the online database of Japanese folkore

Nando babā

納戸婆
なんどばばあ

Translation: storeroom hag
Habitat: storerooms, closets
Diet: whatever they can find

Appearance: Nando babā is an old hag who haunts storerooms and closets, especially in western Japan. They look like short, ugly, balding old women in ragged clothing.

Behavior: Nando babā make their homes in storerooms, sheds, and closets. The darker and dirtier the better. They are shy and jumpy, so they prefer storerooms which remain closed during the day and are only rarely opened.

Interactions: Nando babā are not violent and don’t do anything particularly harmful to humans. When someone opens the storeroom door, they quickly scurry away and hide, and so they are rarely encountered. If the door is opened suddenly and they are taken by surprise, they will leap out of the storeroom screaming, and chase people around the house. If you strike them on the head with a broom, they will become disoriented. Then they will run away and hide under the floorboards.

In some areas, nando babā are believed to steal newborn infants. However, this is due to confusion between nando babā and the much more dangerous yama uba.

Origin: Nando babā were probably once protector spirits, a kind of house god which inhabited storerooms. In ancient Japanese religion, there were different tutelary deities for every part of the house. As ancient traditions were replaced by newer ones, old customs died away, leaving yōkai in place of the forgotten gods.

Alphabetical list of yōkai