Goemon

Goemon is the Japanese “Robin Hood”. He was a ninja who stole money and gold from rich people and gave it to poor people. I’m reading a book about his life and the most interesting thing is how he died. The legend says that Toyotomi Hideyoshi(One of the most important feudal lords in the history of Japan) troops killed Goemon’s wife, and he decided to avenge his wife death trying to assassinate Toyotomi.

Goemon entered into Toyotomi’s room at night while he was sleeping. But when he was almost next to him, ready to slay Toyotomi, he knocked a bell off the table. The bell’s sound alerted the guards and woke up Toyotomi. He was sentenced to death by being boiled alive together with his son in a caldron (troglodyte style?). Goemon was mighty and brave enough to keep his son outside of the boiling water the maximum time he could. Some versions of the legend say that the son survived, he was forgiven by the people who witnessed the inhuman effort made by his father in order to save him.

Goemon
Goemon dying and keeping his son alive.

Bath tubes/ofuros with caldron shape are called goemon-buro in Japanese in reference to the Goemon’s death legend. I’ve never bath in a goemon-buro but there are some of them in traditional onsens. If you are very interested in bathing in a caldron/goemon-buro you can buy it via web or you can even build one yourself.

Goemon

Goemon
This is how a goemon-buro works

There are many movies and novels based on this legend. But most of these books and films are only available in Japanese. What crossed borders and became a world-wide phenomenon were the Goemon video games, I specially remember the SNES and N64 versions.

Goemon

Goemon

Goemon

Links (Japanese but with interesting pics)

7 Comments
  • MEKEMEKE

    March 14, 2008 at 8:32 am

    >>the boiling water
    i think it was the boiling oil, not water.
    he was fried alive. (sorry I am too trifling lol)

  • sheerblade

    March 14, 2008 at 11:04 am

    You forgot the character from the famous gentleman thief Lupin the Third.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lupin_the_third

    ^_^

  • Timotei

    March 14, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Boiling water, ouch ^^;. I would like to try out it maybe once in my lifetime. I rather stick to a normal tub or an onsen.

  • Neil Duckett

    March 16, 2008 at 4:19 am

    I’ve seen those baths on TV once or twice, i’d be keen to try one but not sure i could handle the heat!

  • gdruffmcnj

    April 26, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Wow, cool man, big thanks! http://mobwvmoralaz.com

  • Edo Zamboni

    December 28, 2009 at 7:09 am

    There is a goemon-buro in Miyazaki’s film ‘Tonari no Totoro’.

  • Osukaru

    December 6, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I had Goemon’s Great Adventure For N64, and I saw the goemon-buro on a Dragon Ball Z episode.. Goku bathing with Gohan =P