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The Chanchanko (ちゃんちゃんこ Chanchanko, lit. Vest) or more properly called the Spirit Hair Chanchanko (霊毛ちゃんちゃんこ Reimō Chanchanko, lit. Spirit Hair Vest) is a padded, sleeveless kimono vest. A black and yellow striped Chanchanko is an iconic part of Kitarō's attire as well as one of his most important weapons.



About

When a member of the Ghost Tribe dies, they leave behind a single hair known as a Spirit Hair (霊毛, Reige). Kitarō's Chanchanko was made by knitting several of these hairs together. Although in the original rental story The Birth of Kitarō, six year old Kitarō is shown already wearing it, its origin and powers are not revealed until The Vampire and the Neko-Musume. In An Odd Fellow, it is retconned that Medama-Oyaji gave it to him when he was seven years old.

In the 1st anime, Medama-Oyaji says that it was a gift for Kitarō from Enma-Daiō.

During Zoku GeGeGe no Kitarō and Shin GeGeGe no Kitarō, Kitarō wore the Chanchanko as a sweater instead of a kimono vest.

Personality

While chanchanko is depicted as an item, other than being used by spirits of ancestors, it has been occasionally noted to have its own personality along with Geta in the manga. When it angers, it turns red.

Powers and uses

It is capable of changing its size and shape, making it a multipurpose utility that Kitarō would have trouble getting by without. It is very durable and can repel most attacks, Furthermore, even if it is burnt or torn up it will always repair itself to pristine condition. Medama-Oyaji can also use it to glide through the sky. Because of Kitarō's stored yōkai energy, it can even come alive and move on its own in desperate situations. Normally Kitarō makes it fly toward an opponent and wrap around them, but it can also transform into weapons such as a sword, a javelin, a pseudo extendable arm, a glove, a throwing weapon, or a Yōkai energy cannon. It can also be used as a rope or whip, and spinning it around can create a gust of wind. It can also absorb and fire off energy such as Tsurube-Bi or to redirect another Yōkai's fire or to channel Kitarō's electrical powers. When Ittan-Momen's tail was cut, the Chanchanko was able to attach to him in order to compensate for his injured tail (5th anime, Ep. 74).

In emergency situations, it can separate into pieces to spell out words (1st anime, Ep. 52), act as a life jacket (1st anime, Ep. 65) or used as a parachute (4th anime, Ep. 106)

In the 4th anime, it is established that if he can use it to compress enemy Yōkai and drain their energy. Few Yōkai can tear it when restrained, although both Rakshasa's hair abilities (4th anime, Ep. 89) and Nurarihyon's poison claws (5th anime, Ep. 85) have been able to. In the case of Rakshasa, the spirit hairs still remained, so the Chanchanko repaired itself soon after, while with the latter situation it had to be repaired by Miu's healing abilities.

Because it is made of the protective spirit hairs of Kitarō's ancestors, whoever wears the Chanchanko can enter and leave Jigoku while still alive. Even when forcibly sent to the Spirit Realm by Miage-Nyūdō, the Chanchanko allowed Kitarō to return alive. In some cases, the spirits of the ancestors even take action through the Chanchanko, such as in The Great Yōkai War when the Chanchanko helped Medama-Oyaji save Kitarō.

When Kitarō is severely damaged, the Chanchanko will envelop him and help him heal. If he is liquidated, it will become liquidated with him. Kitarō loses his power when he doesn't wear the Chanchanko.

If someone else tries to wear the Chanchanko, Kitarō can use his willpower to make it tighten and constrict them. Such as in the case of Kasa-Bake using it (4th anime), or Mōryō possessing his body (4th anime). He can also speak to them through it and see what they are seeing. While Kitarō used these powers in Yōkai Castle, for some reason he didn't use them when it was stolen from him by Kasa-Bake.

In Hakaba Kitarō and its anime adaptation is shown that Kitarō's Chanchanko can be stolen: in this case, Kitarō's powers will be greatly weakened (as he lost the blessing of his ancestors) and the thief/new wearer would gain some of the Chanchanko's power instead, like being able to traverse Jigoku.

In the 4th anime (Ep. 27), Kitarō uses a move called Yōkai Tornado, where he stores Yōkai energy into his hand, transfers it to the Chanchanko, and spins the Chanchanko violently to create a whirlwind to dissolve Nozuchi's inner dimension portal.

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