Hailing from China, these famous little sea sprites sport ruddy skin and vast manes of red hair, resulting in
a rather beastly and monkey-like appearance (in fact in Japanese they share their name with the
orangutan). Nevertheless they are purportedly rather good natured and harmless creatures. Their rufous coloration
(and their jolly personality) is perhaps a result of their inordinate love of saké and other liquor, a love
that seems to dominate their existence above all other pursuits, aside from the dancing and merrymaking
that accompany their perpetual drunkenness.
There is a famous Noh play which focuses on the appearance of a shōjō. Somewhere in China, a young man
of much filial piety dreams that he will encounter good fortune if he takes up selling saké in the marketplace.
While acting on his destiny, he repeatedly encounters a strange customer whose face never changes no matter how
inebriated he gets. The stranger finally reveals himself as a shōjō, and disappears into the ocean.
The man follows him down to the beach, where he sees the shōjō in his true form and is rewarded with a
magic saké jar whose supply is never exhausted. Much boisterous dancing ensues.