Chin-Chin Kobakama

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  • #0709
  • Chinese and Japanese Chinese and Japanese (culture)
  • Domestic Domestic (attribute)
  • Sorcery and Medicinal Sorcery and Medicinal (attribute)
  • Haunting Haunting (behaviour)
  • Fairies and Nymphs Fairies and Nymphs (common type)

Japanese fairies that tease little children by making faces, laughing and singing 'Chin-Chin Kobakama'.

There was once a girl who was very very lazy. she had married a warrior who spent much of his time out at war while she was at home. When they first moved in together they did not have many servants for the girl wanted to do more things herself - as a child - the servants did everything! However over time she had not much to do and became very lazy.

One night when her husband was away on duty she awoke to hear noise from under the mat. From the dirty mat which he had not washed in a while came little Japanese warriors dressed exactly like her husband - shoulder pads, a long robe, hair tied back and armed with spears. They said:

“Chin-chin Kobakama, Yomo fuké soro,
Oshizumare, Hime-gimi!
Ya ton ton!”

Which meant:

“We are the Chin-chin Kobakama;
the hour is late;
sleep, honourable noble darling!”

Although that sounded polite they said it in a mocking manner, pulling face and jeering their spears at her. The lady was frightened and and tried to crush them but the little men ran away - they were too nimble and quick for her. She tried to drive them away but they kept running around laughing and singing "Chin-chin Kobakama". They danced around her until morning and then vanished. This happened many nights in a row and eventually her husband came back.

She thought that her husband would laugh at her for being so frightened over 'Fairies' so she kept quiet. But this did not work - her husband knew that she was shaken up and so he asked her why she was so frightened. The lady told her husband but her husband didn't laugh. Instead he was curious. "What time do they come?" he asked her. "At the hour of the ox" she replied. This is around 2am in modern western times.

So he stayed up hiding in the closet until 2am. Nothing happened. Silence. But then all os a sudden the little warriors came up dancing and mocking the lady. The husband burst out of the wardrobe and unsheathed his sword. But then when he looked down he saw no little men but toothpicks instead - lots of toothpicks. In turned out that the spirits had transformed the toothpicks into little men to teach the lady a lesson - don't be messy and throw toothpicks on the ground, put them in the bin. The husband had the toothpicks burnt and they were never troubled by the little people again.

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Does Chin-Chin Kobakama Exist?