Gozu-Tennoh is a recurring demon in the series.
He originated in India as a minor tutelary deity who protected the monastery of the Jeta Grove and was associated with pestilence, and his name was Gosirsa Devaraja. As his cult spread it merged with many traditions in Asia. In Tibet, he was known as "Ox-Head Mountain" (Gozusan), when it was transmitted to China (牛頭天王), it became merged esoteric Buddhism, Daoism, and Yin-Yang spiritual philosophies, before being transmitted to Japan, where it merged with the local Onmyodo tradition.
In Japanese tradition, he was also associated with the legends of another kami of disease called Sominshorai, and then became identified with the kami Susano-o, along with his consort and son. He also became identified with the kunitsukami Okuninushi. His chief features continue to emphasize his nature as a deity associated with epidemic disease, though in time he was transformed into a tutelary deity who protected his followers from such ailments, and eventually becoming a deity of justice, a deity who ascertained the truth (a.k.a, a Tadashi no Kami), and a god of the cardinal directions.
- Megami Ibunroku Persona: Chariot Arcana
- Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne: Head of the Mantra Army
- Shin Megami Tensei IV: Mentioned
Megami Ibunroku Persona
Gozu-Tennoh appears as a Persona of the Chariot Arcana. This Persona is an early-on powerhouse due to its early access to the Megido and Megidola skills, however its usefulness can be slightly offset by the SP Cost of the Persona and all of its rank increases are put into its Magic Attack and Strength stats. Upon being returned to the Velvet Room at MAX Rank, it will yield a Grydyne Stone.
Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne
Gozu-Tennoh is the leader of the Mantra Army and an enemy of the Assembly of Nihilo. He, and the rest of his army, are stationed in Ikebukuro, where he rules. He leaves most of the workload to his direct subordinate, Thor. Gozu-Tennoh has a unique Manikin Priestess who serves under him. Gozu-Tennoh believes in the absolute power of strength and he eventually sides with Yosuga. Before this, he simply rules over Ikebukuro and attempts to control all of Tokyo. When the Demi-fiend enters Ikebukuro, he is accused of being a Nihilo spy for trespassing on Gozu-Tennoh's headquarters, causing him to be arrested. He has to prove his innocence by defeating several enemies in combat. After the Demi-fiend defeats them, Gozu-Tennoh grants him an increase in power, allowing him to summon two more demons, to sway the Demi-fiend to join him.
After traveling to the Nihilo Assembly, the Nightmare System activates, hitting Ikebukuro and destroying the Mantra Army. Gozu-Tennoh is mortally drained of Magatsuhi by the System, but says that despite being close to death his will shall live on. He then dies, the statue he uses to manifest collapsing to pieces. His spirit wanders the Vortex World in bitterness to try and find some sort of way to get revenge for his grievances against Nihilo. After some time passes, Chiaki Hayasaka finds his ruins due to the ill-intent she manifested at Yoyogi Park, allowing her to recognize feelings similar to hers from Gozu-Tennoh's wandering spirit. His spirit speaks to her, they have a long chat about both their mistakes and how to achieve their desires. Gozu-Tennoh agrees to give the remains of his power to her body, making her a pseudo-fiend and allowing her to thrive in the Vortex World, resourcefully build her army, and make plans to find Magatsuhi to summon her god, Baal Avatar.
Shin Megami Tensei IV
Gozu-Tennoh is defined as the Demon Lord Baal's flesh and blood.
Megami Ibunroku Persona
- Gozu-Tennoh's musical theme is titled "Masura" (マスラ*)? in the Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Original Soundtrack. It follows the naming scheme of the rest of Reasons which suggests that it would be Gozu-Tennoh's Reason of creation, should he not be crushed by Hikawa and forced to relinquish his strength unto Chiaki who has already conceived her own Reason. Nonetheless the term "Masura" never appears in the actual game script.