Sarugami are a type of monkey-spirit found in Japanese folklore and are prominent figures in many tales of brave Samurai - like the Oni, giant snakes and other malevolent yokai they were seen as enemies of humanity and opponents of brave heroes, they were often responsible for the capture of fair maidens and the resulting voyage to save them (the classic "damsel in distress" form of fairy tale).

Sarugami are seen as large monkeys with extreme levels of intelligence rivalling that of humanity, often mimicking human culture but always standing in opposition to the laws of the land they would deep largely to themselves until an opportunity arose for them to cause havoc : often they would raid a village and steal one of more of its women, who they would proceed to drag into the wilderness only for a mighty hero to pursue and inevitably battle before freeing the women in question and restoring society's law.

The Sarugami themselves are often seen as the memories of ancient monkey-cults that existed in many parts of the Far East prior to Buddhism or Taoism, as society changed monkeys lost their sacred status and grew to be seen as pests by farmers : this in turn merged with earlier worship and the former monkey-spirits became more hostile and cruel, thus became yokai in the eyes of mortals.

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