Korean Mythological Dragon: Imoogi

History: 

Just like any culture, Koreans have a set of mythological animal spirits and stories. These mythological creatures serve to represent stories of values and virtues that have been passed down from generations to generations.

Today, let’s investigate one of the Mythological Dragon: Imoogi (Korean: 이무기). 

What is Imoogi and its importance: 

 

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

So, you might already be wondering: What is Imoogi?

Imoogi is a dragon that resembles more of a serpent. There are many different stories to tell the origins. Nevertheless, dragons are meant to be kind; water and cave spirits; and seeing them meant good luck.

Imoogi also have many other names which include Ishimi (Korean: 이시미), Miri (Korean: 미리), Bari (Korean: 바리) and so on… 

Difference between Korean and Chinese Dragons:

 

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

The dragon is also a mythological creature in Chinese culture. In terms of physical appearance, the Chinese dragon has a longer beard as compared to the Korean dragon.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

The Chinese dragon represents power and authority. It revolves more into the imperial power of the king of the dynasties. Sculptures and arts of the dragon are also portrayed with the Chinese Emperor. 

In the West, dragons are also portrayed differently. Western dragons are more inclined with magic and are sometimes seen as evil creatures. 

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Reference in Movies, Dramas and K-pop: 

Imoogi is also referenced in movies and dramas, especially in genres of fantasy. In 2020, there was a release of a South Korean drama: Tale of the Nine-tailed. Imoogi is referenced as the main character! 

What are some other mythological characters?

There are also different Korean mythological characters such as:

Goblin (Korean: 도깨비

These creatures are spirits that play tricks on people but also help them.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Grim Reaper (Korean: 저승 사자)

These creatures are meant to bring the dead to the afterlife.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Gumiho (Korean: 구미호) - Nine-tailed Fox

It is a legendary fox that can transform into different forms to eat their prey’s heart or liver. This creature appears the most in folktales. 

 

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Water Ghost (Korean: 물귀신)

This creature is different from the spirits like Gumiho and the Globin. The water ghosts are usually associated with dead people who died in water and now stay haunted in the waters! 

Fun fact: There is a myth not to swim or go near water during Halloween season, this is to prevent the water ghost to get you!  

Why are they important and is it still existing? 

Culturally, it will still be important. If you are asking if the creatures still exist? It depends on everyone’s beliefs, even though the folktales of these creatures are still passed down to the next generation.

But I would say that nowadays people have become less superstitious as compared to the older generation. 

What other facts do you know about Imoogi?! Let us know in the comments below. 

Author: Tiffany

Leave a comment

"니 멋대로 살어 ,어차피 니 꺼야."

"Live your life, it’s yours anyway."

Fulfill your Korean passion, Seoulmates 💪

Fire, BTS