Japanese Legends and Folklore invites English speakers into the intriguing world of Japanese folktales, ghost stories and historical eyewitness accounts. With a fascinating selection of stories about Japanese culture and history, A.B. Mitford—who lived and worked in Japan as a British diplomat—presents a broad cross section of tales from many Japanese sources. Discover more about practically every aspect of Japanese life—from myths and legends to society and religion.
This book features 30 fascinating Japanese stories, including:
- The Forty-Seven Ronin—the famous, epic tale of a loyal band of Samurai warriors who pay the ultimate price for avenging the honor of their fallen master.
- The Tongue-Cut Sparrow—a good-hearted old man is richly rewarded when he begs forgiveness from a sparrow who is injured by his spiteful, greedy wife.
- The Adventures of Little Peach Boy—a tale familiar to generations of Japanese children, a small boy born from a peach is adopted by a kindly childless couple.
- Japanese Sermons—a selection of sermons written by a priest belonging to the Shingaku sect, which combines Buddhist, Shinto and Confucian teachings.
- An Account of Hara-Kiri—Mitford's dramatic first person account of a ritual Samurai suicide, the first time it had been reported in English.
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About the Author
A.B. Mitford (Lord Redesdale) was a British author and diplomat. He was attache at the British legation in Edo (Tokyo) at the beginning of Japan's turbulent Meiji Restoration and was witness to Japan's opening to the West. His writings were hugely popular and helped shape the West's understanding of Japanese culture.
Michael Dylan Foster is Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore (2015), Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yokai (2009) , and numerous articles on Japanese folklore, literature and media.
Table of Contents
The Forty-Seven Ronins ($$$) 11
The Loves of Gompachi and Komurasaki ($$$) 32
Kazuma's Revenge ($$$) 52
A Story of the Otokodate of Edo ($$$) 68
The Wonderful Adventures of Funakoshi Juemon ($$$) 111
The Eta Maiden and the Hatamoto ($$$) 136
Fairy Tales ($$$) 156
The Tongue-Cut Sparrow ($$$) 156
The Accomplished and Lucky Tea-Kettle ($$$) 158
The Crackling Mountain ($$$) 160
The Story of the Old Man Who Made Withered Trees to Blossom ($$$) 162
The Battle of the Ape and the Crab ($$$) 165
The Adventures of Little Peach Boy ($$$) 167
The Foxes' Wedding ($$$) 169
The History of Sakata Kintoki ($$$) 170
The Elves and the Envious Neighbor ($$$) 172
The Ghost of Sakura ($$$) 174
How Tajima Shume was Tormented by a Devil of His Own Creation ($$$) 209
Concerning Certain Superstitions ($$$) 214
The Vampire Cat of Nabéshima ($$$) 215
The Story of the Faithful Cat ($$$) 221
How a Man Was Bewitched and Had His Head Shaved by the Foxes ($$$) 223
The Grateful Foxes ($$$) 227
The Badger's Money ($$$) 234
The Prince and the Badger ($$$) 238
Japanese Sermons ($$$) 241
The Sermons of Kyuo, Sermon I ($$$) 247
The Sermons of Kyuo, Sermon II ($$$) 257
The Sermons of Kyuo, Sermon III ($$$) 266
Appendix A An Account of the Hara-Kiri ($$$) 276
Appendix B The Marriage Ceremony ($$$) 304
Appendix C On the Birth and Rearing of Children ($$$) 312
Appendix D Funeral Rites ($$$) 317