Demons Away



Demons Away ! Tsuina shiki

***** Location: Japan/Kobe city
***** Season: Winter / New Year
***** Category: Observance


There are two famous ceremonies involving a BABA ONI 婆婆鬼, an old witch.
An old woman is usually called : oni baba, 鬼婆.

One ceremony is held every year on Januaray 7 at the temple Daisen-Ji 太山寺 in Kobe City.
Here Elder Taro Demon 太郎鬼, Younger Jiro Demon 次郎鬼 and Grandmother Demon, Baba Oni 婆々鬼.

神戸・太山寺の追儺式(鬼追い 修正会)

More Photos !

Click HERE also for more Photos !


At the temple Kinkoo-Ji 近江寺 the festival is held on February 11, as a Shuuni-E 修正会 ceremony for the new year.

A red and a blue demon and one old witch, baba oni.
Red Demon is an incarnation of Bishamon-Ten.
Blue Demon is an incarnation of Fudo Myo-O.

More Photos !


The Three Masks
左から太郎、次郎 婆々鬼の面

Baba oni is on the right.

© PHOTO Hyogo Pref. Museum of History


Worldwide use

Things found on the way


枯れすすき むかし婆婆鬼 あったとさ
kare susuki mukashi baba oni atta to sa

withered grassland--
once upon a time there was
a female demon...

Tr. David Lanoue

... ... ...

kare-suzuki mukashi oni-baba atta to sa

Withered pampas grass:
"Well, once upon a time,
an old witch there was..."

Version by Harold Henderson

The withered fields--
"Once upon a time, deep in the forest,
lived an old witch..."

Version by Robert Hass

(Gabi: The deep forest is not mentioned in the original Haiku by Issa.)

Hass comments:

"THE WITHERED FIELDS: The phrase is 'kareno', and it's often translated 'withered moor' because it implies uncultivated land. It's a fall-winter seasonal phrase and Issa is playing with it here. Its associations are equivalent to the beginning of a ghost story."

Compiled by Larry Bole
Translating Haiku

The "old witch" mentioned by Issa might have been his own stepmother. He had married the young Kiku in 1814. She developed a good connection to the stepmother and the two became very friendly.

His cynical mind is expressed in this phrase, [atta to sa]
He wants to say
[You, step mother! you have been unkind for a long time !]

Nakamura Sakuo

Related words

***** Hungry Ghosts and Haiku



Unknown said...

Thank you Gabi san for your sharring.
You have made good edtion of my sentence.
It became more understanable.
Your refering would make Issa very pleased.


Anonymous said...

Dear translators:

This has been fascinating in showing that the trouble with mother-in-laws may be shared over different cultures.
There is many a humorous situation with "mother-in-laws", eh?
Issa sama is kinder to insects than his baba oni or oni baba!!