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In the English dub, during the fight between the Third Hokage Sarutobi and Orochimaru in the first Naruto series, Sarutobi says that after using the Reaper Death Seal, the souls trapped in the Reaper are tormented for all eternity.

Does this mean that the souls of the First through Fourth Hokages were suffering from the time they were sealed away until they were released in Naruto Shippuden? Or was this a mistranslation?

When the First through Fourth Hokages were brought back by Orochimaru in Shippuden, they didn't seem like they were being tormented - or rather - it appeared that they had no recollection of their time outside of reality.

So which one is it? I did not watch the sub/Japanese episodes or read the manga from this part of the series.

  • Not sure about tutoring the trapped soul, but the main purpose of the death reaper would be those whose souls are sealed away by it cannot be reincarnated. Its more towards a permanent seal. /!\ SPOILER >!However, there is a way to break the seal. The procedure involves invoking the Shinigami using a mask from the Uzumaki Clan's Mask Storage Temple. From there, the act of the deed is potentially fatal as the summoner cuts the Shinigami's stomach to release the trapped souls. – 3.1415926535897932384626433832 Dec 31 '14 at 8:44
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In the manga chapter 124, Sarutobi tells Orochimaru what happens to the souls who are sealed by the Shiki Fujin.

With this jutsu, the one whose soul is sealed will suffer for all eternity in the belly of death, never gaining release. The one who is sealed and the one who performed the seal, their souls will mingle, hating each other and battling the other for all eternity.

Sarutobi seals Orochimaru using Shiki Fujin

This would happen in the normal case, which is when a shinobi uses the Shiki Fujin to seal his enemy's soul along with his own. Naturally, their souls would continue to fight after being sealed inside the Shinigami's stomach.

However, Sarutobi used it to seal his former teachers, Hashirama and Tobirama, who were only fighting him because they were under Orochimaru's Edo Tensei control. After being sealed, there was no reason for them to continue fighting, and hence, when they were released, they don't look like they were suffering or exhausted from battle.

The Fourth Hokage was sealed with the Yin-Kyuubi, and he presumably ended his battle long ago, as described here, so he had no reason to be suffering either.

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When Lord Third said those words, he meant that instead of the soul going into its rightful place, it is being trapped inside a demon for eternity. So the soul is never rested peacefully when it is inside the demon. If that is torture, I think all the previous hokage have gone through it.

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