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This page is about Shinigamis. It should not be mistaken with Shikigamis.
The role of a Shinigami (死神, shinigami lit. Death Gods) may seem similar in certain ways to that of the Grim Reaper in western folklore. In Gensokyo, that means bringing souls to the Yama (or Enma) Shikieiki Yamaxanadu. Gensokyo's only known shinigami, Komachi Onozuka, ferries souls to the Higan. This is apparently done by crossing Sanzu no Kawa, a river in Japanese Buddhism analogous to the Greek River Styx.
While Komachi is a ferryman of the Sanzu, not all shinigami occupy this position. For good reason, most people assume their life is over at the sight of a shinigami, but only a few are actually charged with taking the souls of the expired. These shinigami may be fought with just as any other creature, allowing stronger youkai to continually prolong their lifespan. Celestials are notorious for this, disguising their victory as guaranteed immortality.
According to some people they have long lifespans which means they aren't immortal, as they can be killed by either getting sick or being cut up. There is also another theory saying that it can die if it saves a person from how it is supposed to die (but actually its unknown if this fact is true or false).
- Example: Komachi Onozuka
Books and articles:
- Wikipedia entry on Shinigami