Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tales of Old Japan: Folklore, Fairy Tales, Ghost Stories and Legends of the Samurai” as Want to Read:
Tales of Old Japan: Folklore, Fairy Tales, Ghost Stories and Legends of the Samurai
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

Tales of Old Japan: Folklore, Fairy Tales, Ghost Stories and Legends of the Samurai

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  381 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Compiled by one of the first foreign diplomats in Japan, this famous collection of classic tales covers an engrossing array of subjects: ghost stories, fairy tales, folklore, a fascinating eyewitness account of a hara-kiri ceremony, and gripping narratives of vampires and samurai. A treasury of information on Japanese locales, customs, and characters, this volume delights ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 24th 2005 by Dover Publications (first published 1871)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tales of Old Japan, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Tales of Old Japan

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,675)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 04, 2015 Holmlock rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at old Japan, written at the start of the Meiji era, by one of the earliest westerners to have lived there. Mitford collects whatever stories and fairy tales he can get his hands on and it's a real treat to read them. Stories of samurai, cursed swords, shape shifters, ghosts, and goblins light up the pages. For a lover of folklore they are a delight to read. These fantastic stories are accompanied by accounts of fact. Mitford documented sermons, marriage traditions and funeral ...more
Aug 01, 2012 Biondy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What is this mess Elex made? Apa-apaan buku ini? Oke, saya bingung harus bilang apa. Pertama kali lihat buku ini di toko buku, saya betul-betul bersemangat dan berencana untuk membelinya. Pembelian buku ini tertunda dan minggu lalu buku ini muncul di perpustakaan kampus saya. Saya batal membeli buku ini dan akhirnya minjam dari perpustakaan.

Baru selesai baca cerita pertama saya langsung bersyukur karena tidak membeli buku ini. Banyak sekali typo dan peletakan tanda baca yang aneh. Kalau cuma sat
Jul 08, 2014 Ivon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3rd-pov, it-s-crappy
Satu bintang tidak ditujukan kepada kisah-kisah dalam buku ini, melainkan pada TERJEMAHANNYA YANG SANGAT BURUK.

Anda tahu saya cerewet soal terjemahan. Namun, separah-parahnya hasil terjemahan yang selama ini saya baca, penerjemahnya selalu berhasil membuat ceritanya dapat dimengerti dari awal sampai akhir.

Tidak dengan buku ini.

Yang membuat saya amat meradang adalah: buku ini terbitan resmi dari Elex, yang setahu saya tidak pernah lalai dengan kontrol kualitas terjemahan mereka.

Apa yang terjadi
Sep 08, 2012 Talitha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mine
decided not to finish this book, sorry. i cant bear reading this awful translated book. im sure the story would be interesting if it translated in a right way
Mina Soare
Feb 27, 2015 Mina Soare rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social, anthology, asian, dnf
Since the book was written before the age of J.K. Rowling and teenage bestsellers I'll note that the slow pace and the almost objective style of writing on the proviso that most things sounded like this those days. The rating reflects this - it's good stuff, but I worked to finish this book.

Basically it's a collection of Japanese stories intertwined with the author's notes and observations from his journey(s?) in Japan. The style is 'almost' objective, because of the descriptions and interpretat
I read this book for my second read of the History Book Club's Japan Challenge. I found the stories interesting and amusing. I was concerned the names would run together and that I wouldn't be able to keep the character's straight, but I didn't find that to be the case. This book was written over 150 years ago, which makes me doubt the accuracy of the translation and Freeman-Mitford's critique/explanation of each story. Still taken for what it was, I found it to be enjoyable.
Jan 20, 2012 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book! I've discovered many facts I didn't know about ancient Japan and the life of Samurais. Particularly impressive how important family and revenge are for that nation. Surprising how Japanese culture survived when guided by revenge they kill so many people, friends etc. Moreover, the ritual of performing Harakiri ("to slice the abdomen") which is an act of suicide made into a day event with a large number of participants and observers. Truly interesting book. The only reason I gav ...more
Jan 02, 2012 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the book. Particularly the fact that there were a lot of things that I did know about ancient Japanese culture that I didn't know. As well as the old cultural tales that I found interesting and fascinating. I found it amazing how Japanese Samurais will revenge passionately their relatives and people that are close to them. The book was written well but somewhat in a very simple language. I think it could be more expressive with the language but still makes for a great read for any ...more
May 01, 2014 Mahira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
11 of my fav books
Sofi Metskhvarishvili
well this book is educational it's not for fun reading , and you beed to be really interested in Japanese culture to read it. in the end the sermons were really hard to read for me. i think it is better to start with mythology if you are interested in this culture
Aug 26, 2012 Tony rated it really liked it
Fun stuff, nicely written by a Westerner in Japan shortly after its opening. Like the Icelandic sagas or Homer, it's a lucky break to have a culture recorded as it disappears, even if the recording is only possible during a time of transition and therefore stands as an impure example of the era it records.

Anyway, it's an easy read with short tales interspersed with cultural commentary.
Apr 26, 2012 Fajar rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia
Rating ini bukan karena konten ceritanya, tapi karena masalah teknis bukunya. Terjemahannya parah, belum lagi soal typo. Satu dua kesalahan mungkin ga masalah, tp kalo kebanyakan jadinya bikin ganggu.

Males baca buku ini sampe habis. Kesalahannya bener-bener fatal.
Feb 08, 2013 Rizma rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Cerita-ceritanya sih bagus, bagus banget malah. Tapi terjemahannya itu loh aduhai banget kacaunya, tidak terselamatkan. Apalagi masih ditambah typo yang super parah. Sayang banget, buku sebagus ini mestinya layak dapet penerbit yang lebih kompeten.
Feb 14, 2013 Aprille rated it liked it
Very interesting, but you need to remember that this is all reported through the filter of the Victorian-era traveler, Mitford. I wonder what wasn't selected. This selection seems a bit heavy on honor and hara-kiri.
Oct 22, 2015 Norain rated it did not like it
I think this book is suitable for those who are writing research papers etc because it has very detailed accounts about things like harakiri. The only part that I really like is the fol tales.
It was interesting to see how much people in the West could learn about Japan in the 19th century. This volume is at times much more accurate and precise than contemporary books on Japan.
Nov 21, 2014 Jewel rated it it was ok
Shelves: asian-lit
authentic ghost stories and fairy tales but also unfortunately dry and somewhat boring. perhaps useful to those studying Japanese literature, not to those seeking entertainment.
Translations are all wrong. Sorry, this is coming from someone who has studied and lived in Japan.
Andy Siregar
translate yg buruk, harus cari lagi versi lain nya karna sebetulnya ini buku bagus
Sep 22, 2012 Kaoru rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan-literature
too much typo... padahal ni buku literatur yg lumayan bagus....
Debbie Zapata
Mar 14, 2015 Debbie Zapata rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pg
Dull as dishwater. I abandoned it after two chapters.
Anemone Nissa Dwiharyani
Terjemahannya...ya ampuun... :|
Nov 28, 2014 Britta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Immensely enjoyable 1870s collection of folk tales, heroic recounts, and ghost stories from Japan before the Meiji Restoration. Some stories are very fun, some almost heartbreaking. The tale of the grateful foxes, for instance, so moved me that I teared up. Lovely, short book.
Daniel added it
Feb 08, 2016
Shay marked it as to-read
Feb 07, 2016
Malena rated it did not like it
Feb 06, 2016
Alexandra Cocleaza
Alexandra Cocleaza rated it liked it
Feb 05, 2016
Daniel Griffin
Daniel Griffin marked it as to-read
Feb 04, 2016
PJ marked it as to-read
Feb 04, 2016
Tuyen marked it as to-read
Feb 02, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 55 56 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Japanese Tales (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
  • Myths and Legends of Japan
  • In Ghostly Japan
  • Japanese Fairy Tales
  • The Bamboo Sword: And Other Samurai Tales
  • The Kojiki: Records of Ancient Matters
  • A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present
  • Japanese Ghosts and Demons: Art of the Supernatural
  • Legends of the Samurai
  • A History of Japan, 1615-1867
  • Sources of Japanese Tradition (Volume I)
  • Japanese Culture
  • The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan
  • Japanese Fairy World - Stories From The Wonder-Lore Of Japan
  • The Way of the Samurai: Yukio Mishima on Hagakure in Modern Life
  • Furin Kazan
  • The Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi: Detective Stories of Old Edo
  • Samurai: The World of the Warrior

Share This Book

“If a man thinks only of his own profit, and tries to benefit himself at the expense of others, he will incur the hatred of Heaven.” 0 likes
More quotes…