The Bake-zōri (Jap. 化け草履, meaning "ghost sandal") is a fictional creature from traditional Japanese folklore and belongs to the Yōkai group. The Bake-zōri is a fictional creature from traditional Japanese folklore and belongs to the Yōkai group.
The Bake-zōri is described as a walking straw sandal that comes to life and makes inhabited houses unsafe. He has two arms and legs, but only one eye.
He is said to run around the house, especially at night, incessantly chanting "Kararin, kororin, kankororin, managu mittsu ni ha ninmai" (カラリン、コロリン、カンコロリン、まなぐ三つに歯二ん枚; to transl. "Kararin, kororin, kankororin! Please [give me] three eyes and two teeth!") shout.
The design model was probably the Zōri, traditional thong sandals made of woven rice straw. They consist of a sole and two straps that pass between the big toe and the second toe.
The oldest illustrations of bake-zōri are found in a scroll from the Muromachi period. There, a bake-zori in rice straw armor is seen riding a horse-like dragon.
The earliest depictions of anthropomorphic bake-zōri date to the Edo period.
However, traditions also exist describing bake-zōri as wooden geta, which is why it is sometimes speculated that the name "bake-zōri" simply describes any type of ensouled footwear. Bake-zōri are the most common type of footwear.
The being Bake-zōri belongs to a special group of Yōkai, the Tsukumogami (付喪神, meaning "artifact spirits"): according to Japanese folklore, household appliances and musical instruments of all kinds can transform into Yōkai after 100 years have passed, because they too possess a soul.
Bake-zōri also develop a life of their own when they reach their "100th birthday", having been ignored too often during that time and feeling useless. In retaliation for being neglected (and out of sheer boredom), they stalk and frighten householders and walkers.
Other Bake-zōri seek out and associate with other tsukumogami. Or they leave the house and simply run away.