On the island of Okinawa grow large banyans called gajumaru
, no doubt special trees because they are
said to be inhabited by the kijimunā
— mischievous, fairy-like spirits that are easily the best known
creatures in Okinawan folklore.
They are about the size and shape of a little boy, and like so many Asian
folk-creatures, they have red hair, which may or may not cover their bodies.
Also like many other yōkai, the kijimunā are associated with mysterious fires. Sometimes they
are seen wandering along beaches and riverbanks accompanied by ghostly flames, and sometimes they try to steal
fire from paper lanterns and run off.
While they are tree spirits, the kijimunā are adept fishermen, although they are such absent-minded
little creatures they will often eat only one of a fish's eyes before forgetting about the rest of it.
Although fond of pranks, they are innocent and friendly and often befriend human beings, helping them with
their fishing and sometimes making them rich. These relationships turn bitter easily, though, and often end
with the human driving the kijimunā away with the one thing it absolutely cannot stand - the humble