Sōshin vary widely in appearance, taking on abnormal physical characteristics ranging from human, animal (aquatic, amphibians), insect, sage to demonic. The body structured of the Sōshin are commonly humanoid and can possess multiple heads or limbs. A common trait all the Sōshin share are various levels of deformity and those with human faces are seen with permanent smiles. Sōshin also vary in size, either being about the same size as humans or tall as giants.
The Sōshin lack intelligence and act as mindless creatures that can be attracted to things such as forest fires or can be easily controlled by the Dōshi. Sōshin do not react to pain and have an inability to sense danger, only focusing on their purpose of eliminating trespassers. They also commonly attack in groups. Despite their low intellect, the Sōshin are capable of speech on rare occasions. This usually happens whenever they witness a human killing one of their own, telling them that killing is an act of sin.
Sōshin possess muscle and bone structures but lack organs or signs of genitalia. According to Fuchi's examination, internal anatomy of individual Sōshin are structured different from one another, even ones that are similar in appearance. Despite not having any organs, they are capable of speech (at least the ones that have humanoid faces), indicating that they at least have vocal organs. It is unknown if they require any form of sustenance to remain active, although it has been speculated that they do take rests after Genji took note of how he did not spot any of them during the night.
Abilities and Powers
The Sōshin are capable of defending themselves, and despite being weak against the current human travelers, they have managed to ward off the past humans that have landed on Kotaku.
The Sōshin are named after Zao Jun (灶君?), also known as the Kitchen God, a domestic god that protects the hearth and the family. According to Chinese folklore, once a year, Zao Jun returns from heaven to report the activities of every household over the past year to Yu Huang, the Jade Emperor, who decides whether to reward or punish a family based on Zao Jun's yearly report.
- The Sōshin ranked 24th in the manga's 1st Character Popularity Poll.
- Though the Sōshin have their own unique appearance, there have been instances in the manga where a few are redrawn again.
- Ironically, even though the Sōshin are instructed by Lord Tensen to teach the Hōko that killing is a sin, their purpose on Kotaku is to eliminate any trespassers that land on the island.