the online database of Japanese folkore

Azuki hakari


Translation: the bean counter
Habitat: rural villages, homes, attics, and gardens
Diet: unknown

Appearance: A possible relative to azuki arai are the azuki hakari, or “the bean counters.” A poltergeist found in some homes and temples, these yōkai are known only by the sounds they make. They are said to dwell in attics or gardens, and are most active at night. Azuki hakari have never been seen directly—only heard. Though similar in name and habit to their azuki-related cousins, azuki hakari have traits distinct enough to classify them as separate yōkai.

Behavior: Azuki hakari appear in homes late at night, after midnight. An encounter usually begins with the sound of heavy footsteps in the space between the attic and the roof. Shortly after, a rhythmic sound like dried azuki beans being scattered can be heard against the windows or sliding doors leading outside. The sound grows progressively louder, and gradually changes into the sound of splashing water, then finally to the sound of geta—Japanese wooden sandals—walking just outside the room. Opening the doors or windows causes the noise to stop, revealing no sign of any creature; nor any beans or puddles or markings

Because of the difficulty of direct observation of all azuki spirits, it is likely that some of the stories about azuki arai may in fact be about encounters with azuki hakari, especially those which take place near homes or away from rivers.

Alphabetical list of yōkai