Shamichouro, Kotofurunushi, Biwabokuboku三味長老

TRANSLATION: elder shamisen

APPEARANCE: A shamisen is a three-stringed guitar-like instrument.

BEHAVIOR: A shamisen that was once played by a master but no longer receives any use, either because the master died or because he started using another instrument, transforms into the shami chōrō.

ORIGIN: Musical instruments, because of their high value, are often kept around long enough to turn into tsukumogami. Those instruments which were once played by a master, but now sit idle and unused are the most likely to develop into yokai, sadly wishing to be played once again.

Shami-chōro’s name is a play on words, written with characters meaning shamisen master, but also invoking the old Japanese proverb, “Shami kara chōrō ni wa nararezu,” meaning, “One cannot go from novice to senior.” In other words, only through many years of practice can one become a master.