Kosode no te (小袖の手)

Kosode no te (literally, the hand of kosode [short sleeved kimono]) is one of Japanese yokai (monsters, spirits, ghosts and specters) which is drawn in Sekien TORIYAMA's yokai art collection book "Konjaku Hyakki Shui" (Supplement to The Hundred Demons from the Present and the Past). It is one of tsukumogami (a type of Japanese spirits that originate in items or artifacts that have reached their 100th birthday and become alive).

A female ghost's hand and arm stretching out from a sleeve of kosode (high-class kimono with narrow-wrist sleeves) is the kosode no te. Properly, kosode of a dead person should be inherited as a memento or offered to a temple where prayers were said for the owner's soul, but when a high-class kosode was sold off, it was possessed by the owner's ghost who had failed to become Buddha, thus making the Kosode no te come into being.

"Yokai Gadan Zenshu (Complete Collection of Discussions on Monster Art) Japan Vol.1," a book by a folklorist Morihiko FUJISAWA, includes the following story. Sometime during the Keicho era (1596-1615), a man who lived in Kyoto and was called Shichizaemon MATSUYA bought a kimono for his daughter at a secondhand clothes store. Soon the daughter was attacked by a disease. Furthermore, Shichizaemon witnessed a female ghost in his house, who was wearing the very same kimono with the one he bought for his daughter. Shichizaemon felt that kimono was eerie and decided to sell it off, so that he hung it on the iko (a rack for hanging kimono) for a while. Then a pale hand and arm stretched out from the edge of the sleeve. A closer look at kimono proved that the cloth had been cut diagonally from the shoulder to the underarm and then it had been sewn up skillfully for cover-up. He thought that the kimono should have belonged to a woman servant who had gotten slashed to death by her master of buke (a samurai family), and he therefore offered it to the family temple to mourn for the dead, thus resulting in recovery of his daughter.

[Original Japanese]