|Book(s)||Konjaku Gazu Zoku Hyakki|
Wanyūdō (輪入道 or わにゅうどう, Wanyūdō) is a yokai that is said to take the form of a burning oxcart wheel bearing the tormented face of a man. He is a relatively well-known yōkai in the folklore of Japan.
Wa-nyūdō is a giant, fearsome man’s head trapped within a flaming ox-cart wheel. His head is shaved like a monk’s in penance for his sins during life.
Wa-nyūdō are servants of Hell, but spend most of their time on Earth, patrolling for the wicked. They are in constant suffering from the flames and the wheel, and take a sadistic pleasure in inflicting pain on others. When they capture a victim – ideally a wicked criminal or a corrupt priest, but often enough just an ordinary person – they drag their victim back to Hell to be judged and damned. Then the wa-nyūdō returns to Earth to repeat his work until the sins of his former life have been redeemed.
When a wa-nyūdō is sighted, smart townspeople keep off the roads at night and stay away from all doors and windows to avoid any notice by this demon. The extra-cautious decorate their homes with prayer charms in hopes that the monster will be repulsed and not come near. Merely witnessing the wa-nyūdō is enough to strike calamity upon a whole family. Most have their souls torn from their body and brought to hell by the wheel.
One famous story from Kyoto tells of a woman who peeked out her window at a wa-nyūdō as he passed through town. The demon snarled at her, saying, “Instead of looking at me, have a look at your own child!” She looked back at her baby, who was screaming on the floor in a pool of blood – both of its legs had been completely torn from its body. When she looked back at the wa-nyūdō, the child’s legs were in its mouth, being eaten by the mad, grinning monster.
- Wa-nyūdō on Yokai.com