Tomino's hell

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3 years ago

This is a popular Japanese story, it is about a poem called "Tomino's Hell." They say that you should only read with your mind, and never out loud. If you were to read it out loud, then you must take responsibility for your actions.

Apparently the story of a young boy’s damnation for unnamed acts, “Tomino’s Hell” was published, I discovered, in a 1919 collection of poetry by Saijō Yaso titled Sakin or Gold Dust. The poet was a university professor and lived in France for a time, studying at the Sorbonne; his work is heavily influenced by French poets, especially symbolists like Arthur Rimbaud, Stéphane Mallarmé and Paul Valéry (with whom he became friends). Though Saijō’s later work was ostensibly for children, it was filled with strange symbols and wordplay that could be quite unsettling.

Well here you can read both original and translation of the story:

Original text:

トミノの地獄

Tomino no Jigoku

姉は血を吐く、妹(いもと)は火吐く、

ane wa chi wo haku, imoto wa hihaku,

可愛いトミノは 宝玉(たま)を吐く。

kawaii tomino wa tama wo haku

ひとり地獄に落ちゆくトミノ、

hitori jigoku ni ochiyuku tomino,

地獄くらやみ花も無き。

jigoku kurayami hana mo naki.

鞭で叩くはトミノの姉か、

muchi de tataku wa tomino no ane ka,

鞭の朱総(しゅぶさ)が 気にかかる。

muchi no shuso ga ki ni kakaru.

叩けや叩きやれ叩かずとても、

tatake yatataki yare tatakazu totemo,

無間地獄はひとつみち。

mugen jigoku wa hitotsu michi.

暗い地獄へ案内(あない)をたのむ、

kurai jigoku e anai wo tanomu,

金の羊に、鶯に。

kane no hitsu ni, uguisu ni.

皮の嚢(ふくろ)にやいくらほど入れよ、

kawa no fukuro ni yaikura hodoireyo,

無間地獄の旅支度。

mugen jigoku no tabishitaku.

春が 来て候(そろ)林に谿(たに)に、

haru ga kitesoru hayashi ni tani ni,

暗い地獄谷七曲り。

kurai jigoku tanina namagari.

籠にや鶯、車にや羊、

kagoni yauguisu, kuruma ni yahitsuji,可愛いトミノの眼にや涙。

kawaii tomino no me niya namida.

啼けよ、鶯、林の雨に

nakeyo, uguisu, hayashi no ame ni

妹恋しと 声かぎり。

imouto koishi to koe ga giri.

啼けば反響(こだま)が地獄にひびき、

nakeba kodama ga jigoku ni hibiki,

狐牡丹の花がさく。

kitsunebotan no hana ga saku.

地獄七山七谿めぐる、

jigoku nanayama nanatani meguru,

可愛いトミノのひとり旅。

kawaii tomino no hitoritabi.

地獄ござらばもて 来てたもれ、

jigoku gozaraba mote kite tamore,

針の御山(おやま)の留針(とめはり)を。

hari no oyama no tomebari wo.

赤い留針だてにはささぬ、

akai tomehari date niwa sasanu,

可愛いトミノのめじるしに。

kawaii tomino no mejirushi ni.

**********

English translation:

Tomino’s Hell1

Elder sister vomits blood,

younger sister’s breathing fire

while sweet little Tomino

just spits up the jewels.

All alone does Tomino

go falling into that hell,

a hell of utter darkness,

without even flowers.

Is Tomino’s big sister

the one who whips him?

The purpose of the scourging

hangs dark in his mind.

Lashing and thrashing him, ah!

But never quite shattering.

One sure path to Avici,(blackest of hells)

the eternal hell.

Into that blackest of hells

guide him now, I pray—

to the golden sheep,

to the nightingale.

How much did he put

in that leather pouch

to prepare for his trek to

the eternal hell?

Spring is coming

to the valley, to the wood,

to the spiraling chasms

of the blackest hell.

The nightingale in her cage,

the sheep aboard the wagon,

and tears well up in the eyes

of sweet little Tomino.

Sing, o nightingale,

in the vast, misty forest—

he screams, but he only misses

his little sister.

His wailing desperation

echoes throughout hell—

a fox peony

opens its golden petals.

Down past the seven mountains

and seven rivers of hell—

the solitary journey

of sweet little Tomino.

If in this hell they be found,

may they then come to me, please,

those sharp spikes of punishment

from Needle Mountain.

Not just on some empty whim

Is flesh pierced with blood-red pins:

they serve as hellish signposts

for sweet little Tomino.

—translated by AMAX33

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