Ryuk, the first Shinigami seen in the series.

in the manga and anime series Death Note are a race of extra-dimensional beings who survive by killing humans to extend their own lives. Shinigami are not responsible for every death that occurs; people will eventually die regardless of whether or not the Shinigami pay attention to them, but a Shinigami can end their lives sooner than intended to extend their own lifespan. The Shinigami live in a specific realm fittingly known as the Shinigami Realm, which is mostly dust.



Rem, another Shinigami.

King of Death

The Shinigami King, in his only appearance in the series.

Shinigami vary widely in appearance, varying from the humanoid forms of Ryuk (top of the page) and Rem (top-right), to the bloated mass of the Shinigami King (bottom-right). The few similarities they share are wings and eyes. All Shinigami have a pair of wings that disappear when not in use, although these vary in look just as much as the rest of the Shinigami, while their eyes can see the lifespan of any non-Shinigami in the universe.

Killing a Shinigami

There is no known way for one to kill a Shinigami. However, a Shinigami can die from two specific causes:

  1. Laziness - A Shinigami's job is to kill people through the use of the Death Note. However, Shinigami have been known to die for not writing enough names in their Death Note.
  2. Love - If a Shinigami falls in love with a human, they can attempt to save that human's life using the Death Note. However, as Shinigami are supposed to take life, not give it, this will lead to the Shinigami dying.

In either case, a dead Shinigami turns into a pile of dust. The only remaining part of a Shinigami should it die will be the Death Note.


  • Shinigami Eyes - As stated above, Shinigami possess the ability to see a person's remaing life span.
  • Flight - The only use of the wings.
  • Death Note - Technically a weapon, the Death Note allows the Shinigami to kill anyone, taking their remaining lifespan for themselves.
  • Indestructable - Shinigami are immune to all weapons not originally from the Shinigami Realm, as well as Death Notes. As no weapons are made in the Shinigami Realm, this leaves them basically indestructable.
  • Invisible - Shinigami are invisible to humans who haven't touched their Death Note. This invisibility wears off immediately if someone touches even the tiniest piece of the Death Note.
  • The Eye Deal - This ability of the Shinigami is used when they end up in the servitude of a human, after losing their Death Note. For half the human's remaining lifespan, the Shinigami can grant them the same eyes they use to see a human's lifespan, although the human version of the Shinigami Eyes are unable to see the lifespan of any owner of a Death Note, human or Shinigami,, whereas the Shinigami version is restricted to non-Shinigami.

Shinigami of Note