Kaiden Botan Doro, the Tale of the Peony Lantern, was one of the most popular stories collected in the Hyakumonogatari Kaidenkai, a comprehensive monogatari of popular Kwaidan. [1]

Origins Edit

The tale originated as an oral tradition and was later transformed into both an otogi boko (hand puppet show) and a kabuki play, the latter written by Shosuro Encho. The original tale focused upon the supernatural elements and the Taoist moral lessons on kharma. The later adaptations focused on the dichotomy between giri (social obligation) and the reality of repressed emotion; love was emphasized as more powerful than death. [2]

Original Tale Edit

The tale recounted that Shinjo Ogiwara, a samurai near retirement who had lost his family and estate, was considered seppuku on the night of the Bon Festival. He eventually met a beautiful geisha, Suyu, and her servant, who carried a peony lantern marked with names. Ogiwara was smitten with Suyu, and she corresponded. Suyu and her maid visited him each night at dusk, fleeing with the dawn. One day a neighbor who had noted the strange occurrences and spied him, told Ogiwara that moonlight revealed both women to be skeletons. Iuchi priests warded the outside of his home, barring the women from entry. Suyu cried out in lament for her lover, who eventually allowed both woman entrance. The following morning, the neighbor found Ogiwara dead in a ruined temple, a peony lantern at its door, his corpse alongside the skeleton of a woman. [2]


  1. Book of Void, pp. 129-130
  2. 2.0 2.1 Book of Void, p. 130

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