•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...
History & theories:
[as it appears in Gazu Hyakki Yagyos sequel - “Konjaku Hyakki Shui” (1781) 18th century scroll by Toriyama Sekien.) toriyama sekiens Konjaku Hyakki Shūi]
...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.] -
- Some recent theory's have suggested that Dorotabo, could also have been referring to a recently developed entertainment district Yoshiwara (a red light district in tokyo) which would have been built over farmlands around the time this yokai was drawn!) - "dorota wo bo de utsu" literally, "sticking the pole in the rice paddy". (In other words, its a dirty pun.) - So, in addition to the farmer story which Sekien included, it seems this the yokai was also a Personification/commentary of the area at the time.
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 (Onryo) covered in mud, rather than a "zombie" proper. 🧟♂️
Art by @samkalensky (yo thats me!) part of my yokai, night parade of 100 demons sticker collection, check my shop and follow @samkalensky for more!