“Tomino’s Hell” by Saijō Yaso

I’m always looking for ways to combine my love of poetry, translation and the macabre, so I was delighted to stumble across a sort of “creepy pasta” Internet legend about a cursed Japanese poem that causes tragedy and death should you read it aloud. I quickly looked for the piece, titled “Tomino’s Hell,” and I knew right away it needed my loving touch. The English translations were bad, nearly incomprehensible (if still eerie). A quick read-through of the Japanese convinced me that it was time for a fresh and more accurate version in English verse.

Apparently the story of a young boy’s damnation for unnamed acts, “Tomino’s Hell” was published, I discovered, in a 1919 collection of poetry by Saijō Yaso titled Sakin or Gold Dust. The poet was a university professor and lived in France for a time, studying at the Sorbonne; his work is heavily influenced by French poets, especially symbolists like Arthur Rimbaud, Stéphane Mallarmé and Paul Valéry (with whom he became friends). Though Saijō’s later work was ostensibly for children, it was filled with strange symbols and wordplay that could be quite unsettling.

Here’s my rendering of this very dark and disturbing poem (with footnotes on important matters). I’ve not actually read the thing aloud, so I can’t speak to whether the curse is real. I’ll leave that to your own discretion.

Tomino’s Hell1

Elder sister vomits blood,
younger sister’s breathing fire
while sweet little Tomino
just spits up the jewels.2

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

Is Tomino’s big sister
the one who whips him?
The purpose of the scourging
hangs dark in his mind.3

Lashing and thrashing him, ah!
But never quite shattering.
One sure path to Avici,4
the eternal hell.

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

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

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

The nightingale in her cage,
the sheep aboard the wagon,
and tears well up in the eyes
of sweet little Tomino.5

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

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

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

If in this hell they be found,
may they then come to me, please,
those sharp spikes of punishment
from Needle Mountain.6

Not just on some empty whim
Is flesh pierced with blood-red pins:
they serve as hellish signposts
for sweet little Tomino.7

—translated by David Bowles
June 29, 2014

1. The term here translated “hell” is “jigoku,” the Buddhist hell complex into which very sinful people can be reincarnated. Note also that the poem follows a 7-7-7-5 syllabic pattern, evocative of most traditional Japanese verse.

2. What is happening here isn’t immediately obviously, but clearly Tomino’s sisters are suffering while he is not.

3. Apparently the lashes Tomino is receiving on his way into hell are deserved (although another possible reading of the Japanese might be “the purpose of the scourging worries him,” suggesting possibly that he doesn’t know why he’s being punished. To me it seems he knows.

4. The poem reveals that Tomino is headed to “mugen jigoku,” the Japanese translation of the Sanskrit “Avīci,” or “waveless.” Avīci is the lowest of hells in Buddhism, one whose torments last so long (aeons and eons) that souls seem to be trapped there for eternity. There are five horrible sins you can commit to end up in this place: creating a schism within the community of Buddhist monks and nuns, shedding the blood of a Buddha, killing an enlightened person, or (AHEM) intentionally murdering one’s father or one’s mother (!). Holy crap, I think we might have just figured out what Tomino did!!!! Of course, that’s reading the poem literally, about which see note #7.

5. It strikes me that the sheep and nightingale are symbolic of Tomino’s sisters.

6. Needle Mountain (Hari no Yama) is another lovely feature of Buddhist hell. This is where the tormentors of the damned get their spikes.

7. Another possible translation would be “Not just on some empty whim / will I pierce with blood-red pins / the marks upon the body / of sweet little Tomino..” Either way, the conclusion is chilling! Now, given that the poet had a predilection for symbolist poetry, it’s very likely that all this talk of Tomino’s descending into hell is mere metonymy, and that some other sort of earthly hell of interpersonal relationships is being described. The Japanese Wikipedia article on Saijō suggests that he wrote this poem upon the death of either his sister or father; given the aims of symbolist poetry (to avoid to describing things themselves and instead describe their effects), it strikes me that the poem is meant to show Saijō’s emotional distress upon someone’s death, comparing his survivor’s guilt to a journey into hell.

Original Japanese

Tomino no Jigoku

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

hitori jigoku ni ochiyuku tomino,

jigoku kurayami hana mo naki.

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.

tatake yatataki yare tatakazu totemo,

mugen jigoku wa hitotsu michi.

kurai jigoku e anai wo tanomu,

kane no hitsu ni, uguisu ni.

kawa no fukuro ni yaikura hodoireyo,

mugen jigoku no tabishitaku.

春が 来て候(そろ)林に谿(たに)に、
haru ga kitesoru hayashi ni tani ni,

kurai jigoku tanina namagari.

kagoni yauguisu, kuruma ni yahitsuji,

kawaii tomino no me niya namida.

nakeyo, uguisu, hayashi no ame ni

妹恋しと 声かぎり。
imouto koishi to koe ga giri.

nakeba kodama ga jigoku ni hibiki,

kitsunebotan no hana ga saku.

jigoku nanayama nanatani meguru,

kawaii tomino no hitoritabi.

地獄ござらばもて 来てたもれ、
jigoku gozaraba mote kite tamore,

hari no oyama no tomebari wo.

akai tomehari date niwa sasanu,

kawaii tomino no mejirushi ni.


  1. This is such a seriously beautiful english translation, thank you so much!! It has such a wonderful feel to it, I don’t know quite how to describe it but it fits the creepy, old-fashion nature of the poem itself ♥

  2. This is a lovely translation and interpretation! I appreciate the clear amount of intention you put into the translation, in such a way I don’t think many translators do.

    • Thanks! Yeah, I generally take translation pretty seriously, so when I saw the very rough versions of this poem floating around out there, I knew I had to try my hand at it.

  3. I have read both versions aloud and nothing happened

  4. Has anyone experienced anything weird? If so, would you share?

    • I’m pretty certain at this point that it’s a hoax, but it’s an awesome one! Anything that encourages people to read poetry in translation is okay in my book, heh.

      • This is a great poetry to read to my teacher but I watched a YouTube named jaystaystion read both out loud and a weird demon face and hands start comming and you can see the face and hands in the wall it’s really creepy so I tried reading it to my friends at school it it would coming through the walls of the school but great job with the English translation.

    • Well, I don’t know if this counts since it didn’t involve reading the poem aloud myself, but last night I came across with this text once again. I had read Tomino’s Hell earlier, but I didn’t really understand anything what was going on in it, so this time I really tried. I read it multiple times silently – I have to say I missed this awesome translation then, but after reading it I now understand the story, many thanks for that! -, I even shortly listened it being read in Japanese until the terrible voice got too much on my nerves. It was already past midnight when I quit my adventures in the world of creepy Asian urban legends and went brushing my teeth and preparing for bed. When I rose from my seat, I was overcame by this sudden, massive wave of nauseousness and dizziness. It lasted several minutes and I even had to sit down while brushing my teeth beacuse I simply couldn’t stay on my feet. Of course there’s millions of other explanations than a cursed poem (which, mind you, I didn’t read aloud), I was fluish, I had had few drinks – stupid combination, I know – and of course scared myself silly in the first place. But nothing like that quick sickness has ever occured in similar conditions before… I would say it was weird. I wouldn’t even rule out the possible connection with the poem, although I believe it must have been the psychological effect (plus the physical conditions) of the sinister text I couldn’t understand completely and the legend related to it, rather than real otherworldly powers in action 😀

      • I think that your experiment sounds crazy fun and creepy as all get out. I agree it was probably psychological, but isn’t that part of the fun of these sorts of legends? They’re like an interactive horror flick. You don’t have to actually believe in a curse to get a jolt out of playing with the parameters for it.

      • is it a hoax or not

      • Do you have to read it in Japanese

      • When you got up, your blood pressure rose. Given the drinks and the flu, both are downers. You were at rest, and probably got up too fast, causing the heart to go from resting beat to energy beat. Add sickness and alcohol, it pushed hard, raised your pulse, and because you immediately went to activity, the body overcompensated, raised the blood pressure, and almost knocked you out.

    • Legend says that if you read it outloud you’ll die but I don’t believe that’s true.

    • I just had a nosebleed after i read it in japanese.

    • Yes….i read this yesterday and I went to school today. I almost got ran over by a bus, I was working on homework and bent over to grab my pencil case and a pair of scissors flew above my head and almost stabbed my head. Then when I got home, my brother was staring at me weirdly and started to say, you have blood on your face. I told him I didn’t but he started to freak out and screamed “you have cuts, why did you cut yourself, what happened” and told him “I don’t, what are talking about” and I went to the mirror and I had a mysterious pattern imprinted on my jawline. What do I do!?!! Help me!!

      • How the hell do scissors fly

      • When reading the poem nothing happened and I’m confused, everyone is saying that they have had near death experiences but I have not I’m just sitting on my window ceal and nothing is happened…. I’m confused.

      • Annie McKalester

        I just got released from the hospital because by school bus ran over my leg about 30 min after reading this poem

      • I just read this and looked at all the comments. I will say that it scared me a little bit. But it’s been five minutes and I feel nauseous with a bad headache. I’m burning up and I feel like I’m going to throw up.

    • No real names) My friend Derek read this poem aloud and nothing really happened until 1-2 weeks later the friend who showed us this poem died.

      • I read the Japanese translation out loud (with some difficulty) and when I was reading it my shoulders started to hurt( weird yes) and now I’m having a bit of trouble breathing. No I don’t have asthma. My side also hurts and I did nothing to injure any place that hurts on my body.

        • How long have you been sitting (or whatever you were doing) for, if it’s been a while you most likely just have a bit of muscle ache.
          Do you have anxiety? Or are you experiencing a panic-attack?
          If your having a panic-attack, your side might hurt from breathing heavily.

    • My paintings fell of my wall and two nifes fell of my drying towel

    • This shook me to the core. 5 minutes after I finished reading the poem I had an extremely sharp pain in my left side. It hurt tremendously! When I walked into my kitchen to get some Ibuprofen, I found the pills laying on the counter.

    • Ya I think I am going to be sick

    • i read it out loud and all of a sudden I felt really weak and weird and I am finding it hard to stand and breath. I feel sharp objects that aren’t there and im seriously freaked out

      • Are you still alive

        • I just read it a few days ago and suddenly I felt nauseous and sick up to my stomach. The next day I started vomiting blood and I’m having a hard time to breathe. I found many bruises & cuts that wouldn’t heal. I went to school and I was having a hard time doing my normal schedule, after school I got hit by a car (my arm broke lol), but I also gained a little flexibility. My third day they had to rush me to the hospital because I couldn’t stop vomiting blood. I can’t speak now because my jaw got paralyzed too. I don’t know what I do at night. My one eye started to bleed for no reason, my eye turned red afterwards. PS. I’m suffering from my illness’s.

  5. Hi David,
    I too would like to add my thanks for the beautiful translation of this poem. Oddly enough, I get a totally different view from the poem. To me, it is a story based on the ‘favored’ son, who quietly sits by, as his sisters are tormented by a parent. His position as the ‘favored son’ prevents him from aiding his siblings (girls), and this torments his soul. Guilt, to be specific. He basically commits himself to hell due to his lack of championing his sisters, whom he apparently loves, and allows one of them to be beaten to death, while the other remains a ‘prisoner’ to her parents’ torments.
    Again, thank you for such care in the translation of this poem. I wish heartily, there were more such as yourself, that cared as passionately concerning these rare works of art.

  6. I’ve read the original story and it involved one Yomota Inuhiko. That person doesn’t seem to exist.

    Is Saijo Yaso the real writer of this poem? I’ve read this out loud in front of my friends a few years ago. Strangely, I got slightly luckier…

  7. Can you show me the wikipedia page of Saijo Yaso? Can you translate it for me? Just his biography.

  8. Its hard not to say whether there is a psychological effect, the poem is eerie as hell, while reading aloud the only thing to happen to me was shortness of breathe, chest pain shortly after, but im a smoker and laying down reading this probably did the trick in causing these symptoms while reading. Here’s a creepy fun fact, while reading silently in my head for the first time, i swear i heard a boy whispering it into my ear as i read it. spooky no? Then again i do get the best of paranormal events happening to me all the time and brush it off with a laugh, like a whistle mimicking spirit after taking a poop.. yeah the joy.. XD that happened tonight btw.. i found it rather creepy and funny. i blurted out come back anyday i’ll be here all year if you want another song to whistle to.. oh man id get a kick out of whistling with a spirit.

  9. I’m very glad I came across this translation!
    I’ve seen this cursed poem floating around the internet for the past two weeks and out of curiosity I looked it up. I have read both the Japanese and English translated versions out loud, and nothing has happened. Although I do find the poem itself haunting and beautiful I have yet to experience the supposed curse that surrounds it. Makes for a fun late night dare however.
    Thanks again for taking the time to translate it, I love poetry like this.

    • You bet! I’m a big lover of urban legends and spooky stuff (and a translator of Japanese poetry), so this hit a sweet spot for me. Personally, I don’t mind that the curse is (like most creepy pasta) largely invented: it exposed me to the work of this great poet and this haunting poem in particular, so I’m glad the legend exists. Thanks, Christina.

      • Dude, like seriously. I read this out loud and it did nothing.

        Well… My dog did poop on my bed. Is that part of the curse?

        • Clearly! Dude, poop on the bed? You’re cursed. Heh.

        • Ashely fernandez

          I was scared when I started reading. But at the end I felt like I was in a horror movie so I looked down in the comments I saw yours, and it made me laugh when your dog pooped on the bed

        • Shanielle Mullings

          Dude aren’t u supposed to be dead now? Like are u still alive cause I felt nothing but shivers and that’s it.

  10. I’ve read this out loud out of a dare in my school, both japanese and english versions last year. Nothing really happened to me and everything went on normal without any sign of bad luck. I only rediscovered this poem when I stumbled across this website. The poem is so creepy and very well-written and that I don’t even think it needs an urban legend to come with it to become popular.

    Thank you, David. I really appreciate this translation.

    • Thanks, Isaac! I agree that the poem is quite creepy enough without the urban legend, but luckily (IMO) that creepy pasta has drawn many young people into reading and discovering Japanese poetry. So win-win, huh? 😀

  11. I still didn’t understand why tomino is being punished… Please let me know what according to you happened with tomino and what’s with vomiting blood and breathing fire…. Though your translation is fantastic but I am still curious to clear my doubts…

    • Darshan, if we take the poem literally, it seems that Tomino has committed an unforgivable sin, like murdering his parents.

      However, a symbolic interpretation would be that a loved one has died, and his feelings of guilt about his poor relationship with his family have thrust him into a mental hell of regret.

    • Well, maybe Gene Simmons is involved. Fire? Blood? Lol…
      I am about to try my luck, gods help me. Cx

  12. I do not believe that this poem is cursed, however it was the creepy pasta story that lead me to it, because I was curious… I discovered the Japanese version, and I am a fan of anime so it made me happy. Could you explain in more detail what the part about the sisters means? I don’t really understand it

    • Jess, you can kind of take the stuff about the sisters at two levels. If Tomino is LITERALLY in hell, then his sisters are there with him (because he killed them, possibly), and they aid in his eternal punishment.

      However, if you look at the poem symbolically, his sisters have suffered in ways that have not touched him, and whatever tragedy has befallen the family and plunged him into a psychological hell brings with it the memory of his bad relationship with the girls, thereby causing him emotional distress.

  13. Breathing fire? That’s awesome. It’s like a super power.

    I read this out loud, nothing happened… Well, I did cut my finger with a knife while cutting unions just a few hours later.

    What a coincidence, am I right? These kind of things put some sort of suggestion onto your mind, making you believe that a slight unlucky moment is connected to the supposed curse.

    For example, when you stepped on a LEGO brick just a few seconds later after reading the poem, your mind quickly thinks that happened because of the curse. Though, you would’ve still stepped on the very exact same LEGO brick on the very exact spot on the very exact moment even if you never read or even discovered this poem.

    So… Who’s fault was it?

    A. Your child who never puts back his toys to its proper place?
    B. It was your fault because you’re already a grown-up and you still play with LEGOs?
    C. The curse.

    I would pick either A or B.

    Seriously though, this poem is very creepy, but absolutely safe to shout right in front of your friend’s face during a party before you get a hangover.

    I learned this one from Vsauce:
    It’s actually something called “Terror of Ambiguity”

    When it involves danger but no recognizable threat, it can make us think and feel some pretty weird things. Will reading this poem cause you to die after? Impossible, right?

    A recent study by J. Hames at Florida State University dubbed this “The High Place Phenomenon.” When approaching a ledge and a dangerous drop, your survival instinct kicks in and you pull yourself away. But your balance and motor system don’t get it. Nothing is pushing you and you don’t normally fall or leap randomly. So what’s going on? The part of your brain that processes intention might resolve this by determining that something must be pushing you or that you might actually want to jump or push your friend, even if none of that is true.

    tl;dr version: People are scared of this poem because it’s said it can kill them even if it won’t.

    The poem itslef overall? Love it.


    Best poem ever



    9 stars out of 5

    Absolutely love it.


    • Thanks, John! I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the psychological impact that urban legends/creepy pastas have on people given our defense mechanisms.

    • Kaytlin ferraira

      Exactly thanks for this comment even if its 4 years old

  14. I tried 2 months ago 2 times japanese and so many times english because i failed many times but nothing interesting happenen.

  15. I’m not sure if it’s relevant but I think I have an explanation why the curse doesn’t work on all people. Before that I’ll add that I do not wish to be taken as superstitious witchdoctor! Anyway, as I was saying I’m familiar with a kind of black magic(that was used against my grandmother by a certain person I’m not gonna mention) that is written in a paper disguised as a phrase,essay,poetry or even meaningless random words. The words must be read in a certain way in order to take action.In her case it was written in Arabic and it was placed between the Qur’an she read every night before going to bed. The page was shown to me only once, it was a perfect imitation of the original page. As she was reading the page she suddenly noticed that she accidentally made some reading mistakes. This shocked her as the Qur’an was nearly memorised by her. Then she noticed some lines she had never seen before. Those lines didn’t match the words in her head which made her confused. Thus, she misread them. She noticed that something very strange was going on and stopped reading immediately. Later on she showed those words to an expert(Hafiz).According to him it was a death curse.If someone reads it out loud and gets the pronunciation and the rhythm correct he or she will either die or get mortally injured.It’s possible that my grandmother escaped death by misreading the curse.The curse was well planned as the Qur’an is usually read loudly and the readers strictly maintain correct pronunciation.Other than that that I’m clueless about the curse myself. Over that it was written in Arabic and it must be read in Arabic in order to active the curse and I cannot read Arabic. You know where I’m going with this,right? Listen David,if the curse of Tomino no Jigoku is anywhere near real it means there is specific way of activating it.You have to read the Japanese version (Possibly the version written with the exact letters used by the writer).I assume you know that as you’re quite an expert in the language. Reading romaji or the English translation should never work.Over that the pronunciation and the rhythm probably needs to be accurate as well(It’s a poem after all). Being such an old and disturbing(not to mention rumored to be carrying a death curse) piece of poetry it’s possible that it’s original rythm is long lost.’Cause whether a person believes or not he’ll surely be hesitant to read it aloud knowing it might kill him.It’s obvious that nearly everyone read it quietly all these years and now the rhythm is lost.There might not be more than a few person who are unfortunate enough to get it right.

    In case you have any doubt I’ll reassure that I narrated the story exactly how I remembered. But I know what I’m asking. No one has to believe me unwillingly.Not that I believe it all that much myself.

    Sorry for the huge reply!

  16. Well im too scarred and superstitious about reading this aloud… but i kind of already feel down in the dumps and weird after reading it in my head and silently…. just saying. 🙂 but great translation.!!!

    • Thanks! Yeah, it is pretty much guaranteed to depress the heck out of you, even without any supernatural death curse! Heh.

  17. I read both versions and all that happened to me was that I almosted fell down the stairs

  18. Just ran across this; I’m more familiar with youkai types of urban legends over the creepypasta so this new and neat to me! Quick question though. Didn’t kawaii originally have the meaning of “pitiful”? Is that why you translated it “sweet little” instead of “cute”? It makes a certain amount of sense, and gives it an even more bittersweet feeling.

    • Ruko, I know that “kawaisou” means “pitiful” in a more strongly negative sense, and “kawaii” has a slight nuance of “adorably pitiable.” I’m sure that’s what influenced me to pick “sweet little,” implying a degree of pity.

  19. What does しゅぶさ mean?
    Here it’s “the purpose of the scourging hangs dark in his mind”, while in other translations it is”I wounder who the whip’s shubusa is?”

    • It’s a parenthetical note meaning “it’s the main part” (same as “主部”); it’s there to explain “朱総” or “shuso” (main concern). The line is basically telling us (as you can read in the note) that he’s worried or confused about why he’s being whipped.

  20. Read it out loud 3 times for good measure. Nothing really happened. I think it just relies on the ‘Placebo Effect.’

    It’ll curse you if you believe it will curse you, it won’t curse you if you don’t believe it will curse you.

    This comment is cursed. A cat will cuddle your face in your sleep.

  21. If this poem is cursed then I might be without having it read out loud, because I keep thinking about the meaning (also due to the lovely and enchanting translation). The interpretations given so far do not fit what I feel about the poem… Is there information about the author in english that might help understand his familiar situation or do you know anything more?

  22. Read it out loud in both languages and now I feel sick

  23. I’ve read it multiple times after reading it and listening to it. I’ve read the rougher translation from Google Translate you see on the creepypasta wiki, English, and this one just now. It’s caused me nausea, nervousness, a sense of dread especially when I read and listened it to it in Japanese. Though I am isolated, paranoid, and have hallucinations and other mental illnesses so don’t take my account super seriously. I get those feelings in general. I think it’s more the psychological effect. I used to find it lame but after some thought and understanding it’s scarier than you would think(especially if you were looking for nothing more than a creepypasta) This translation felt more natural and had a flow to it so that took some fear away for. Bless you for actually trying and doing the poem justice! 🙂 I might have to check a lot more of this site out! It looks great! 😀

  24. Update. Its been just over one year since i read this and posted. My 4th child was born 5 months premature, I am now divorced, had 2 work affecting injuries. Broken right hand and a spinal fracture.

  25. Don’t read the poem you feel the pain sorrow creepy you will see I promise because I see please ?

  26. I read the poem out loud by myself in japanes a first time and a second time I listen at loud again in japanese but nothing happen. I think if I would be so dangerous and deadliest it will be allowed or on the internet? What do you think? I use to search legend and curse about ghost and place who suppose to be hauted.

    • Yeah, I don’t think it’s actually deadly. I certainly wouldn’t post a translation if I believed it would do anyone real harm.

      I mean, it might mess you up psychologically, but…I guess I’m going to take that risk.

      • I think the same thing when I decide to read out loud, it just take more “power” when you always think about it. Like when you think ” oh my, it’s snowing a lot, I will make car accident for sure. Men will power are powerful. 3 years ago I went to japan in Aokigahara “suicide forest” during one day and maybe it was just the place who was a little freaking and the fact I heard about what people end up to there, but I felt something strange there for the first time in my life in my search of haunted place and curse legend. I take the out path for some minutes, because if you go to far you will be lost. When I went further on the path a weird feeling began to grown. It was in summer and it’ was really hot, but when i was walking i feel like it was suddenly in early winter in my contry, a deep sadness and distress mix with anger has pass trough me… it was strange…extremely short but powerful to make me doubt, like if the people who have died there were trying to escape this place where they are prisoner… But maybe it was just my imagination
        Another exemple of urban legend I heard wasIt’s the legend about a curse temple in japan where you must’n sing a certains song when you pass forward the temple, or the people who has die there will come back and plunge you in a other dimension or ghost dimension where you will be like them forever. Sadly I never found this village and the people around was a little scary about it, japanese people are really supersitious about that kind of thing. Do you have other legend, curse or storie like this one?

  27. Just one question.

    The original urban legend story said that it was written by someone named Yomota Inuhiko. Is that true?

  28. Oh! This poem is quite beautiful and entertaining! I got chills just from reading it. Thank you for the translation. I’ve been waiting for a proper English version of this poem for years, but unfortunately, I’ve forgotten about the Urban Legend… Until now! I can’t say it’s cursed, though… I’ve quite a loud reader myself. I don’t even know how some people deal with reading only inside their heads… Yes, I’ve read pretty much every single version of Tomino’s Hell, and not the slightest sign of bad luck other than losing my wallet weeks ago, which is 3 years after reading the crappy translated version.

  29. the hoax ruined this poem for me

  30. Boy, have I got a story, and it’s not quite you’d expect from a poem like this.

    I was in a sleepover with my friends. We like to do spooky stuff like the Ouija Board and Charlie Charlie. I came up with the idea to read this version of the poem out loud, as well as the two other original versions.

    I’ve read it out loud and waited for something strange to happen. My mother had severe pneumonia to begin with, too. She might actually die from the curse.

    Well, what happened was that she got better from her pneumonia miraculously, and my father just won the lottery just weeks before she recovered. I don’t know what happened, but I think the curse just stopped working or something.

    I figured I get luck from this poem, so I read it again. This time, nothing happened. Got real boring.

    But as a piece, it’s quite amazing. It’s very spooky.

    • Hey, as the translator, I’ll take all the credit for the good things that come from reading the poem! 😉

      Glad your mother recovered!

  31. it aint fun anymore cuz ppl in the comments kept sayin the curse aint real

  32. I dunno, John. I still think it’s a fascinating poem, regardless of whether there’s a curse. But to each his own, right? 😀

  33. Can you tell me all about Saijo Yaso? Why did he really create this scary poem? I’ve heard he also wrote children’s poems that are also as creepy as this.

  34. I’ve done my own debunking of this poem.

    The original story of the curse apparently came from a Korean website, not Japanese. I would assume that the rumor was made up by Koreans. Japanese people are really good when it comes with Urban Legends (e.g. cursed kleenex commercial)

    The picture that comes with the poem is not even related to Tomino’s Hell at all. It’s from an artist named Tatsushima.

    The story also mentions Yomota Inuhiko, a film critic who actually WAS a writer of a few poems, but it’s unlikely Tomino’s Hell was one of the poems he wrote.

    What I can say is that Koreans made up the rumor and it spread to the point someone translated it with Google Translator.

    • So, if Koreans made up the story, then why wasn’t it the Japanese? It’s because the Japanese never considered this poem cursed. It was the Koreans from 2ch that got a hold of a copy and made up a story with a picture to go along with it.

      It’s just like when Japanese people mistook “It’s a Fine Day” with a German curse.

      • I have no doubt that some version of what you suggest happened. The poet was no practitioner of black magic who left behind a cursed poem. He simply wrote something obscure and vaguely hellish, and recently someone (whether Koreans or some other group/individual) concocted the curse. That’s the thing about creepy pasta…it’s actually made up, heh.

  35. This is weird, and I’m not joking. When I took a shower after reading this poem, lots of drops of shampoo went directly my eyes because my father knocked on the door, startling me. I stumbled around the shower in pain, slipped, and bruised my elbow. My eyes still feels swollen like hell while writing this.

    I don’t who to blame. The poem or my father.

  36. What bothers me even more is the image that is often associated with the creepypasta. It has nothing to do with the poem, hell, they don’t even have similar meanings. The painting is called “Now I’ll Never be a Bride.” , I believe. Not so sure what that has to do with a little boy who’s mentally suffering.

  37. Do you know when the poem is written?

  38. I read this and i didn’t death

  39. I read this in its original language and in english. whoops am I gonna die

  40. This poem is kinda creepy. OK, actually much more than’kinda’. I couldn’t understand the poem, it seems like its about a sweet little guy named Tomino(seriously, thats what the poem says) and how he fell into eternal hell and seems like during the journey, his elder sister is torturing him and he screams that he misses his younger sister, and that scream echoes throughout hell. I have a million questions about this. First, if he was sooooooo sweet, why the crap did he fall into hell??? And why the heck is his sister whipping him? And why the heck are his sisters themselves getting tortured? And Why…….??? And Why…..??? And Why………..??? And WHY???????

  41. I tried reading the poem out loud about 5 days ago, on Monday. I had to stop halfway while reading the poem due to the starting of feeling overwhelmed. To those of you wondering what happens if you read half or the beginning of the poem, here is what happened:

    On Monday, it was just feeling overwhelmed for about an hour or two

    On Tuesday, I started to feel depressed. I felt huge waves Nausea, despair, and just an uncomfortable feeling in general. That night when I got home from school I had taken asleep earlier than I normally do due to feeling bad. (I fell asleep at around 6:00 pm and woke up at 10 pm. I could not fall back asleep)

    Wednesday morning, at 3:30 am, had a fever of 103°F ( 39.4° C) and had to miss school because of a sudden ear infection (I had been healthy for weeks, even months, before this)

    Thursday, Friday, Saturday: I had been feeling a little better, but still in a lot of pain from my ear.

    So far, nothing else has happened, but I do know for sure I will not be reading about little Tomino again, at least out loud

    • Yikes! Imagine if you had a weaker constitution.

    • Before I even started reading it out loud, I had a sharp pain in my head and one of my ears started hurting. Right after I read the first few lines, my head and ear stopped hurting, then I felt a pressure on my chest which caused me to stop for a few moments.

      Currently, after finishing it, my left arm, chest, and half of my face are numb.

      I don’t believe in the curse but I felt something going into it and I’m not just confused.

  42. DJ_Green (just call me Green, everyone does, even though it isn't my real name)

    when i heard about this poem, my friend said it was meant to be cursed. is this true?

  43. Ok, like.. I haven’t read it or look at it.. my best friend though.. she read it yesterday outloud while I was in a skype call.. and a tornado struck where she lives.. she might have no power, she might have her house destroyed, IDK, but.. she isn’t responding to skype or messages, I’m really fcking scared. She heard either the Missouri ThunderStorm or Tornado siren, and when she was in a call with my friend Josh, she said she might see a tornado, at 1 am she texted me;
    “idk what sirens im hearing f*ck”
    “im scared”
    I really hope she isn’t dead, because if she is… i don’t know WHAT I’ll do.


  45. I think the idea behind this urban legend is conceptually brilliant. Anything bad that happens incidentally after reading it will be blamed on the poem, rather than the fact that life happens. And any negative sensations reading it are probably psychological products borne from fear and belief- your mind makes it real. (And yes, I read your translation aloud, and stumbled over the Japanese, too-waiting for doom as I type. Nothing but slight uneasiness during the reading, but that was totally me just being a weenie about the myth, and not any supernatural influence.)

    But logically, I don’t quite buy the legend, even though my superstitious and logical sides had a big fight over this one. There’s a lack of historical prominence, for one. If it were legit, surely we’d know more about it- it would be more well-known and incidents would be documented. Also, a terrible translation doesn’t make it much easier to take seriously.
    The thing that gets me is that it’s too obvious, isn’t it? Wouldn’t a more effective curse be on something innocent and unassuming that people had no reason to be afraid of? In horror, it’s always the creepiest, most otherworldy, and most hellish things that cause problems. Nobody ever thinks that something completely normal being the problem would be much scarier- *but it would be*. That’s basically my reasoning here. It’s a spooky and dark poem, so that makes me think a curse would be cliche, and a product of creepypasta writers rather than Yaso’s intention. For what it’s worth, it’s actually pretty intriguing as a standalone work.

    • Oh, by the way, I’m fine, in case anybody noticed the lack of follow-up and was worried. Nope. Just a creepy poem that people want to be scared by.

  46. after I had read this in Japanese, a couple hours later my friend and I were texting and all of a sudden he texted me saying “Help me” and then said “Goodbye” she hasn’t answered me since and I’m freaking out.

  47. The curse is this: It’s the power of suggestion. If you think in the back of your mind that the poem is cursed, or may be cursed; then when something bad does take place- one can think the reading of the poem aloud has caused said event. Bad, and good things will always occur in peoples’ lives; either with a poem such as this or without. I can say: Whoever reads this reply and mocks it will be cursed. Some will doubt it. Others will question / consider it. And some will accept it whole heartily. I have read Tomino’s Hell, aloud in English and Japanese; as with other “cursed” poems.. and nothing happened due to it. Power of suggestion. Awesome work of literature and creativity no less!

  48. Ik this might sound weird but reading this poem made me feel like it was more a story rather than an urban legend. I’m not saying it’s real but the idea of Tomino’s Hell unravels a story and kinda makes an experience for the reader. At first, I thought this would have a really confusing meaning and it does. But the way it tells this story makes it a bit less puzzling. Overall, your interpretation was great and the poem was a real spine-tingler!

  49. As of read this poem I keep feeling dizzier and dizzier, then all the sudden I started puking everywhere then I hear this ringing sound in my ears so I advise you not to try this at home because this same effect could happen to you maybe even worse.

  50. I didn’t read it aloud so I’m safe, but just reading it in my mind sent chills down my spine. Every part of me felt tingly.

  51. I read this out loud and it says that you should never read this out loud for if you do then it will create mass destruction and can cause death. I did it anyways sorry for anyone that has to feel the effects of my idiocy.

  52. I read this and i started having a stomachache… it just wouldn’t go away… i tried pills… i tried literally everything but still… it would not go. So i went to the doctor and there was nothing either… if anyone has any advise please tell me…

  53. I read it Aloud, since I am or should I say someone proved it that the curse is not real. Well since Japanese urban legends don’t say it is an actual curse, unlike the Urban legend about Kashima Reiko, where reading the entirety of her story will curse you to be killed by her in a month the moment she appears in front of you in your bathroom. Of course she can easily be fooled by saying the name of the station backwards or say that the train station is near. In which she will be confused or leave you alone.

    Tomino no Jigoku’s intro in a few Japanese-themed horror sites do not say the curse anyways. Only creepypasta channels do.

    I read far more bizarre curses than this one. So yeah it doesn’t really affect me at all.

    • shahiryar khosa

      oooooo tell me some more curses contact me on insta @the_one_eyed_king123

    • Kashima reiko only leaves you alone if you answer her correctly she asks who told you my story to which you must reply kashima reiko then she asks who am I and you must say masked death demon

    • what story? but dont tell me the entire story like what kind of story? a summary? or a long story filled with exact details?

  54. i just read this poem slowly last night.
    and when i woke up today i feel very sick.
    what the hell!!!!!!

  55. So my friend decide to take a look at this and read it outloud, last night. This morning she took a shower and as usual the bathroom is really steaming and foggy. She saw what looks like a face of a person. She just ruined a friendship. All she has is me to listen to her. She cried last night and couldn’t stop she tells us that she’s felt werid like something is wrong. Please someone tell me what to do and how or if there’s a way to help this or make it easy for her to cope with.

  56. im_dead_inside_4life

    is this the real Translate plzz i need to know

  57. read both of them im waiting i feel pain in my gut it hurts but im fine tho

  58. I found this poem because someone made a song about it. It’s called The Boy Who Went To Hell. It’s really good! (The poem and the song) I’m gonna check out more of this site!

  59. I hope nothing bad happens when I make croissants for breakfast. *burns hand off* ファック あなたわ トミノ!

  60. Like many others have said I read both the Japanese and translated version and nothing bad really happened except I stubbed my toe on my dresser while trying to turn the lights back on.

  61. It was weird, I had no wish to test fate but it took significant effort to not read it out loud. My mouth tingled and my body wanted me to say it just as a hungry person wants food. Odd stuff for sure

  62. Your translations are splendid. There is a reason why it was written as the poet definately felt very strong pain and bolts of depression. I loved this piece and your translation was a perfect example of art.
    I wonder what happed with the poet for him to write a poem so strong and dark that it can shake one to core.
    For the last time, awesome writing.

  63. Lol i read half of this and month later i almost got hit by a car, it was just my luck and had nothing to do with this poem.

  64. Can you find anything on the artwork I would love to know who made it and also if the artwork has any connection with the poem or if they were just paired up to make the poem scarier

    • No idea, Richard!

      • David, I’ve been rummaging around because I wanted to get my hands on a copy of the original book, “The heart is like a rolling stone”… Except there is no trace of such a book anywhere, nor is there traces of the alleged original author. Have you got leads on that? The text is superb and I’d love to get more.

    • It’s a painting called I don’t want to be a bride anymore by Yuko Tatsushima! No connection to this poem though.

  65. You, people, do realize this poem is cursed, right? If you read it out loud, you’ll be damned to hell and have really bad luck. Guess what I just did!?

  66. I pasted it on Google Transate and had it read it aloud for me… I wonder what’ll happen?

  67. If you mean that creepy painting that is usually associated with it, it is called “Now I can no longer be a bride” or something along those lines.

  68. does anyone know a poem that is similar to this that i can read out loud and not die ? bcs y’all are scaring me and i’m looking for a poem to read in class

  69. i read this out loud and the next day got 3 donuts in one day at school sounds like good luck to me but idk maybe its gonna give me diabetes

  70. Tiberiu Grigorescu

    Can I just die already

  71. Demons are real be very careful what you read in your head or outloud i met a few demons in the last five months ps they never sleep always watching waiting for what i dont know exactly they give info but mostly keep people in the dark and most have very bad history’s and hate being provoked while some are forgiving if the right sacrifices or deal is made mostly ending in their favor of course but most demons dont mess with me cause i love studying the dark arts of ancient times though i wont mess with the 72 demons of Salomon

    • I agree. As a girl who can see ghosts/spirits/demons/whatever, I believe in almost anything at this point but this— isn’t real I gotta say… sorry guys.

  72. the person above me is a faggot

    read both the english translation and the japanese version -shrugs in weeb-

  73. And now we wait

  74. It’s probably a coincidence but as soon as I finished reading this poem, my minor concussion gave me a ringing head-ache. I’m sure it was just a coincidence though.

  75. is this true

  76. Omg litterly just got stabbed… Might go to the hospital later but idk.

  77. I read it aloud in English and in japanese. I altered it. If everyone loves me, I fully accept the curse. If not, those who wish to see me fall to ruin will be cursed. I’m already cursed because I tampered with a book and bound an earth spirit to me that won’t let me sleep. Nothing feels real anymore. Life is like one long dream. I’ll let you know if anything happens. I feel.. Sick. If I die.. I’m okay with that. I.. Am going to vomit. It feels like something is in my throat.

  78. I read it aloud yesterday and today everything seems normal

  79. This is such a beautiful poem. I fancy myself somewhat of a poem analyst, and this poem, and the potential message behind it, is beautiful, yet so dark. It’s bittersweet.

  80. Investigation was closed last year. Found this phone in my cousins room. Turns out she supposedly read this out loud and recorded herself. 2 days later gone. Died in her sleep . eyes wide open along with her mouth, clenched bloody fists where her nails dug in.

  81. DepressionOverpowers

    I was reading each translation from this site and others, hopjng to accomplish death, or at least a trauma of some sort of horrific happening. So far, nothing has occured, and I felt that I must state my current disappointment.

  82. DepressionOverpowers

    Though, I must also exclaim how beautifully sad this poem was. I find it quite fun to pick my brain with poems and articles of writing such as this.

  83. This poem actually has a 100% mortality rate. EVERYONE who reads this poem will eventually die. Water and oxygen also have a 100% mortality rate. People want to talk about heart attacks and cancer when dangerous stuff like water and this poem are allowed to run free on their own.

  84. Bro, I literally died!! I’m on the floor and blood is spilling out my a​ss hole. My breathing is staggered and I feel heavy. Can’t… stand…. up….. uhmm… I’m gonna CUMMMM.

  85. My friends, the curse is fake so many people has read it including me but, nothing happened

  86. they sid it tok time till it kills you so…

  87. Someone really said “maybe put it in rice” I’m dead

  88. Is this poem is really a cursed poem??

    • If the curse attached to this poem is true, I can tell you I read it out loud in Japanese. A few months later my family lost our house to the bank, I moved to another state and have since moved a total of 7 times in four years.
      Every time I move it is because something completely out of my control happens and I have no option but to leave. Four years after reading this poem out loud, I’m now homeless sitting in a bed bug infested motel (yes, disgusting I know and I just moved here to get away from another motel where the owner turned off my heat, water, and electricity because he said I was living there with a guy and I was there completely alone which was extremely creepy and stressful to say the least).
      I went to college for 8 years, lived in a 5 bedroom house, I was working, going to college, volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center, and had started my own business. Four years ago my life was great. I honestly don’t know if reading this poem played a role in the events that followed, but I can tell you I have lost everyone I love, all of my possessions, even my pets, and my health has deterred. Everything I ever cared about or valued is gone, and the necessities in life like SLEEP, FOOD, HEAT, HOT WATER and ELECTRICITY to name a few have now become LUXURIES to me and have become things I often have to survive without.
      I will never know if reading this poem had anything to do with the events that followed, but I can tell you at some point in time you’ll forget you even read this poem and when things fall apart the poem will be the last thing on your mind.
      If it does work, it doesn’t happen immediately after reading it. My life changed about 2-3 months later.

      I think that whether you believe or not doesn’t matter if it does work.You will know it’s “working” when you begin will lose everything you can’t live without emotionally, mentally and physically.

      I will never know if my life turning into a living hell and a fight to survive every day has any correlation with reading Tomino’s Hell, but I can tell you if I hadn’t read this poem, it would be one less thing to wonder about.

  89. I read it and nothing happened!

  90. Francis Torralba

    Tried reading it like 5 times both English and Japanese aaand nothing happened nor feel weird or whatever

  91. Hey guys can any of you help me i read this poem in english and japanese out loud and had bruises all over my body my nose is starting to bleed and i have pain in my heart like its being cut from deep inside and i forgot how i fell but im in the hospital. Dont read this poem im in deep pain

  92. Did someone really expect something to happen when you read this out loud… 12 year olds? Lmao

  93. Whoa… This poem do nothing.. I read this a couple of times and nothing happen. Don’t be such a moron…

  94. shahiryar khosa

    i read it multiple times its a good poem hope something happens

  95. Actually kawaii is cute not little. I know because I watch a lot of anime with titles.

    • ACTUALLY, “kawaii” only came to mean “cute” in the late 20th century.

      The original definition can be seen in Lady Murasaki’s 11th century novel The Tale of Genji to describe something with “pitiable qualities.” That earlier meaning can still be found in the noun かわいそう kawaisō or “pitiable, arousing compassion, poor little thing.”


  97. i read both out loud. im posting soooooooo……………. am i alive????????????

  98. reality is often dissapointing i was trying to leave this mortal plane but i am still stuck here

  99. Great translation! Just wondering, would you ever consider translating/ doing an analysis of other Saijō Yaso works? He’s one of my favourite poets, would love to hear your thoughts on works like 石卵 for example!

    • Yup! I did translate 蝶 (it’s here on this site as “Butterfly”), though I didn’t analyze it. 石卵 is a good suggestion: lots of powerful, sad imagery.

  100. I have atlast read it aloud
    Let’s see what happens

  101. I read a small portion of the english translation will something happen to me?

  102. I own hell. I bought it through 3stat566!

  103. I read this 3 time and nothing happened lmao I even read this in Japanese and the same result I didn’t even felt a thing lol

  104. The deadest hooman out there

    I saw this once in a game that a YouTuber/twitch steamer once did, called “The Radio Station” where your older brother, Misaki, dies and is put as suicide, so you find out about his death and find out he read that poem. You find that out by reading it yourself, though.. ;w; I’m glad I was able to find this is check it out. Oh, the YouTuber/Twitch streamer is called Kwite/Kwote if anyone was/is curious. It wasn’t put this way but was similar to it when I saw it. I highly suggest looking at it on his Twitch because he cut some things out and it’s kinda confusing and difficult to read. Sorry, this comment was really long. ^^’ (Thanks, GRAMMARLY for screwing me over in my ways of typing like the fu-)

  105. Bullshit..there is nothing like this…..

  106. Failed course loser victory immunity

    Nothing but loser lost from dark meme the tragedy of course
    Tomino’s Hell Is the biggest loser in uncyclopedia

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