Shinigami (死神, Shinigami? "death god" or "God of Death") is the personification of death that evolved in Japan, having been imported to Japan from Europe during the Meiji period. This image of death was quickly adopted and featured in such works as the rakugo play Shinigami and in Shunsen Takehara's Ehon Hyaku Monogatari (One-hundred Story Picture-Book).
The term shinigami may also be used more loosely to refer to any death deity. It seems to be a recent term, however, as it belongs to no specific Shinto deity and is rarely used in folklore.
Today shinigami frequently appear in original Japanese works of fiction (anime and manga most often).