I'm reading a fictional book which deals with Japanese mythical/fantasy themes. One chapter describes dead people being resurrected through a complex operation in which their bodies were reworked and the procedure was referred to as "死鬼手技" by the man who conducted it.

Could someone help me understand the "死鬼" part? The only thing I can find is a Chinese definition meaning "devil" and my guess was "dead demons" but what would "dead demons" have to do with it?

  • wouldn't "demons/devils" be a reference to what these re-animated things become? I think you could simply consider this phrase to mean "re-animation" or possibly "zombification" (except zombies are still dead... are these creations in the story still technically dead??) Aug 14, 2018 at 14:59
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    The traditional Chinese definition of 死鬼 is someone who has passed away (i.e. a dead 死 person turned to a spirit 鬼). "Devil" is a modern profanity or joke term.
    – dROOOze
    Aug 14, 2018 at 14:59
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    @droooze do you mean that 死鬼 carries the same connotations as 死人 or would the first be "corpse" while the second is "the deceased"? or vice versa? sorry, did not see your edit of your comment until this comment got posted. Aug 14, 2018 at 15:03
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    @ericfromabeno In Chinese, 死鬼 should be seen as referring to the person('s spirit/ghost/personality) rather than the body, while 死人 can refer to both the body and the person. 死鬼 is an obsolete term to refer to a dead person in modern Chinese, however, and nowadays just refers to the profanity mentioned (devil; much the same meaning as in what the devil is this?!).
    – dROOOze
    Aug 14, 2018 at 15:11
  • Maybe zombification?
    – hasen
    Oct 15, 2018 at 4:17

1 Answer 1


I did a little bit of research, and 死鬼 is not actually a word in Japanese, it is Chinese. If you google 死鬼とは, you get 中国語辞典 websites like this one. It means "dead person" (死人 or 亡き人) or "their spirit" (亡霊 or 幽霊).

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