The Zashiki-Warashi (Japanese: 座敷童 or 座敷童子, literally "guestroom child") sometimes also called Zashiki Bokko (Japanese: 座敷ぼっこ, literally "guestroom basker") is a Yōkai (Japanese: 妖怪, variously translated as "ghoul" or "goblin") originating from Iwate Prefecture.
It is similar to the Russian folk story of the Domovoi.
The name breaks down to zashiki (Japanese: 座敷), a sitting room or parlor, usually with tatami flooring, and warashi (Japanese: 童子), an archaic term for a child, used particularly in the northeast of Japan.
The appearance of this spirit is that of a 5 or 6 year child with bobbed hair and a red face. Zashiki warashi can be found in well-maintained and preferably large old houses. It is said that once a zashiki warashi inhabits a house, it brings the residence great fortune; on the other hand, should a zashiki warashi depart, the domain soon falls into a steep decline.
As the zashiki warashi is child-like in nature, it is prone to playing harmless pranks and occasionally causing mischief. They are known for running around and making noise, even adjusting the bedding of overnight guests. Sometimes they leave little footsteps in ashes. There are different variations as to who can see the zashiki warashi; usually this is limited to inhabitants of the house, sometimes to children.
Yōkai similar to zashiki warashi in other parts of Japan include: the makuragaeshi in Ishikawa Prefecture - another creature which alters bedding; the ainukaisei in Hokkaido; and the akagantā found in Okinawa.
In popular culture
- In the manga and anime xxxHolic, the zashiki warashi is represented as a character who developed feelings for the protagonist Kimihiro Watanuki.
- In the anime Mononoke, zashiki warashi were represented by the spirits of fetus that were aborted by the prostitutes in a brothel.
- In the manga Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan - Demon Capital/Nurarihyon no Mago (Sennen Makyou), there is a zashiki warashi named Yukari.
- In the Super Sentai series Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, Zashiki-warashi is a minor monster of the day who refuses to fight for the Youkai Army Corps and befriends a group of kids and Ninja Black. He is under an evil spell until he manages to break free only to be killed by Gashadokuro and turns into a mushroom. He appears in Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers, and Power Rangers Zeo as Bratboy who in Alien Rangers is the monster form of Farkas "Bulk" Bulkmeier and in Zeo has a cameo in Prince Gasket's Arena.
- in the anime Hetalia, a zashiki warashi appeared as a giggling spirit. When England had a sleepover at Japan's house he heard her voice and chased her, but when he told Japan what had happened, Japan replied that he lives alone.
- In the game and anime Yo-Kai Watch the Zashiki-warashi appear as helpers that involve themselves in everyday lives of humans even though they can't see them.
- In the manga and anime Hoozuki no Reitetsu, two zashiki-warashi are taken in by Hoozuki.
- In the manga and anime Kimi ni Todoke, the main character says that her nickname used to be Zashiki Warashi.
- In the videogame series Pokémon, Snorunt (Japanese: ユキワラシ, Yukiwarashi) appears to be based on these.
- Takayuki 1996, p. 173-174.
- Matsumura 2006.
- Yoshimura 2015, p. 170.
- Blacker 1963, p. 87.
- Takayuki 1996, p. 173.
- Yoda & Alt 2013, p. 31-32.
- Yoshimura 2015, p. 149.
- Nomura 1987, p. 121.
- Foster & Kijin 2015, p. 236-239.
- Foster & Kijin 2015, p. 239.
- Tsuruta & Fujiyoshi 2016, p. "Zashiki-Warashi Inn" Rebuilt 6 Years and 7 Months after Fire.
- Nakamura 2007.
- Blacker, Carmen (1963). "The Divine Boy in Japanese Buddhism". Asian Folklore Studies. 22: 77–88. doi:10.2307/1177563. JSTOR 1177563.
- Foster, Michael Dylan; Kijin, Shinonome (2015). The Book of Yōkai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-27102-9.
- Hamashita, Masahiro (August 2005). "Forests as Seen by Yanagita Kunio: His Contribution to a Contemporary Ecological Idea". Diogenes. 52: 13–16. doi:10.1177/0392192105055166. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
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- Matsumura, Akira (2006). Daijirin (3rd ed.). Sanseido Books. ISBN 4385139059.
- Nakamura, Kenji (July 2007). "Zashiki-Warashi". Mononoke. Fuji TV.
- Takayuki, Tatsumi (December 1996). "Deep North Gothic: a Comparative cultural reading of Hearn, Yanagita and Akutagawa". The Geibun-Kenkyu: Journal of Arts and Letters. 71: 160–183. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
- Tsuruta, Yusuke; Fujiyoshi, Kyoko (5 May 2016). ""Zashiki-Warashi Inn" Rebuilt 6 Years and 7 Months after Fire". Yomiuri Shinbun Online. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
- Nomura, Junichi (1987). Pocket Encyclopedia of Folktales and Legends. Tokyo: Mizuumi Shobo. ISBN 9784838031085.
- Yoda, Hiroko; Alt, Matt (2013). Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 9781462908837.
- Yoshimura, Ayako (2015). "To Believe and Not to Believe: A Native Ethnography of Kanashibari in Japan". Journal of American Folklore. 128: 146–178. doi:10.1353/jaf.2015.0023. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
- On Zashiki-Warashi | 百物語怪談会 Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai, by Mizuki Shigeru at hyakumonogatari.com
- The Last of the Zashiki warashi, Awa Life, March 2002
- The Story of Zashiki warashi no geta, Nanbu Kiri Geta Preservation Society
- The Ryokufūsō HOTEL Japan
- Zashiki-warashi: Spooky Japan - Folk Legends - Kids Web Japan - Web Japan
- 133 Yokai Statues on Mizuki Shigeru Road; scroll down to see 67. Zashiki Warashi (Chamber child)