付喪神 - Household items that have come to life

An everyday item or tool that has become a Yokai. It is thought they gain a spirit after one hundred years2, and thus a degree of sapience. Most are benign—either guardians or tricksters, though a few will harm humans.   These spirits may be angry at being thrown out by their human masters, while others may protect members of the household. It depends on how the previous owners or how those who discover the spirit treat it. With care, some malevolent spirits can be appeased.  


Kosodenote by Ryūkansai
A kosode (short sleeved under kimono) yokai
Kasaobake by Jinbunsha? (Public Domain)
Kasaobake, an umbrella spirit
Tofu Kozo by Ryuukansaijin
Tofu Kozo- spirit boy carrying tofu and sometimes sake
Chou an ooze, thought to have originated from a forgotten batch of agar1.
Genetic Descendants
Related Ethnicities
Fairly simple, often like children. Though, some have wisdom or sixth sense that exceeds humans1.
Conservation Status
The most common type of yokai, though they hide in plain sight well1. Good luck recognizing them, unless they wish to reveal themselves. They don't wish to be accidentally caught up in the memorial services to pacify discarded goods3, 4.


Replacement for previous Myth article on the subject.


Author's Notes

1. Areas the author has deviated from traditional ideas.

  • added item options (food - in the case of Chou), stronger option for good item spirits, info on numbers, and abilities

  • Fun Kanji Notes:

    2. It might also be written with different kanji (九十九神 - 99 kami (gods) or 九十九髪 - hair of 99 (years of age)). This may be where the 100 years aspect comes into play.


  • 3. National Diet Library Digital Collection - Animating Objects: Tsukumogami ki and the Medieval Illustration of Shingon Truth by Noriko T. Reider (PDF)
  • 4. Tsukumogami - Because Everything Is Scarier in Japan by Susan Spann (author of the Hiro Hattori mystery series, and Climb)
  • Poems on One Hundred Ghost Stories (Kyōka hyaku monogatari 狂歌百物語) <- parking this set of scans of the original work for more in depth browsing later
  • Yokai.com's Object Category

  • Please Login in order to comment!
    5 Dec, 2020 13:22

    That picture of the Chou is the most adorable thing. :D There's so much potential for different ideas here.

    Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
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