailed fox that has lived for thousands of years. They have the ability to transform into humans, usually taking the form of a beautiful young woman to seduce men and feed on their livers.

gumihgo Creatures Korean Mythology

14.- Dragons

Dragons are very important and represent a fundamental part of Korean mythology; most of them are associated with the elements of water, earth, air and fire; among others such as clouds, rain, agriculture, etc.

It is believed that Korean dragons inhabited the waters and helped humans; they were even sensitive to human emotions. Dragons represent very powerful guardian beings.

Dragon Creatures Korean Mythology

Yellow dragon

This dragon is related to gold and represents the earth and its changing seasons. It is considered one of the four elements of the Chinese constellations and is the guardian of the central korea.

Azure Dragon

This dragon represents wood, and is the guardian of eastern China. This dragon is very powerful and is one of the great dragon gods belonging to the five forms of the highest deity of Korea. It is also called “Cheongnyong”.

Conclusion about Creatures Korean Mythology

Korean mythology is full of legends, which exist since the times of dynasties; they give rise to the origin of a great diversity of Korean mystical creatures with supernatural powers that had great influence on the daily life of Koreans. In addition, many of these creatures have a common link to mythology throughout Asia.

Even today, many of these creatures are still alive in the beliefs of the Korean people; and some even have great symbolic significance throughout Korea in various aspects such as political, cultural, religious, folkloric, among others.

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