Jigoku Dayu

Toyohara Kunichika

Thirty-six Good and Evil Beauties, Zen-aku sanjūroku bijin


This Kunichika print of Jigoku Dayu shows her wearing a robe depicting Enma, the Japanese God of the underworld.

Enma is not only the ruler but also the judge of the underworld and passes judgment on all the dead. His minions include a judge who holds in his hands a brush and a book listing every soul and the allotted death date for every life. Ox-Head and Horse-Face, the fearsome guardians of hell, bring the newly dead, one by one, before Him for judgement. Men or women with merit will be rewarded with good future lives or even revival in their previous life. Men or women who committed misdeeds will be sentenced to torture or miserable future lives, hence Jigoku’s punishment of wearing a heavy cloak. The spirits of the dead, on being judged by Enma, are supposed to either pass through a term of enjoyment in a region midway between the earth and the heaven of the gods or to undergo their measure of punishment in the nether world. Neither location is permanent and after a time, they return to Earth in new bodies.


Publisher: Morimoto Junzaburo.

Condition: Margins as shown, good condition, great color, not backed, some creases that can probably be removed. Embossing on collar.

Date: 1876