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Tomino’s Hell - Endeavor the Curse

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Image for Tomino's Hell Poem

Words, something that hold power, power to think and understand one’s expression of mind for they drip from minds itself and create a world of their own. It is said that polysyllables are a sign of intelligence. These words are woven into wondrous genres of writing be it novel, stories or poetry. The diversification of these genres has no boundaries. Poetry among them has an essence to it that is spirited with emotions. It is a beautiful element of the overflow of powerful feelings. A thing as precious as that has nothing but a charm that lures readers to take a dive into the revelation of sentiments. No one can ever think of a poetry that has brought misery and sorrow or anything more terrible added to it such as death. There always stands an exception to every strand of possibility. Tomino’s Hell, a poem that is cursed to an extent that when read loudly brings out tragic consequences.

The lore about this poem says that one should read it in mind and isn’t supposed to be read out loud. One has to take the responsibility of their action and consequences followed by them. Tomino’s Hell is written by Yomota Inuhiko in a book called “The Heart is Like a Rolling Stone” and was included in Saizo Yaso’s 27th collection of poems in 1919. There’s no particular root of how the rumor rode the air but there has been a warning that came along with it resulting in ruinous repercussions.

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The story became famous on Sydney’s commercial radio station 2ch. A number of users took pictures and videos in order to collect proof. Many said that nothing really happened but there were certain posts that were shared indeed but the users didn’t seem to come back.

The story digs the tale of a young boy’s damnation, his descent into darkness. The urban Japanese legend states that one who dares to read it out loud meets a dead end. The soul follows little Tomino on his descend towards eternal darkness. The vague translation by Google was a pain to most of the readers and writers who fancy poetry but gladly David Bowles, who is a published author and teaches at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley, gave the internet this carefully translated version of the poem:

Tomino’s Hell - The Poem

Translated English Version

Original Japanese Version

Elder sister vomits blood,
younger sister’s breathing fire
while sweet little Tomino
just spits up the jewels.

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

All alone does Tomino
go falling into that hell,
a hell of utter darkness,
without even flowers.

hitori jigoku ni ochiyuku tomino,
jigoku kurayami hana mo naki.

Is Tomino’s big sister
the one who whips him?
The purpose of the scourging
hangs dark in his mind.

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.

Lashing and thrashing him, ah!
But never quite shattering.
One sure path to Avici,
the eternal hell.

tatake yatataki yare tatakazu totemo,
mugen jigoku wa hitotsu michi.

Into that blackest of hells
guide him now, I pray—
to the golden sheep,
to the nightingale.

kurai jigoku e anai wo tanomu,
kane no hitsu ni, uguisu ni.

How much did he put
in that leather pouch
to prepare for his trek to
the eternal hell?

kawa no fukuro ni yaikura hodoireyo,
mugen jigoku no tabishitaku.

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Spring is coming
to the valley, to the wood,
to the spiraling chasms
of the blackest hell.

春が 来て候(そろ)林に谿(たに)に、
haru ga kitesoru hayashi ni tani ni,
kurai jigoku tanina namagari.

The nightingale in her cage,
the sheep aboard the wagon,
and tears well up in the eyes
of sweet little Tomino.

kagoni yauguisu, kuruma ni yahitsuji,
kawaii tomino no me niya namida.

Sing, o nightingale,
in the vast, misty forest—
he screams he only misses
his little sister.

nakeyo, uguisu, hayashi no ame ni
妹恋しと 声かぎり。
imouto koishi to koe ga giri.

His wailing desperation
echoes throughout hell—
a fox peony
opens its golden petals.

nakeba kodama ga jigoku ni hibiki,
kitsunebotan no hana ga saku.

Down past the seven mountains
and seven rivers of hell—
the solitary journey
of sweet little Tomino.

jigoku nanayama nanatani meguru,
kawaii tomino no hitoritabi.

If in this hell they be found,
may they then come to me, please,
those sharp spikes of punishment
from Needle Mountain.

地獄ござらばもて 来てたもれ、
jigoku gozaraba mote kite tamore,
hari no oyama no tomebari wo.

Not just on some empty whim
Is flesh pierced with blood-red pins:
they serve as hellish signposts
for sweet little Tomino.

akai tomehari date niwa sasanu,
kawaii tomino no mejirushi ni.

—translated by David Bowles

The suffering and the darkness that Tomino encounters, the punishment he was given for his unnamed acts, for reasons unknown are the pointed interpretations of the poem. Tomino’s Hell, Jigoku or Avici, is not your regular go-to hell. It is the deepest of all hells, translated into English as “waveless”. The parents somehow haven’t been addressed directly in the poem and it is the sisters who are in the picture. Tomino possibly has a notion that his sister is the punisher that whips him and there comes a state of confusion when he isn’t really aware of the perpetrator. Another viewpoint is when one suffers punishment and violence the capability of getting themselves together is buried. People tend to have a false opinion of them being guilty and depressed. Tomino’s hell is a description of his guilt for his acts unknown and his pain and suffering, his darkest phase. Although there are certain other interpretations by people across the world but the warning stays the same. I will leave that to the reader’s discretion in case they are fond of taking risks in case they are willing to take the responsibility of their actions as such and wish to walk into Satan’s door of hell.

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