Tamashizume: Hell Gate
|"It is mere hypothesis, but I will attempt to interpret these lyrics."|
This article is a fan translation. Content may change if an official version becomes available.
There are many beliefs in this world. Up until now I have visited many villages all over the country, and I have investigated many faiths peculiar to different regions, spanning a diverse range of religions. From within these, my interest was caught by the story of a large pedestal called "The Gate to Hell", which is worshipped and considered holy in its village. In that village, situated within a small ravine in Hokuriku, the main open area is decorated with symbols which apply to no specific god, or Buddha. This is the "gate". When I was told about the gate, it was also said to me that if the land of the dead and the land of the living were to become joined together, a great disaster would occur. Believers stage many festivals in order to avoid this disaster. An integral part of these festivals is the preparation of a "sacrifice". These sacrifices include livestock, dolls, and even humans themselves...
Although religious rituals are often performed for happiness, or to obtain peace after death, in the case of the Hell Gate, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it is always being closely guarded, to protect people from the horrors overflowing from within.
In every area, these beliefs are despised by the people of nearby villages. No one will say very much to me, and as yet I have not been able to find a single book detailing the calamity-averting festival. Even though I would like to enter the village myself just once, on the day of the festival, the people of this village have an extreme dislike of outsiders. I believe that it would be impossible for me to conduct my research without some kind of intermediation. I wonder what the Hell Gate is actually like? Are this world and that really connected? And what would happen if they were to become joined together...? It seems as though I shall have to investigate the Hell Gate further.
I received an unexpected chance to fulfill my ambitions of visiting the village where they believe in the "Hell Gate". The student who works as my apprentice, Ryozo Munakata, happened to mention a village with something in it which sounds a lot like the Hell Gate. There is a festival there in which twins are "offered up", but, as I had suspected, it seems like no one will speak of the subject. This is just what I am looking for. I once visited a village with similar beliefs, in a completely different area - it interests me very much that two such similar beliefs can exist in two places so far apart. Could they be relatives, or united by some other connection? Perhaps customs like this once existed nationwide. Truly, my interest has been aroused. Somewhat conveniently, Munakata has a childhood friend who lives in the village, from whom he received a letter in which he was asked to visit when the festival is to occur. Chances like this seldom present themselves.
I am now one step closer to the Hell Gate. Having dedicated my life to my research, nothing brings me more pleasure.