•About this Yokai•
Dorotabō - 泥田坊
The Muddy spirit of a Poor hard working rice farmer who purchased a small rice paddy for his heirs: He worked day and night, weather it was cold, hot windy or rainy to make the plot of land fertile... he eventually passed away. - But then his children sold the farmland for booze money! 🍶- “Ingrates!! that was my lifes work! my legacy!!” - Now a dark figure rises from the mud every night reaching out and crying: “Ta-kase! Ta-kase!! ‘Till my Paddy...” — it craves revenge, but... I doubt their kids will ever visit again...
Some recent theory's have suggested that Dorotabo, could also have been referring to a recently (at the time) developed entertainment district (There's a hidden meaning in the text which in a round about- (& difficult to translate) -way which refers to Yoshiwara (a red light district which might have recently been built over farmlands around the time this yokai was drawn.)
So: in addition to the farmer story that Sekien included, the yokai could also have been a Personification/commentary of the area. Another interpretation of Dorotabo could be that he’s the spirit of the muddy paddy itself rather than the farmer, Furious with its current owners for not taking good care of the fields and now indulging in sin.[It's hands have 3 fingers each: Many yokai in art from the time where drawn with 3 fingers, to be symbolic of the 3 Buddhist poisons: Jealousy, Hatred and Delusion.]
A lot of people draw Dorotabo decaying like literal corpse or calling him a zombie, (and I guess that’s sort of correct) but Toriyama's verse doesn't mention what happened with the mans body. Just that he was hard working and that a "dark figure' appeared out of the land every night & crying, so i think he's more like a vengeful ghost covered in mud, rather than a "zombie" proper. 🧟♂️
last slide: This yokai is featured in Gazu Hyakki Yagyos sequel - “Konjaku Hyakki Shui” (18th century scroll by Toriyama Sekien.)