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Chōchin-Obake

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Chōchin-Obake
Chochin-obake
Information
Japanese name 提灯お化け
Romanized name Chōchin-Obake
Meaning Paper lantern ghost
Type Tsukumogami

The Chōchin-Obake (提灯お化け or ちょうちんおばけ, Chōchin-Obake) is a possesed chochin lantern that usually has one eye and a long tongue protruding from a hole in the lantern acting as the spirit's mouth.

DescriptionEdit

They are usually made out of bamboo and paper or silk. Just like all the tsukumogami, the lantern comes to life after 100 years of service.

When a paper lantern, or a chōchin, reaches an advanced age, it sometimes becomes a chōchin obake. The paper splits along one of its wooden ribs, forming a gaping mouth with a wild, lolling tongue. One or two eyes pop out of the upper half of the lantern, and occasionally arms or legs may sprout from its body as well.

Like the karakasa-kozō, it rarely causes physical harm, preferring simply to surprise and scare humans, laughing and rolling its large tongue and big eyes at guests in the home. Occasionally, power onryō have been known to disguise themselves as chōchin obake: a case of one of the most dangerous supernatural entities masquerading as one of the most comical and harmless.

The Chōchin-obake also appears in the obake karuta card game, popular from the Edo period to the early 20th century (and still in use today).

GalleryEdit

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