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March 25th, 2013 (01:47 am)
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Yōsei (妖精?, bewitching spirit) is a Japanese word that is generally synonymous with the English term fairy (フェアリー?). Today this word usually refers to spirits from Western legends, but occasionally it may also denote a creature from native Japanese folklore. For example, according to an old folk belief from Iwate Prefecture, it was once feared that the yōsei could bring the dead back to life. It's also mentioned that the people of Mt. Hōrai are small fairies that have no knowledge of great evil, and so their hearts never grow old. The Ainu also tell of a race of small people known as the Koro-pok-guru in their folklore. Another fairy-like being from Japan is the Kijimuna, tree sprites told in the Ryukyuan religion of Okinawa.


Zashiki warashi (座敷童/座敷童子 zashiki warashi?), sometimes also called Zashiki bokko (座敷ぼっこ zashiki bokko?, sitting room basking), is a yōkai, stemming from Iwate Prefecture. It is similar to the Russian folk story of the Domovoi.
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According to folklore, to attract and maintain a zashiki warashi in the home it is said that "the spirit must be noticed, appreciated and cared for properly, much in the manner one would raise a child, though too much attention may drive it off." As the zashiki warashi is child-like in nature, it is prone to playing harmless pranks and occasionally causing mischief. They might, for instance, "sit on a guest's futon, turn people's pillows over or cause sounds similar to kagura music to be heard from rooms no one uses." Sometimes they leave little footsteps in ashes. There are different variations as to who can see the zashiki warashi; usually this is limited to inhabitants of the house, sometimes to children.[citation needed]

The appearance of this spirit is that of a 5 or 6 year child with bobbed hair and a red face. Zashiki warashi can be found in well-maintained and preferably large old houses. It is said that once a zashiki warashi inhabits a house, it brings the residence great fortune; on the other hand, should a zashiki warashi depart, the domain soon falls into a steep decline.