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In Japanese folklore, tsukumogami (付喪神 or つくも神,[note 1][1] lit. "tool kami") are tools that have acquired a kami or spirit.[2] According to an annotated version of The Tales of Ise titled Ise Monogatari Shō, there is a theory originally from the Onmyōki (陰陽記) that foxes and tanuki, among other beings, that have lived for at a hundred years and changed forms are considered tsukumogami.[3] In modern times, the term can also be written 九十九神 (literally ninety-nine kami), to emphasize the agedness.[4]

According to Komatsu Kazuhiko, the idea of a tsukumogami or a yōkai of tools spread mostly in the Japanese Middle Ages and declined in more recent generations. Komatsu infers that despite the depictions in Bakumatsu period ukiyo-e art leading to a resurfacing of the idea, these were all produced in an era cut off from any actual belief in the idea of tsukumogami.[5]

Because the term has been applied to several different concepts in Japanese folklore, there remains some confusion as to what the term actually means.[6][7] Today, the term is generally understood to be applied to virtually any object "that has reached its 100th birthday and thus become alive and self-aware",[citation needed] though this definition is not without controversy.[6][8][7]

History and etymologyEdit

 
Woodblock print, A New Collection of Monsters 新板化物つくし[when?]
 
Hokusai, The Lantern Ghost[when?]

The kanji representation of 付喪神 for "tsukumogami" comes from a Tenpō period otogizōshi, an emakimono called the Tsukumogami Emaki. According to this emaki, a tool, after the passage of 100 years, would obtain a spirit (kami or -gami as a suffix), with this change resulting in a tsukumogami. This emaki also had a caption mentioning that "tsukumo" could also be written as 九十九 (meaning "ninety-nine", or more literally, "nine tens [九十] and nine [九]") referring to "one year less than a full hundred." This led to the interpretation that this meaning came from "tsukumo hair" or つくも髪, which is also pronounced tsukumogami since the hair kanji () is a homophone of the spirit kami/-gami. This version of the word appeared in a waka poem in The Tales of Ise,[when?] section 63, referring to an old woman's white hair, which is why tsukumo means "a long time (ninety-nine years)."[3]

Outside of these uses, the word "tsukumogami" does not appear anywhere in extant literature of the time,[when?] and so historical usage of the term itself has not been handed down in detail. The concept, however, does appear elsewhere. In collections such as the Konjaku Monogatarishū,[when?] there are tales that could be seen to be about objects having a spirit, and in the emakimono Bakemono Zōshi,[when?] there are tales of a chōshi (an alcohol cup), a scarecrow, and other objects turning into monsters, but the word "tsukumogami" itself does not appear.

The Tsukumogami Emaki describes how an object would become occupied by a spirit after one hundred years, so people would throw out old objects before they became a hundred years old, which was called the "susu-harai" (煤払い).[clarification needed] By doing this, they prevented objects from becoming tsukumogami, but according to the captions of this emaki, it's written that ones that are "a year from one hundred," in other words, objects that are "tsukumo" (ninety-nine) years old would become angered and become a yōkai by some means other than the mere passage of time, and then cause a ruckus.[9][10]

In the first place, the idea of becoming a yōkai at one-hundred or ninety-nine years old does not need to be taken literally. Those numbers can represent the idea that humans, plants, animals, or even tools would acquire a spiritual nature once they become significantly old, and thereby gain the power to change themselves.[11][12] Writing tsukumo as 九十九 ("ninety-nine") is not simply referring to a number, since the word was used since old times to loosely mean "many."[13] The yōkai that are depicted are not ones that gained the power to change themselves as a result of being used for a long time, but rather ones that were thrown away right before it, becoming a yōkai through some different means.[14]

PaintingsEdit

In the Tsukumogami Emaki, which depicted tsukumogami, it is written at the very beginning, "It's told in the Onmyō Zakki. A tool, after one hundred years pass, would change and acquire a spirit, and deceive people's hearts, and it's said these are referred to as tsukumogami," thus referring to changes or mutations of tools as "tsukumogami" (however, no book called the Onmyō Zakki has actually been confirmed to exist).[3] In the emaki, it's written that they can take on "the appearance of people male and female, old and young" (appearance of humans), "the likeness of chimi akki" (appearance of oni), and "the shape of korō yakan" (the appearance of animals), among others. Its form after its change/mutation is referred to with words such as "youbutsu" (妖物).

Even in emakimono that came before the Tsukumogami Emaki, paintings of yōkai based on tools can be confirmed, and in the Tsuchigumo Zōshi, there were depictions of gotoku (trivets) with heads, stamp mills with the body of a snake and two human arms attached to it, and a tsunodarai (four-handled basin) with a face and growing teeth, among others. Also, a face that appears to be what the tsunodarai is based on appears in the Yūzū Nenbutsu Engi Emaki (融通念仏縁起絵巻) and the Fudō Rieki Engi Emaki (不動利益縁起絵巻) where a yakugami with almost the same appearance appears. However, all of these were not merely tools, but ones that are a hybrid with a tool or oni. This characteristic can also be seen in the Tsukumogami Emaki and the Hyakki Yagyō Emaki.[15]

 
The Hyakki Yagyō Emaki from the Muromachi period, author unknown. They are yōkai of tools, so they are commonly thought of as tsukumogami.

The Hyakki Yagyō Emaki (百鬼夜行絵巻) from the Muromachi period also depicts many of what appear to be yōkai of tools. In the present day, these tools yōkai are thought to be depictions of tsukumogami, and it has been inferred that the parade depicted in the Hyakki Yagyō Emaki is likely the "youbutsu" (aged objects) of the Tsukumogami Emaki in a festival parade.[16]

Works about toolsEdit

In works about tools having a human personality, tools such as the "chōdo uta-awase" that would perform uta-awase can be found before the Muromachi period, and it is thought that these are close in concept to being the idea of "things that tools turn into" as depicted in the Tsukumogami Emaki.[17]

Understood by many Western scholars,[7] tsukumogami was a concept popular in Japanese folklore as far back as the tenth century,[18] used in the spread of Shingon Buddhism.[18]

In Japanese folkloreEdit

According to Elison and Smith (1987), Tsukumogami was the name of an animated tea caddy that Matsunaga Hisahide used to bargain for peace with Oda Nobunaga.[19]

Like many concepts in Japanese folklore, there are several layers of definition used when discussing Tsukumogami.[6] For example, by the tenth century, the Tsukumogami myths were used in helping to spread the "doctrines of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism to a variety of audiences, ranging from the educated to the relatively unsophisticated, by capitalizing upon pre-existing spiritual beliefs in Tsukumogami."[20] These "pre-existing spiritual beliefs" were, as Reider explains:

Tsukumogami are animate household objects. An otogizōshi ("companion tale") titled Tsukumogami ki ("Record of tool kami"; Muromachi period) explains that after a service life of nearly one hundred years, utsuwamono or kibutsu (containers, tools, and instruments) receive souls. While many references are made to this work as a major source for the definition of tsukumogami, insufficient attention has been paid to the actual text of Tsukumogami ki.[18]

By the twentieth century the Tsukumogami had entered into Japanese popular culture to such an extent that the Buddhist teachings had been "completely lost to most outsiders,"[21] leaving critics to comment that, by and large, the Tsukumogami were harmless[citation needed] and at most tended to play occasional pranks,[citation needed] they did have the capacity for anger and would band together to take revenge upon those who were wasteful or threw them away thoughtlessly – compare mottainai.[citation needed] To prevent this, to this day some jinja ceremonies[citation needed] are performed to console broken and unusable items.[citation needed]

List of tsukumogamiEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Komatsu Kazuhiko, in the book 「器物の妖怪 - 付喪神をめぐって」(『憑霊信仰論』 講談社講談社学術文庫〉、1994年、326-342頁。ISBN 4-06-159115-0) used the word "Tsukugami" widely to include any yōkai, including animals, from the Edo period and before that originally came from tools.
  2. ^ Although modern sources might guess that the kasa obake is a tsukumogami, the initial sources that introduced it made no such reference (see page for kasa-obake). Therefore, its true nature is unknown.

ReferencesEdit

CitationsEdit

  1. ^ 小松 1994, p. 331.
  2. ^ Classiques de l'Orient (1921), p. 193
  3. ^ a b c 田中 1994, pp. 172-181.
  4. ^ 村上健司 『妖怪辞典』 毎日新聞社 2000年 221頁 ISBN 978-4-620-31428-0。小松和彦監修 『日本怪異妖怪大辞典』 東京堂出版 2013年 371頁 ISBN 978-4-490-10837-8
  5. ^ 小松 1995, p. 207.
  6. ^ a b c Classiques de l'Orient (1921), p. 194
  7. ^ a b c Motokiyo (1921), p. 195
  8. ^ Foster (2009), p. 7
  9. ^ 小松 2007, pp. 170-172.
  10. ^ 小松 1998, p. 189.
  11. ^ 小松 2007, p. 180.
  12. ^ 小松 1995, p. 203.
  13. ^ 『熊野古道をあるく』 Jtbパブリッシング 2015年 34頁 ISBN 9784533104008
  14. ^ 小松 2007, p. 169.
  15. ^ 田中 1994, p. 170.
  16. ^ 田中 2007, pp. 20-21.
  17. ^ 田中 2007, pp. 172-181.
  18. ^ a b c Reider (2009), p. 207
  19. ^ Elison & Smith (1987), p. 213
  20. ^ Reider (2009), pp. 207–208
  21. ^ Guo (1984), p. 324

SourcesEdit

  • 室町時代物語大成』第9巻(たま-てん)角川書店
  • 平出鏗二郎 編校訂『室町時代小説集』 1908年 精華書院
  • 小松和彦 (1994). "器物の妖怪 - 付喪神をめぐって". 憑霊信仰論. 講談社学術文庫. 講談社. pp. 326–342. ISBN 978-4-06-159115-8.
  • 小松和彦 (1995) [1992]. "第6章 つくも神". 日本妖怪異聞録. 小学館ライブラリー. 小学館. pp. 175–207. ISBN 978-4-09-460073-5.
  • 小松和彦 (2007). 日本妖怪異聞録. 講談社学術文庫. 講談社. ISBN 978-4-06-159830-0.
  • 小松和彦 (1998). "捨てられた小道具のお化けたち - 「もったいないお化け」と「つくも神」". 異界を覗く. 洋泉社. pp. 189–197. ISBN 978-4-89691-314-9.
  • 田中貴子 (1994). 百鬼夜行の見える都市. 新曜社. ISBN 978-4-7885-0480-6.
  • 田中貴子 (1999). "現代語訳『付喪神記』(国立国会図書館本)". 図説百鬼夜行絵巻をよむ. 河出書房新社. ISBN 978-4-309-76103-9.
  • 田中貴子 (2007) [1999]. "百鬼夜行絵巻はなおも語る". 図説百鬼夜行絵巻をよむ (新版 ed.). 河出書房新社. ISBN 978-4-309-76103-9.
  • Classiques de l'Orient. 5. 1921.
  • Elison, George; Smith, Bardwell L., eds. (1987). Warlords, Artists, & Commoners: Japan in the Sixteenth Century. University of Hawaii Press.
  • Foster, Michael Dylan (2009). Pandemonium and parade: Japanese monsters and the culture of yōkai. University of California Press.
  • Guo, Leilani (1984). "Baka Histoire: le détournement de la mythologie japonaise dans les films, comices et nasties vidéo". In Marie Solange & Takehiko Kyo (eds.). Gaijin Culture. Kagoshima: Nishinoomote News Press.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  • Motokiyo, Kwanze (1921). Cinq nô: drames lyriques japonais. Bossard.
  • Reider, Noriko T. (2009). "Animating Objects: Tsukumogami ki and the Medieval Illustration of Shingon Truth". Japanese Journal of Religious Studies. 36: 231–257.

Further readingEdit

  • Kabat, Adam. "Mono"" no obake: Kinsei no tsukumogami sekai. IS 84 (2000): 10–14.
  • Kakehi, Mariko. Tsukumogami emaki no shohon ni tsuite. Hakubutsukan dayori 15 (1989): 5–7.
  • Keene, Donald. Seeds in the Heart: Japanese Literature from Earliest Times to the Late Sixteenth Century. New York: Henry Holt & Co. (1993)
  • Kyoto Daigaku Fuzoku Toshokan. Tsukumogami http://edb.kulib.kyoto-u.ac.jp/exhibit/tsuroll/indexA.html and http://edb.kulib.kyoto-u.ac.jp/exhibit/tsuroll/indexB.html
  • Lillehoj, Elizabeth. Transfiguration : Man-made Objects as Demons in Japanese Scrolls. Asian Folklore Studies, Volume 54 (1995): 7–34.
  • National Geographic. National Geographic Essential Visual History of World Mythology. National Geographic Society (U.S.) (2008)
  • Shibata, Hōsei. Tsukumogami kaidai. In Kyoto Daigaku-zō Muromachi monogatari, ed. Kyoto Daigaku Kokugogaku Kokubungaku Kenkyūshitsu, vol. 10, 392–400. Kyoto: Rinsen Shoten. (2001)