Yamanba (山姥, lit. Mountain Hag), also known as Yamauba, are the old hags and witches of the Japanese mountains and forests. A kind of kijo, Yamanba were once human but were corrupted and transformed into monsters. They usually appear as kind old ladies, who'll offer food, shelter, and a place to sleep to weary travelers, and they show no signs of their true evil nature until they attack. People who have survived encounters with these youkai often tell and pass along their tales, and these tales were often told as bedtime stories to disobedient children.
Yamanba in Touhou
Yamanba can be found on Youkai Mountain and unlike more social youkai like the Tengu, they prefer living on their own instead of forming groups and societies. They barely interact with other Yamanba, but they can be seen interacting with other youkai (though they do it in a business-like manner). Unlike their folklore counterparts, Yamanba in Touhou tend to send lost adults back with a warning and raise lost children as one of their own. It's unknown as to why they do this.
Yamajorou (山女郎, "mountain mistress") are a type of Yamanba who are less recluse than the others, although not much more is known about them.
Characters under this Bestiary
- Wikipedia entry for Yamanba
- 女郎/Jourou has various meanings, such as neutral variants of "girl", "lady", "woman", and also the profession of a prostitute. In terms of class, Jourou would be a middle ranking prostitute, higher than a 遊女/Yuujou/Whore, but lower than a 花魁/Oiran/high-class courtesan.