I may not be a father yet, but I can’t wait to be one someday. I say this despite the difficulties many of my friends, who are parents themselves, describe when it comes to their experiences in child-rearing. It’s true, sometimes getting children to behave can be difficult, to say the least. Between the tantrums, the rebellion, and the back-talk, there comes a point when many parents question what possessed them to procreate in the first place.
Oh yeah… Sex.
But in the end, they say it’s all worth it. Right? You just have to survive it… Somehow.
That’s where a more than 30-year-old Japanese children’s book may have just the answer you need. Its solution: scare the crap out of them by letting them know just what’s in store if they continue along that path of misbehavior. HELL!
“Ehon Jigoku”, or A Picture Book of Hell, was written by former Futosha president, Yukio Takahashi and published in Japan way back in 1980. Takahashi, now 81, said he basically wanted to scare children straight and that’s how came up with the idea for the book. Sadly, it never really caught on. That all changed last November, though, when manga artist Akiko Higashimura made reference to Ehon Jigoku in her manga about raising her son, ”Mama wa Tenparist” (Panicky Mom). Since then new life was breathed into the book’s sales and, earlier this year, it became a bestseller.
The gist of the story is about a man who is headed down the path of evil and is given a glimpse of what awaits him if he doesn’t turn from his wicked ways. As such, he is allowed to see what happens to those who end up in Jigoku (Hell). He, along with the readers, witness in vivid detail (This is a picture book after all) as demons inflict various forms of torture upon the poor souls sentenced to eternal damnation.
Torture such as being sliced and diced:
And even being impaled through your nether regions atop a very long spear:
It’s graphic. Very, very graphic. But you can’t deny the weight religious belief has in shaping behavior and many Japanese parents have attested to the book’s effectiveness. Children whose parents take the time to read a few pages from Ehon Jigoku before bed are scared so shitless, they generally end up pretty well behaved (Or in therapy). Of course, a lot of parents say they’re freaked out by the book too.
In the battle to raise better children this may be one of the most effective parenting tools you can invest in. I mean just think about it: your child, sitting still, too scared to move, too scared to conceive some form of mischief for fear being burned and hacked to bits in the afterlife. Quiet… Behaved… Not breaking things… Not drawing on the walls… Not torturing the cat…
Just imagine it.
As for where you can pick up a copy, I don’t know. Best bet is to buy it online. Hurry before they’re all sold out.