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Yomotsu-shikome (?, lit. "Ugly-Woman-of-the-Underworld"), in Japanese mythology, was a hag sent by the dead Izanami to pursue her husband Izanagi, for shaming her by breaking promise not to see her in her decayed form in the Underworld (Yomi-no-kuni). Also recorded by the name Yomotsu-hisame (), the name may have been a term referring collectively to eight hags, not just one.

Accounts in mythology

The hag appears by the Yomotsu-shikome (or Ugly-Female-of-the-Underworld"[1]) name in the eldest Japanese chronicle Kojiki. But either eight demon-hags (female oni) or a woman/women named Yomotsu-hisame hunted after Izanagi according to the Nihon Shoki, which frequently gives different readings from alternate sources.

Kojiki version

Izanagi was fleeing the Underworld with Yomotsu-shikome in hot pursuit. Izanagi first cast down his black headdress,[a] which turned into a kind of grapes[b] and slowed the hag's advance as she devoured them. Next he broke off his comb Yutsu-tsuma-gushi (?)[c] and cast them, and the broken piece (the teeth?[2]) turned into bamboo shoots, slowing her down again as she pulled them out and ate them. But the hag was now joined by a large army 1500 strong led by eight Thunder-deities. Izanagi brandished his Totsuka-no-Tsurugi () but still they pursued, until he climbed atop the "flat slope" or "Even Pass"[1] at the entrance to the Underworld, and flung three peaches, whereby the pursuers retreated. After this, Izanami herself came in pursuit, and Izanagi blocked the entrance at the slope with a boulder.[1][3]

Nihon Shoki version

Apart from the variant name and the possibility of multiple hags ("eight Ugly Females of Yomi,"[4]) are some minor discrepancies, such as the lack of mention of the Thunder god and the army and the peaches. As Izanagi reached the entrance, Izanami was already there. According to one telling, Izanagi urinated at the large tree, so that the water swelled into a river, and before Yomotsu-hisame could cross it, Izanagi reached the entrance named the "Even Pass of Yomi".[4][5]

Critical literature

Several commentators have pointed to the connection between the peach in this story and the general traditional belief or superstition that the peach has supernatural evil-warding powers.[6][7] The symbolism of the "Peach Boy" or Momotar? that defeated the oni is often used as a familiar illustrative parallel.[7]

See also


  1. ^ plant woven into a wreathe (Chamberlain (1882), p. 36, note14), and used to ward off evil (Takeda (1996), p. 29 note18)
  2. ^ ebikazura (), which is Old Japanese for yamabud? (, Vitis coignetiae77)(Takeda (1996), p. 29 note19)
  3. ^ Izanagi earlier broke off the end of this comb to ignite the fire in order to have a light source to peek at his wife


  1. ^ a b c Chamberlain (1882), p. 36, I.IX The Land of Hades
  2. ^ Sweet, Charles Filkins (1919). New life in the oldest empire. Macmillan. pp. 1-7.
  3. ^ (1996) [1977]. Nakamura, Hirotoshi (ed.). Shintei kojiki (in Japanese). Kodansha. pp. 27-30. ISBN 978-4-04-400101-8.
  4. ^ a b Aston, William George (1896). Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697. 1. London: Japan Society of London. pp. 24-.
  5. ^ (1988). Nihon shoki ? (in Japanese). 1. Kodansha. pp. 27-8. ISBN 9780802150585.
  6. ^ Akagi, Takehiko (2006). Kojiki Nihonshoki no kaimei: sakusei no d?ki to sakusei no h?h? ?. Bungeisha. p. 238. ISBN 9784286017303. citing sinologist Mitsuji Fukunaga (?) on several Chinese use of the peach, including the wood of the bow of the mythic Yi (?).
  7. ^ a b Shoji, Komukai (1992). Shint? no hon ?. Books Esoterica. 2. Gakken. pp. 27, 130-131.(zasshi code 66951-07; ky?tsu zasshi code T10-66951-07-1000)


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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