the online database of Japanese folkore

Kutsutsura

沓頬
くつつら

Translation: shoe face
Habitat: homes

Appearance: Kutsutsura are tsukumogami of shoes. They can take either a human form or an animal form. In human form, they look like a court noble wearing a shoe as a hat. In animal form, they appear as a round, hairy, beast with a fur boot for a snout.

Origin: Kutsutsura appear in Toriyama Sekien’s book Hyakki tsurezure bukuro. They are a pun based on an ancient Chinese saying: “Do not adjust your shoes in a melon patch, and do not adjust your hat under a plum tree.” The phrase is a warning to avoid compromising situations. Someone who takes off their shoes in a melon patch or fiddles with their hat under a plum tree might give the impression that they are stealing fruit in their shoes or under their hat. In other words, it is wise to avoid doing anything that might give others reason to doubt you.

Alphabetical list of yōkai