Fudo Myo-O Gallery


Datsueba, the Old Hag of Hell

Datsueba (also Datsue-ba), spelled either 奪衣婆 or 脱衣婆, but pronounced
Datsueba だつえば.
The characters 脱衣 literally mean to undress, to "take off one's clothes," or to “stripe one of one’s clothing.” Also known as
Sanzu no Baba 三途の婆,
Shozuka no Baba しょうずかの婆, and
Jigoku no Baba 地獄の婆.

Tokyo 乗蓮寺 Joren-Ji

According to Japanese Buddhist folklore (mostly from Japan’s Pure Land sects), when a child dies, its soul has to cross the River Sanzu (Sanzu No Kawa, River of Three Roads, River of Three Crossings, 三途の川 さんずのかわ the River Styx in Western myth), which lies between the first and second Judges of Hell (between the kings Shinko-o and Shoko-o.

At the river's edge (before crossing it), the bewildered soul is advised by the hellish hag Datsueba to make a pile of pebbles on which to climb toward paradise. But before the pile reaches any small height, the hag and underworld demons viciously knock it down.

After the first trial by Judge Shinko-o, the dead who are found innocent can cross the River Sanzu (River of Three Crossings), walking on a bridge guided by Jizo Bosatsu. The guilty, however, must swim across deep waters and the less guilty ford across a rapid stream. At the other side of the river, the old hag Datsueba waits for the guilty to arrive and then robs them of their clothes. Those who arrive without their clothes are instead stripped of their skin.

quote from
Datsueba and Sai no Kawara
Mark Schumacher

with much more information


Datsueba 奪衣婆

From Temple 正受院

quote from
閻魔参り Enma Mairi,
visiting a temple with statues of the Lord of Hell


From temple Shoho-Ji
Shoohooji 正法寺 in Mizusawa, Northern Japan


Temple 大梅拈華山(だいばいねんげざん)


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Datsueba no shoo ni hane tatamu tentomushi

in the hands of Datsueba
it folds its wing -
this ladybug

Wakisaka Keiko 脇坂啓子

Datsueba no hitomi ni mo shunshi kaze no naka

in the pupil of Datsueba
there shows autumn melancholy -
(standing) in the wind

Sentoo 千冬

tarachine no datsueba ni ima hangeshoo

the old hag of hell
with sagging breasts celebrates
11 days after the solstice

Tomita Naoji 富田直治 (1922 -

eleventh day after the summer solstice 半夏生 (はんげしょう)

Tr. Gabi Greve

奪衣婆にいためられたる羽抜鶏 黒川芳穂
奪衣婆に小春日の風入れてあり 鈴木しげを
奪衣婆の利手欠けたる夏の果 倉永弘子
奪衣婆の手持無沙汰の小春かな 北見さとる
奪衣婆の時雨に胸をはだけたる 川崎展宏 冬
奪衣婆へ千の直立曼珠沙華 山本秋穂
奪衣婆へ風の着せたる花衣 小松洋子
奪衣婆もつとも小さく控へたり 高濱年尾 年尾句集
奪衣婆やなんぢ重ね着おしやれ婆 加藤知世子 花寂び
奪衣婆より冥き風来る今年竹 鍵和田[ゆう]子 飛鳥
奪衣婆目尻の皺のうすわらひ 河野静雲

年の豆奪衣婆わらひゐる堂に 阿波野青畝
水仙や奪衣婆の指黒光り 村井郁子
炎天や胸はだけたる奪衣婆 大竹多可志
秋しぐれ奪衣婆さへも物思ひ 鍵和田[ゆう]子 浮標
笹鳴いて舌先かわく奪衣婆 鍵和田[ゆう]子 飛鳥
紫陽花にわだつみの冷え奪衣婆 鍵和田[ゆう]子 武蔵野
胸ゆるく着て奪衣婆も夏の痩 綾部仁喜 樸簡
閻魔参り奪衣婆のがれ鶏ねむる 渡辺 昭
鬼踊り鬼にまじりし奪衣婆 金子知代

あばら骨あらはにすゝけ奪衣婆 河野静雲
いささかの寒紅さして奪衣婆 有馬朗人 知命
嗤ひつゝ胡粉こぼせり奪衣婆 河野静雲 閻魔
四囲の山笑みて奪衣婆頬ゆるむ 新井章有



. Enma, King of Hell 閻魔天、閻魔王

. Sanzu no Kawa 三途の川 River Sanzu, on the way to hell .

Daruma Pilgrims in Japan

O-Fudo Sama Gallery



Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

at Kawasaki Daishi Temple

shoozuka no baasan しょうづかの婆さん "the Old Hag of Hell "
shoozuka is dialect for soozuka 三途河・葬頭河 - sanzu no kawa, the river to the other world.
Visiting this statue will cure of toothache and help become beautiful.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Shinjuku
On a cold evening
a begger came to the Buddha Hall where a statue of Datsueba was kept and stole a cushion to sleep warm in a different place.
In his dream, Datsueba appeared and said "The cushion you stole must be quite warm!"
The beggar woke up, regretted his deed and brought the cushion back the next day.