Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) 1AA3 Tetsumonkai
Age 62
Sex Male
Status Born into a poor family. His ancestors were samurais.
Height 162.1 cm
Culture Japanese
Date(s) Buried alive December 8, 1829.
Site Churen Temple
Current Location
Location Churen Temple
Catalog #
Born in Tsuruoka during the year 1768. Tetsu was brought up in a poor family of farmers, with a rich history of being samurais. When 25, Tetsu killed two samurais during a disagreement. After committing this crime, Tetsu had to find safety elsewhere. Sanctuary was found in Yudono, where Tetsu took up the Buddhist religion and changed his name to Tetsumonkai. After years in his religion, Tetsumonkai had earned the respectable title of a holy man. The previous title was earned by committing selfless acts. After visiting a village where a disease was causing the residents to go blind, Tetsumonkai removed his eye during prayer and threw it into the Sumadi River. After taking part in many important religious feats, it came the day where he were to enter nyujo. Nyujo is a state of peace, where the individual leaves their body on earth, to forever serve their people. Tetsumonkai did just this.


Tetsumonkai's mummification was not a typical one, it involved being buried alive. He was placed in a coffin, which was placed underground and buried. Tetsumonkai then started to pray, he held prayer beads in his hands during this event. It is said that his last words were "To all those who pray for me, I won't let you down." The body was finally removed, being dried with candles for preservation. Lastly, the body was painted so that it could forever be admired.


The only studies surrounding this mummy, were those that looked into the Buddhist tradition of self mummification.


It can be assumed that Tetsumonkai died of asphyxiation.

Edit: He had a bamboo tube for air, and a bell he would ring everyday. When the bell stops ringing the box is sealed completely for 1000 days before being opened to see if his self-mummification was successful,

External Links

Tetsumonkai Shonin: The Priest Who Loved a Prostitute. (2015, April 4). Retrieved December 1, 2015, from,22:114 Written by Brent Urbanski

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