Yama Kings are very powerful and hold territories in the outer reaches of the Yin and Yang worlds. They are known as banes in the West, while those of Yin are called Malfeans by western wraiths. They are the supreme wardens of Yomi Wan, and largely fallen servants of the August Personage of Jade who, discovering that chi could be extracted from human souls through torture, adopted such techniques to extract that energy.
Generally, the only requirement to be a Yama King is to own some real estate in Yomi Wan. While some, such as Tou Mu, are actually corrupt and fallen former judges of the dead, others are merely corrupt spirits in general (Emma-O was originally an Ainu judge of the dead made bitter and twisted by Yamato occupation of his island) and some (Haha No Fukami and Yen Lo) appear to follow their original duties to a greater or lesser extent. The Yama Kings also include beings from other places, such as corrupt mortal sorcerers (such as Mikaboshi) or possible vampires (such as Ravana).
In the Fifth Age, the Yama Kings have a link to the P'o, and they often seek to subvert the Kuei-jin to their service. Ones who succumb are known as Akuma. They are very powerful, but they are also bound by their crimes - the oldest remember the strange smile on the August Personage's face when He turned away from them, and the wisest suspect that ultimately, they are the butt of a joke which will only be apparent at the end of time.
Known Yama Kings
- Mikaboshi in the Wicked City, presiding over the souls of the corrupted, isolated and anonymous sinners.
- Haha No Fukami in the Hell of Seven Burning Seas, presiding over the souls that abused fire and water.
- The Wandering Overlord, the most mysterious of the Yama Kings.
- Hine-Nui-Te-Po, presiding over the souls of those who committed suicide.
- See Yama in Buddhism