Tofu-Kozo in Japanese Literature

Katsukawa_Shuntei_Tofu-kozoYou might want to look behind you if you happen to be walking alone on a dark rainy night – the Tofu-Kozo might be right behind you, waiting to offer you his special tofu. Nobody really knows where he came from, but he seems to be everywhere, and he’s been around for a very long time.

In literature from the Showa and Heisei eras and beyond, it is frequently written that they would appear on rainy nights, and recommend the relish of tōfu to people passing by, but halfway into eating it a mold would grow

[ . . .] In the original kusazōshi, they did not possess any special powers, and they often appear as servants that bring tōfu and sake here and there in the town,[4] and it is also changed in senryū such poems like “tōfu-kozō are servant monsters (豆腐小僧ハ化ものゝ小間使ひ

Just to be safe, you’d better read up about Tofu-Kozo. It’s starting to rain . . .the evening approaches . . . what’s that behind you?!

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