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kisɯme (♫)
The Fearsome Well Spirit
More Character Titles



Dropping will-o'-the-wisps



Official Games
Print Works

Kisume (キスメ) is a rather shy Tsurube-otoshi who usually spends her time in buckets. She is often seen in dark places such as caves or wells. As a midboss with no dialogue and a sparse official profile, little is known about her.

General Information

Kisume was the stage 1 midboss of Subterranean Animism and has made a cameo appearance in Oriental Sacred Place chapter 10 and Forbidden Scrollery chapter 2.


Though her usual activities are a mystery, ZUN described her as cruel and violent, who would probably "go ahead and chop your head off, put it in her bucket, and go home".[1]


Ability to drop will-o'-the-wisps

It is to literally drop will-o'-the-wisps from the objective that is on top of her head. It probably comes from her species as tsurubebi (釣瓶火, lit. "well-bucket fire"), thought to be the same as tsurube-otoshi. Her spell cards have many that drop danmaku vertically, which would be the specialty of her species.

Character Design


Tsurube otoshi (lit. bucket dropper) are a type of youkai believed to have originated in the Chuubu region of Japan. They usually live atop trees, and when humans come close to the tree a bucket or a severed head drops down and eats them. They are also sometimes depicted as flaming spirits. There is also a traditional Japanese proverb somewhat related to her species: "The autumn sun descends like a bucket falling into a well" (秋の陽は釣瓶落とし Aki no Hi wa Tsurube Otoshi). It is a proverb used to indicate how the days in Autumn get shorter.


Her full name is Kisume (キスメ). According to ZUN, her name is written in katakana to give it an old feel, and it's not written in kanji because "that would make her seem too strong".[2]


Kisume has a pale skin with dark teal hair tied up in pigtails by white hair beads. The bucket she sits in is a cherry brown with black hoops near the top and bottom. She wears a white robe with an obi.


Windows Games

Subterranean Animism
Kisume's sprite in SA

In the events of Subterranean Animism, she attacks the heroine on her way to the underground by dropping on her. She is disposed of quickly.


Double Spoiler

In Double Spoiler, Kisume appeared as a stage 3 target, where she uses a few spell cards and had Aya Shameimaru and Hatate Himekaidou take photos of her and her danmaku.


Symposium of Post-mysticism
Kisume as she appears in Symposium of Post-mysticism.

Back in 1984, Aya Shameimaru reports that during Gensokyo's winter, children had found skeletal remains of a human while playing around a dried-up well, to which it ended up that the well was declared to be off-limits. Apparently, a tsurube-otoshi youkai (presumably Kisume) came out of the well saying "So is THIS the body you dropped down here?" and threw the bones at them. There was no one missing, so who the bones belonged to is a mystery.

The bones disappeared while no one was looking during preparations to bury them in Muenzuka. This rolled onto a case of whether there was any sort of incident or not, along with the identity of the previous owner of the bones. Yukari Yakumo thought it was by the youkai from the Underworld and that they wanted to scare the humans since their powers come from the negative energy of humans, but it may've been a simple misunderstanding. Due to a non-intervention pact with between the underground youkai and Gensokyo, the situation was noted as potentially problematic.

The incident was settled as silver birch branches have been mistaken for bones, to which no ominous occurrences had happened at the Human Village. At a later date, it was confirmed that the dried-up well was filled in with dirt; who did this is unknown.




Spell Cards

Spell Cards
Name Translated Comments Games Stage
Total: 3
怪奇「釣瓶落としの怪」 Horror "Tsurube-Otoshi Apparition" SA
St. 1: H/L
釣瓶「飛んで井の中」 Well Bucket "Like a Moth to a Well" DS St. 3
釣瓶「ウェルディストラクター」 Well Bucket "Well Destructor" DS St. 3

Additional Information


Official Profiles

Subterranean Animism - キャラ設定.txt
Kisume SA  ○1面中ボス 恐るべき井戸の怪




Stage 1 mid-boss The Fearsome Well Spirit


Species: Tsurube otoshi
Ability: Dropping will-o'-the-wisps

A fearsome youkai who drops straight down onto you from above when you're walking the streets late at night.
She usually lives in caves or wells. She's a bashful youkai who likes confined spaces, so she usually spends her time inside buckets.

Official Sources

Official sources


  1. Symposium of Post-mysticism: Interview with ZUN
  2. Cara☆Mel‎ (25 December 2008). "Interview on Subterranean Animism with Cara☆Mel‎" (in 日本語). Retrieved 22 August 2011.