In Japanese mythology, vengeful spirits of the dead. They were originally thought to be spirits of nobles who had been killed unjustly and who avenged themselves by bringing about natural disasters, disease, and wars. Identified by divination, they were appeased by being granted status as gods. Later the belief arose that anyone could become a goryō by willing it at the moment of death or by meeting an untimely death. Various forms of exorcism and magical practices, such as the Buddhist recitation of nembutsu (invoking the name of the Buddha Amida), have been used to ward them off.
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