Raiju, the thunder animal, is Raijin’s companion or possibly his pet. Raiju is usually calm, peaceful, and docile but he gets electrified during thunderstorms, leaping about wildly. Lightning damage to trees, buildings, or monuments may be ascribed to his claws. Raiju may be the essence and spirit of electricity.
Raiju’s true form is believed to be a fireball or ball of electricity, but he is a shape-shifter. Raiju manifests in the guise of animals like cats, weasels, or tanuki. Sometimes Raiju flies in the form of a blue wolf. Although he may physically resemble a loup-garou, the flying wolf associated with lightning balls, Raiju doesn’t Demonstrate any of its antisocial tendencies. With the exception of lightning damage, the worst thing Raiju does is make himself tiny enough to sleep in people’s navels, a favourite napping spot. He does little damage himself, but his absence may attract Raijin’s attention. Raijin, who knows all Raiju’s favourite spots to nap, shoots arrows at belly buttons to rouse him from slumber—in the process injuring the human host. The traditional solution? Keep your belly button covered while you sleep.
• Raiju’s descendents include electric Pokemon Raikou and Raichu.
• He is the inspiration for the Clow Card called The Thunder in the manga/anime series Cardcaptor Sakura.
Raiju’s cry, which resembles thunder, is his identifying characteristic.
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.