the online database of Japanese folklore



Translation: snake obi (a kimono sash)

Appearance: The jatai is an animated kimono sash that slithers around like a giant snake during the night.

Origin: An old folk belief from Ehime Prefecture and other parts of Japan says that if you lay your obi out near your pillow while you sleep, you will dream of snakes. Because the word for a snake’s body (jashin) is the same as the word for a wicked heart, it is said that the obi itself turns into a murderous tsukumogami called a jatai. The jatai hunts after men, strangling them in their sleep.

Alphabetical list of yōkai