A-Yokai-A-Day: Zashiki-warashi

Today’s yokai is a little less sinister than yesterday’s. This is Zashiki-warashi, a house spirit which looks like a young child. It’s generally a harmless spirit, and it’s said that if you see one in your house, it will bring you good fortune (though it’s also said they are invisible to adults). However, if it ever leaves your house, you will fall into ruin. Zashiki-warashi are pranksters who like to make noise, move things about, and goof off in other ways. They’ll often jump on sleeping guests in the middle of the night, and then vanish before anyone can see them. They also like to play with anything in the house that makes noise, or run around singing Japanese “spirit music.” Another of their favorite pranks to do is to rub their feet in the ashes from the fire place and run around the house, leaving footprints everywhere. In some areas, people leave food out at night for the zashiki-warashi in hopes to keep it happy.

Zashiki Warashi
Zashiki-warashi

There are a number of variations on zashiki-warashi, and while this one is a prankster, it’s relatively pleasant. We’ll see a less pleasant variation tomorrow.

8 thoughts on “A-Yokai-A-Day: Zashiki-warashi”

  1. Thanks a lot! No, I’m not Japanese, but my wife is, and I live in Japan. I just really like Japanese culture and art, so you’ll see a lot of that influence in my paintings. I’m glad you like it. 🙂

  2. i love this painting; it makes me feel haunted by looking at it. i get little shivers at the smudgy footprints, but also the colors and composition! you are a fabulous artist.

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