By "yokai phenomenon" I mean the way anything, anyone or even concepts/ideas can become magical, animate, sentient and possibly predatory, as commonly depicted in Japanese mythology and modern fiction. For example traditional Tsukumogami are lanterns, umbrellas, swords, walls, sandals, anything that has been used/treasured for a long time, or abandoned/abused in some unjust way. It's heavily implied and in some manga outright stated that yokai are the result of human mental projection, by projecting human traits upon the world the world in turn becomes personified by yokai.

This obviously is wildly unrealistic and totally supernatural so I'm not looking for any justification for the existence of this phenomenon, it's totally unjustifiable, irreducible and unreproducible. There's no manufacturing yokai, there's no predicting yokai except in the broadest sense (i.e. you can't stop the phenomenon by predicting somewhere at sometime it will occur) there's no hard rules about what a yokai can or cannot be.

Yokai can be beneficial or malevolent, they can be annoying, murderous, gift giving, life saving, or totally unconcerned with people. They don't breed, they don't need to eat but they can, they don't seem to die of old age and if you kill one it'll either revert to what it was or the remains will disappear the moment you look away. Dissecting them yields nothing, there's flesh but its nonsensical, an untrained artist's interpretation of biology, how and why they do the things they do cannot be deduced by reason.

I'll provide more details if needed.

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    $\begingroup$ What aspect of society are you especially interested in hearing about? All of society is far too broad a question. I defaulted to thinking about this as a religion. $\endgroup$ – Green Jul 19 '16 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ We'd all be a lot more careful about how our broken old stuff was disposed of. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jul 19 '16 at 12:12
  • $\begingroup$ A good place to start would how does yokai come into the society, it could be as simple as a soul which chooses to attach itself to real world because it has somethings left to do, and is slowly deformed due to lack of identity, or objects which has affected a lot of people, gains life, like katana which cuts many people, or a throne which has many rulers. and thus predict effect, if it were truely random as you put it, humans would probably kill yokai regardless of its desire to avert risk. $\endgroup$ – Chinu Jul 19 '16 at 13:28
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe break this up into a series, focusing on different aspects of society? I suggest taking the major pieces (economy, religion, science, etc) and putting some thought into how you think things would be, and then post questions about the parts that still have you stumped. That'll narrow the focus quite a bit, give you more useful answers, and give people a better place to start from. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Jul 19 '16 at 16:33
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    $\begingroup$ The idea behind this question reminds me a little of Warehouse 13... Not an answer to the question, but more of a justification for the existence of the phenomenon idea; If your world has loose spirits that crave attention, but are unable to interact with reality on their own. So they attach to beloved objects, or abused objects, things that receive the kind of attention that they crave, and in doing so gain substance... Just an idea. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Jul 19 '16 at 16:45

Waste Disposal

We currently send a lot of stuff to landfill. This would be replaced by a much higher rate of shredding and incineration. Leaving old items around would be too risky so they have to be comprehensively destroyed.


No longer a bit of a social joke, hoarders are now a menace to society. The more stuff they build up the greater the risk of dangerous yokai.

Inherited Tools/Weapons

My great-grandfather's handmade tools that I haven't used very much are now high risk items. People will have to take much greater care of such things, especially heirlooms.

Ultimately, while they can be beneficial, the risk of them being dangerous means it's not worth risking them at all. Action would need to be taken to prevent such items building up. If ownership of a discarded old umbrella or mattock was traced then the person who abandoned it should be charged with endangering the public.


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