The Temple of the Golden Pavilion – Tsukumogami

Towards the end of the book, Mizoguchi considers his next big action (and if you know anything about the book, you know what I’m talking about) to be something that would “open the eyes of men to the disasters of the Tsukumogami and save them from those disasters.”

Tsukumogami are part of Japanese folklore and were also used in some Buddhist teachings. They are household items (silverware, pots, brooms, so on) that, having ‘served’ for 100 years, receive their own souls. They are mostly harmless, maybe mischievous and happy to prank their past owners, or maybe angry if they were mistreated or broken…

There are stories of specific types of Tsukumogami; some are loyal and kind, others are characterized as malevolent. Many seek the company of their own kind. The abumi-guchi was once a stirrup. Upon becoming a Tsukumogami, he lies and waits for his soldier, who is probably deceased, to return for him. Boroborotons were once futons. Those that were neglected may wander the house at night and throw people off their beds or even try to strangle them (unfortunately, it isn’t the only item that tends to want to strangle you…). Others might just throw a party with the other Tsukumogami of the house while you’re away. Koto-furunushis are the Tsukumogami of koto instruments. Those that were played often and with love are often content and will perform songs for you, especially the ones that you practiced often. Kotos that are neglected, however, turn sad and run away with other Tsukumogami.


Thus before spring equinox, you should conduct a “house-sweeping”, where one gathers all the old items and utensils in the house and throws them out. Still worried? Consider building a shrine for the items you have broken and neglected and apologize!

2 thoughts on “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion – Tsukumogami

  1. Pingback: This Week in Review: 09/04/2015 | Like Bears to Honey

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