Chōchin-obake – 提灯お化け 29. March 2023

The Chōchin-obake belongs to the group of tsukumogami – objects that develop a soul and come to life after 100 years. The Chōchin-obake object is a traditional folding lantern made of paper or silk. When it reaches its hundredth birthday, it tears open along one of the wooden ribs on one side. This is how a mouth is formed. From it protrudes a large moist tongue, which sometimes carries a candle. In the upper half, 1-2 large eyes form and sometimes even extremities like arms grow out of the lantern body. In some tales, the Chōchin-obake hang from the ends of long sticks and bounce around. More often, however, they simply float through the air.

The behavior

Whether a Chōchin-obake is good or evil is determined by how it has been treated throughout its life. If its owner has always been good to it, the lantern will remain loyal to it and light its way in the dark. However, if the lantern was neglected or treated badly, the Chōchin-obake leaves its birthplace and dispatches passersby in the cities or hikers in the mountains. Generally, however, physical harm rarely results. They merely prefer to frighten people with their large tongues and rolling eyes.

The conclusion

The Chōchin-obake, or tsukumogami in general, is a good example of why you should take care of your things, because any object can basically come to life after 100 years.

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