The world of yokai is filled with strange and unusual creatures. Many of these are immensely strange to western cultures that don’t believe in ghosts and spirits because it is not part of our culture. Seeing these creatures in anime allows for us to glimpse into a peculiar world that we don’t see in our own culture. This mirror into Japanese culture allows us to take on a different view that lets us learn and understand more about Japan and learn to appreciate anime more. One yokai that we see in Tsukumogami Kashimasu is the aptly named Tsukumogami. This yokai inhabits items that are used in everyday life and can appear in households and have now become known throughout the world due to their appearance in anime and manga.
Tsukumogami throughout History
In Shinto, they believe that everything has a spirit that should be respected from animals to nature to household objects. Tsukumogami can inhabit any sort of object. They are said to be malicious spirits that like to trick humans and sometimes carry feelings of retribution. Some say that tsukumogami are born 100 years after the object’s creation, although this is not a common theme among myths. Tsukumogami have originated from the Tsukumogami-emaki, an illustrated scroll that depicts the origin of the tsukumogami. Each tsukumogami has a name specific to the object that they inhabit. For example, tsukumogami that inhabit straw sandals are called bake-zori and each has characteristics that are unique to that tsukumogami. They often take on grotesque forms due to the age of the objects. Cracks and age spots become warped into eyes and teeth. The appearance of these spirits varies widely and no two tsukumogami are the same. Many of these become active at night to socialize with others of their kind or to create mischief. They are said to take on the traits of their owner so if you are kind hearted then your tsukumogami will carry on this trait. However, if you are an angry or vengeful person then watch out. The legends say that tsukumogami no longer exist in Japan or anywhere else, unfortunately. With the advent of modern technology, the electricity that are in many homes around the world repel them and thus tsukumogami have become virtually non-existent. Many people in Japan still believe in tsukumogami and often hold a ceremony to console objects that are more than 100 years old to prevent them from taking vengeance on their homes and families. These ceremonies are called Hari Kuyo but are being performed less and less as the tsukumogami fades into obscurity.
Tsukumogami in Anime
The anime where tsukumogami are most prevalent is called Tsukumogami Kashimasu. This anime supports the theory that tsukumogami become yokai and take on their spirit after 100 years. Two siblings run the shop and rent out tsukumogami to customers that rent out items in fear that they will have to flee at any moment. Since these are older items, many of them are tsukumogami that the siblings can see. This adorable anime is an excellent portrayal of the different personalities that tsukumogami can take on and the way that they will interact when they come to life.
Tsukumogami are a more understated yokai that we rarely hear about in western culture. These unpredictable yokai are adorable in their own right but can also be pranksters that can make your life difficult. This is an important theme to remember, not only when we are watching anime but also when we are living our lives. Our actions and temperament have an impact on everything around us whether we realize it or not. Tsukumogami are an important life lesson to everyone who learns about them.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article on tsukumogami. As always, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.