Tsukumogami are a type of Japanese spirit.
According to the Tsukumogami-emaki, tsukumogami originate from items or artifacts that have reached their 100th birthday and thus become alive and aware. Any object of this age, from swords to toys, can become a tsukumogami. Tsukumogami are considered spirits and supernatural beings, as opposed to enchanted items.
It is said that modern items cannot become tsukumogami; the reason for this is that tsukumogami are said to be repelled by electricity. Additionally, few modern items are used for the 100-year-span that it takes for an artifact to gain a soul.
Tsukumogami vary radically in appearance, depending on the type of item they originated from as well as the condition that item was in. Some, such as tsukumogami originating from paper lanterns or broken sandals, can have tears which become eyes and sharp teeth, thus giving a horrifying visage. Others, such as worn prayer beads or teacups, may merely manifest faces and appendages, giving a warm and friendly appearance.
Some of the better known tsukumogami include the following:
- Bakezōri : straw sandals
- Karakasa (or Kasa Obake) : umbrellas
- Chōchinobake : lanterns
- Biwa-yanagi : biwa
- Kameosa : old jars
- Shirouneri : thrown away, useless mosquito netting; or dust cloths
- Jotai : cloth draped from folding screens
- Morinji-no-okama : tea kettle
- Kyourinrin : scrolls and paper
- Zorigami : clocks
- Abumi-guchi : stirrup
Though by and large tsukumogami are harmless and at most tend to play occasional pranks on unsuspecting victims, as shown in the Otogizoshi they do have the capacity for anger and will band together to take revenge on those who are wasteful or throw them away thoughtlessly. To prevent this, to this day some Jinja ceremonies, such as the Hari Kuyou, are performed to console broken and unusable items.
Though they generally considered as mythical or legendary beings, almost all of tsukumogami with names are artistic production created in Edo period. The most popular artist is Toriyama Sekien, but other numerous artists added their own creatures to the list of tsukumogami. Folk narratives about tsukumogami are rare but exist in some folktales (e.g. Bakemono-dera).
- Moé-chan, a French-made automaton from the Love Hina anime series, is identified as a "tsukumogami".
- The villain in The Great Yokai War creates mechanical monsters by combining less malicious yokai with the angry spirits of discarded objects.
- In the second season of Jigoku Shojo, the character Ichimoku Ren is revealed to be the tsukumogami spirit of a katana.
- In the Super Sentai series GoGo Sentai Boukenger, tsukumogami are monsters created by Dark Shadow .
- Medicine Melancholy, a character from the Touhou series, may be a doll-type tsukumogami.