This page provides definitions, explanations, and other details for certain terms that are relevant to the Jigoku Shoujo series.
An ema (絵馬) is a small wooden plaque that is used to express wishes or prayers. Shinto worshippers use them to write their wishes and prayers, and then hang them up at shrines to send them to the Kami (spirits or Gods) to be granted. For this reason, ema are mostly found near Japanese temples and shrines.
In the series, it has been shown that, before the existence of the Jigoku Tsūshin through the Internet, there were other ways to contact Jigoku Shoujo. About 400 years ago, the method to keep contact was through Jigoku Ema, which is a black ema with red text and a red string attached to it to hang it with. It is featured in an episode in Jigoku Shoujo Futakomori titled "Steamy Hell - The Traveller's Inn".
Geisha (芸者) is a term that translates to mean something along the line of a performer or entertainer. They are traditional Japanese females who are trained to entertain people, especially men, with skills such as performing classical music, dance, and even provide entertainment in other ways such as through conversation. While true geisha do not engage in paid sex, some prostitutes label themselves as such, creating a false impression of the word "geisha". Also, in the past, the similar predecessor of geisha named oiran were actually sold for sexual services, but only within a specific walled-in area known as pleasure quarters, outside of which prostitution was illegal.
Higanbana (彼岸花) is a flower also known by the names Cluster Amaryllis, Red Spider Lily, Lycoris, Lycoris Radiata.
Katana (刀) is a traditional Japanese sword. It is usually long and single-edged, and were used most frequently by people of the Samurai class in feudal Japan. They can come in various sizes and lengths, but usually have very similar shapes.
Kimono (着物) is a traditional Japanese dress worn by Japanese women, men and children. It consists of a bow around the back, with attached collars and long, wide sleeves.
Yukata (浴衣) is a Japanese garment - a casual summer kimono usually made of cotton or synthetic fabric, and unlined. Yukata are worn by both men and women.
Haori (羽織) is a hip or thigh-length kimono-like jacket, which adds formality to an outfit. Haori were originally worn by men, until it became a fashion for women in the Meiji period.
Hadajuban (肌襦袢) is a thin garment similar to an undershirt. It is worn under the Nagajuban.
Nagajuban (長襦袢) is a kimono-shaped robe worn by men and women beneath the main outer garment.
Mon (文) is a round coin with a square shaped hole in the middle that was used as currency in the past, and is also used as an emblem.
Obi (帯) is a ribbon for a traditional Japanese clothing. For example, it is used with a kimono to tie it.
Obi-jime (帯締め) is used to keep the obi or the kimono from untying as well as accenting the kimono style.
Ojizo-sama (お地蔵さま) is one of the most loved and respected Japanese divinities.
Origami (折り紙) is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding.
Seifuku (制服) is used to refer to the common design for Japanese school uniforms, which is modeled on European-style naval uniforms.
Sērā-Fuku (セーラー服) is used to refer to a common style of uniform worn by female middle school students, high school students, and occasionally, elementary school students in Japan.
Sento (銭湯) is a type of Japanese communal bathhouse where customers pay for entrance.
Onsen (温泉) is a type of hot spring.
A shōji (障子) is a door, window, or room divider, and is part of the traditional Japanese architecture. It consists of a translucent paper over a wooden or bamboo grating held by a wooden frame. The translucent layer is traditionally made of washi (a type of paper), but sometimes other papers and translucent plastic is also used. Shōjis, and specially shōji doors are usually designed to slide open.
Shōjo (少女) is a word for a girl or young women, usually approximately between the age of 7 to 18.
Shōnen (少年) is a word for a boy or young man, usually approximately between the age of 7 to 18. In legal terms, however, it refers to both a young male or a young female specifically from the time they enter elementary school until the age of 15.
Tabi (足袋) are traditional Japanese socks.
(地下足袋) is a type of outdoor footwear worn in Japan. It was invented in the 20th century. Also known (outside Japan) as 'tabi boots', they are modeled on tabi, traditional split-toe Japanese socks. Like other tabi, Jika-Tabi have a divided toe area so that they can in theory be worn with slip-on thonged footwear, but they are heavy-duty, and resemble boots.
Tatami (畳) is a type of a mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms.
Temari (てまり) means handballs in Japanese, which is a form of toy.
Torii (鳥居) is a traditional door in Japan. In the anime, it appears in the Sanzu River. When Ai sends people to hell, they go through the door.
A toro (灯篭) is a traditional lantern made up of stone, wood or metal.
A chōchin (提灯) is a paper lantern.
Tsūshin (通信) is used to refer to a medium of communication, usually correspondence, magazines, or newspapers.
Yokai (妖怪) is used to refer to a class of supernatural monsters in Japanese folklore.
Tsukumogami (付喪神) is a type of spirit that originated in Japanese folklore. It is a spirit that comes into existence in objects of all types after the said object itself has been in existence for a hundred years. Put another way, it is any object that comes to life after reaching their 100th birthday, and thus becomes alive and self-aware. Even though Tsukomogami can come into existence in the form of any object, it is usually found in or as traditional Japanese objects such as Katana, paper lantern, etc.
Ubume (産女) is a Japanese yōkai (ghost) appearing as an old woman with a child in her arms, imploring the passerby to hold her infant, only to then disappear. As legend has it, the weight of the child increases by degrees, until the bewitched “child” is revealed to be nothing more than a huge rock or boulder.
Zori (草履) are thonged Japanese sandals made of rice straw or other plant fibers.