Soroban Bozu (Abacus imp) (算盤坊主)

Soroban Bozu or Soroban Kozo is a ghost whose stories are told in Tanba Province (Kyoto Prefecture).


This ghost frightens people by making sounds as if someone was using an abacus in a quiet place such as under a tree along a deserted road. When a person walks towards the sound, it stops but then the sound starts coming from another place, and the ghost is said to be never to appear in front of a human being.

In Warouji, Nishi betsuin-mura village, Funai-gun county (currently Kameoka-shi City), it is said that if you walk near the Seiko-ji Temple in Warouji late at night, the ghost would appear under a Japanese nutmeg tree near the temple, and true to his name, it would appear as a Buddhist monk busily using an abacus. A young Buddhist monk is said to have committed suicide by hanging himself from that tree when he made a mistake in calculating with abacus and was reprimanded by the chief monk. The ghost is said to be the spirit of that young monk. Some say that it is hallucination created by a raccoon.

It is also said that a young boy appears under a tree in the grounds of Susano-jinja Shrine next to the Seiko-ji Temple between midnight and one in the morning and practices an abacus. A legend has it that this boy was the Buddhist monk named Eishu BANNAN who founded the Seiko-ji Temple, and that soroban bozu is this monk studying hard at night without being noticed by anyone when he was young.

[Original Japanese]