Zashiki warashi By Matt on May 31, 2013, in All Yōkai, child, curse, Every Prefecture, good luck, Iwate, The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons, Tōhoku, yūrei


Translation: zashiki childAlternate names: many, depending in the region & variety of ghostHabitat: zashiki (a kind of sitting room covered in tatami mats) and other roomsDiet: none, but enjoys candies và treats left out for it

Appearance: Zashiki warashi are house spirits. They are fond of mischief, loved by all, và believed khổng lồ bring great fortune và riches lớn those whose houses they haunt. Direct sightings of these spirits are rare. It is often difficult to lớn make out any details other than a vague, child-like shape. When they can be seen, zashiki warashi appear as ghostly children, five or six years old & with blushing red faces. The boys are dressed in child-sized warrior costumes & the girls in patterned kimonos & with hair that is either short và bobbed or long and tied back. In rare stories they appear as wild, hairy, brutish figures. It is said that only children and the house’s owners are able to see these spirits. They are usually known only by their pranks.

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Behavior: Zashiki warashi love mischief. Often the first signs that one’s house may be inhabited is by a trail of children’s footprints going through ashes or soap powder. Other mischief includes making phantom noises. These noises sound like children’s games—tops spinning all night long, paper crinkling, children’s voices, or kagura—Shinto holy music. Most hauntings involve a single zashiki warashi, while some involve multiple spirits.

Interactions: Zashiki warashi are considered guardian spirits of the house, and gods of luck. It is said that a house with a zashiki warashi will prosper và grow rich, và a house that drives away such a spirit will fall into decline và ruin. In one account, a family witnessed a zashiki warashi leaving their home, & soon they all succumbed to lớn food poisoning & died. In another well-known legend from Iwate Prefecture, a wealthy man’s son shot a zashiki warashi with a bow và arrow. Soon after the family’s fortunes collapsed.

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In many homes, these spirits befriend the children of the house, teaching them songs, games, & nursery rhymes. They keep elderly or infertile couples company, and these couples often treat the zashiki warashi as if it were their own child. The desire lớn attract & keep these friendly yōkai has led lớn customs lượt thích setting out food in the zashiki for them, and even laying coins in the foundation when building a new house. The Japanese take great care khổng lồ maintain their formal reception room so as not khổng lồ drive out any guardian spirits dwelling there.

Other forms: Their common name comes from the zashiki, the formal reception room for guests in a Japanese house where these spirits most often reside. Zashiki warashi are known by many different names in other areas, such as kura bokko or “warehouse child,” & makura gaeshi, or “pillow turner.” Countless variations of zashiki warashi exist across Japan, with minor differences in their appearance and behavior.