Medjed (Deity).png
A depiction of Medjed based on the Greenfield papyrus

In Ancient Egyptian religion, Medjed is a god mentioned in the Book of the Dead. His ghost-like portrayal in illustrations on the Greenfield papyrus earned him popularity in modern Japanese culture, including as a character in video games and anime.

Book of the Dead

Greenfield papyrus - sheet 12 - Medjed.jpg

Spell 17 of the Book of the Dead mentions, amongst many other obscure gods, one Medjed (meaning "The Smiter"), in the following line:

I know the name of that Smiter among them, who belongs to the House of Osiris, who shoots with his eye, yet is unseen.[1]

E. A. Wallis Budge translated the corresponding passage in the New Kingdom Papyri, known as the "Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead" as follows:

I know the being Mātchet [Medjed] who is among them in the House of Osiris, shooting rays of light from [his] eye, but who himself is unseen. He goeth round about heaven robed in the flame of his mouth, commanding Hāpi, but remaining himself unseen.[2]

According to John Taylor of the British Museum, nothing else is known about Medjed.[1]

In popular culture

In the illustration to the spell on sheet 76 of the Greenfield papyrus, a figure thought to be Medjed[1] is depicted as a figure in a conical covering, except for the eyes and feet.

After this papyrus illustration was exhibited in 2012 at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and the Fukuoka Museum of Art, Medjed became a sensation on Japanese social media due to the resemblance to a stereotypical ghost costume. The god was embraced by Japanese popular culture. He became an internet meme, as well as a character in video games[3][4] and in anime (e.g. as the protagonist of Kamigami no Ki, 2016).[5]



  1. ^ a b c Taylor, John (22 September 2010). "What is a Book of the Dead?". British Museum. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  2. ^ Wallis Budge, Ernest Alfred (1898). Book of the dead : the Chapters of coming forth by day, the Egyptian text according to the Theban recension in hieroglyphic, ed. from numerous papyri. Princeton Theological Seminary Library. London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & co., ltd. pp. 55–56. Papyrus of Nebseni, Brit. Mus. No. 9,900, sheet 14, 1. 16 ff.
  3. ^ "Meet Medjed, The Egyptian God Who's Big in Japan!". 7 August 2015. Archived from the original on 20 December 2020. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  4. ^ Stimson, Eric (31 July 2015). "The Obscure Egyptian God Medjed and His Bizarre Afterlife on the Japanese Internet". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 8 December 2020. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Egyptian God Medjed Stars in New TV Anime Series Starting in November". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2021-05-13.