Shamichoro (三味長老)

Shamichoro is a Japanese specter that is introduced in "Hyakki Tsurezure Bukuro" (One hundred bags in idleness), a collection of specters illustrations by Sekien TORIYAMA. It is pointed out as one of the creations of Sekien. It is a type of Tsukumo-gami (gods to a variety of things), and it is considered that a samisen (a three-stringed Japanese banjo) which had once been used by a master player had transformed into a specter after being thrown away.

According to the explanatory note on Shamichoro by Sekien in "Hyakki Tsurezure Bukuro", an old proverb "you cannot become a choro (senior monk) from a shami" is mentioned which means a higher rank cannot be achieved without following the proper sequence. Shami which is mentioned here means men who have not become Buddhist monk even if they have become a priest, and choro means Kokushichoro who were the greatest of all Buddhist monks at the time. In other words, the theory holds that it takes many years for a samisen to become a shamichoro, just as it takes a long time and sufficient training for a shami to become a choro.

[Original Japanese]