Shikigami (式神, Shikigami) is the term for a being from Japanese folklore. It is thought to be some sort of kami, represented by a small ghost. The belief of shikigami originates from Onmyōdō.
Shikigami are usually invisible, though can be seen by some people. They can be made visible to everybody by banning them into small, folded and artfully cut paper dolls. There are also shikigami that can show themselves as animals or birds.
They must be conjured during a complex ceremony and their power is connected to the spiritual force of their master. If the evoker is well introduced and has lots of experience, his Shiki can possess animals and even people and manipulate them, sometimes causing death. But if the evoker is careless, his shikigami may get out of control in time, gaining its own will and consciousness. In this case the shikigami will raid its own master and kill him in revenge. Normally shikigami are conjured to exercise risky orders for their masters, such as spying around, stealing and enemy tracking.
- Shikigami make an appearance in many manga and anime, such as in Inuyasha, where two of them have a human form called Kochô and Asuka.
- In Spirited Away, an animated movie by Hayao Miyazaki, shikigami are seen chasing and attacking Haku.
- In Nurarihyon no Mago, an anime and manga by Hiroshi Shiibashi, shikigami are used as weapons by one of the main characters.
- In Kekkaishi, a manga by Yellow Tanabe, Shiki are used as helpers and in a base form are slips of paper.
- In Kamisama Hajimemashita, an anime and manga by Julietta Suzuki, Shiki are created and used by yōkai and Gods alike in order to serve some form of goal or task, which is determined by the names their master gives them.
- Shikigami on Wikipedia