words you shouldn't search for

Words You Shouldn’t Search For: Atashi wa Mou Oyome niwa Ikemasen

Chances are very good you have seen the image that accompanies this phrase you shouldn’t be looking for, but likely in an entirely different context.

These days, this image is most commonly found with the Tomino’s Hell poem, even though it actually has nothing to do with that. It was at some point attached to the poem online in the 2000s and that association has stuck ever since. But where did this image really come from? Why is it called that? And why is it an infamous “word you shouldn’t look for”?

This one’s called “atashi wa mou oyome niwa ikemasen.” This can be roughly translated to “I can no longer be a bride,” or, “I can no longer get married.” It’s important to note that the Japanese specifies a space between “atashi wa mou” and “oyome niwa ikemasen.” Normally these words wouldn’t have any spaces between them, but this particular title does.

The artist of this piece is Tatsushima Yuko, and although she hasn’t posted for a few years, she does have a Twitter account where she talks about the image, the title, and the meaning behind it.

It was made on September 29, 1999 and comes in at 180cm by 90cm, so it’s quite large in person and basically life sized. According to Tatsushima herself, “I was 24 when I painted this picture and I was being followed by a man who was mentally unstable. This painting expresses both the man’s behaviour and my trauma from an attempted rape in my past. It shows my determined rebellion against all sex crimes.”

Yet at some point in the early 2000s, this image started to be commonly shared around message and image boards as a “scary image.” Although it was often shared with the title (although mistakenly without the space), the artist remained unknown to many. Some claimed it was the work of a mentally ill patient, or that it was same artist behind the “Nozaki Corned Beef” images.

And, at some point, it also came to be associated with the poem/urban legend Tomino’s Hell, and is still often shared with that story to this day. It’s also not uncommon to find it on scary image websites, videos, or collections today either.

Yet even with the truth behind this image now more commonly known, that didn’t make the image any less scary for some. In fact, it made it even more terrifying, rooting that fear in something far more real and traumatic. Either way, “atashi wa mou oyome niwa ikemasen” remains a “word you shouldn’t search for,” and this is why.

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