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Japanese Fairy Tales Paperback – October 23, 2013
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Covering a diverse range of subjects that include Health & Science, Eastern Philosophy, Mythology & Sacred Texts, Philosophy & Spirituality, and Business & Economics these newly revitalized treasures are now available to contemporary readers. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
Top Customer Reviews
There is something delightfully romantic about translations from this era, due to the unfamiliarity with Japanese culture at the time. Terms that would not be translated today, like "oni" and "samurai", are rendered as "ogre" and "knight" and other English equivalents. While unauthentic, this makes the stories more approachable by young children who have a mind for fantasy but haven't yet graduated to Japanese Studies.
While far from a picture book, artist Kakuzo Fujiyama contributed 66 beautiful drawings to illustrate the 22 tales. Unfortunately, all the illustrations are reproduced in black-and-white, instead of the original color plates included in the original pressings.
Many of the stories here are familiar with anyone even slightly interested in Japanese folklore. "Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach, "The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad", "Kintaro the Golden Boy" and "The Ogre of Rashomon". Along with these, there are rarer tales that I haven't seen in any other Japanese fairy tale collection. "The Stones of Five Colors and the Empress Jokwa", "The Sagacious Monkey and the Boar" and "How and Old Man Lost his Wren" were all new to me.
As I understand it, this is a somewhat liberal translation; accuracy to the source material has obviously been sacrificed to a certain extent for the sake of accessibility. Interestingly, words that would not be translated today are translated here for the sake of the Western audience ("samurai," for example, is translated "knight"). Many of these stories are not concise - they tend to meander - and some end rather abruptly. Without substantial familiarity with the original material, it's difficult to determine how much of this is the stories themselves and how much is Ozaki's doing, but I suspect the latter is more responsible.
These stories are, nevertheless, mostly quite enjoyable, and the differences and similarities with Western fairy tales are particularly interesting. (Wicked stepmothers, apparently, are a source of plot conflict the world over.)
Many of these stories are grim and violent, of the degree of the original un-sanitized Grimm Brothers' tales. There are vicious revenge stories here, and the ones involving animals bring to mind Tom and Jerry (or, perhaps more accurately, Itchy and Scratchy, never mind Happy Tree Friends), even with some obvious sanitizing ("The Farmer and the Badger" is a notable example). Many stories do not have happy endings. They certainly aren't all for small children.
Accuracy aside, Japanese Fairy Tales is a nice little collection of stories, and a decent introduction to Japanese folklore.
HOWEVER, I cannot give the Kindle version a 5 star like I would like to, because the formatting is absolutely horrendous.
Will be reading these to the young'uns and have already told the older kids some of the better ones. Will read again
Mean and petty women also abound, as well as moral stories about filial piety.
Not surprisingly, there are some similarities with Western fairy tales.
These stories, however, will not really give you any insight into Japanese culture. Rather, you should approach this book with at least some basic knowledge about Japanese way of life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These stories are well written and captivating, but are not appropriate for young children. Most of the stories are quite sad and deal with death.Published 12 hours ago by Katherine E. Sojka
It's really long and kinda weird. I was not into it but I'm sure there are people out there who would love this book.Published 15 days ago by Jemma
Thirty-eight wonderful, imaginative tales some of my favorites including "The Peony Lantern" for it's sad story of the master's hunt for his lost love, "The Robe of... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Don Kidwell
I really enjoyed reading these Japanese fairy tales. I always say to get a taste of a country or culture you need to read their folk stories and fairy tales. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Jared
It was a diferent version of myths and not a bad read . Just the tales were a bit odd in placesPublished 1 month ago by Claudia Goins