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Japanese Fairy Tales

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3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,924 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
English translation of 22 tales include ghouls, goblins and ogres; sea serpents and sea kings; kindly animals and magic birds; demons and dragons; princes and princesses. Some are "Momotaro, "The Son of a Peach", "The Jellyfish and the Monkey", "The Mirror of Matsuyama", "The Bamboo Cutter and the Moon Child", "The Stones of Five Colors and the Empress Jokwa."
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 15th 2007 by Tuttle Publishing (first published January 1st 1903)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Taro
Things I learnt from Japanese Fairy Tales
-Never trust a monkey.
-Never trust a stepmother.
-Never trust a stepmother with your monkey.
-Almost every boy in Japan is named Taro, or a variant of that name: Kintaro, Urashima Taro, Momotaro...
-If an old man wants to wrestle your teenage son in the woods (because the old man was watching the boy earlier and saw that he was big and strong), it's perfectly fine to send your son to the capital alone with the old man.
-Take care of your elders.
-Something som
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Feb 02, 2015 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
I've actually been chipping away at these for too long, but I finally concluded them, and feel like I've essentially read the Disney catalog in original form. Evil stepmothers slash stepchild-hating-wives, beat-to-shit-daughters, kind fathers, good intentions, Eveeeel, and MAGIC! abound because we are dealing with fairy tales. The good people are treated like bad people, then discovered to be magical lotus flowers of awesome sunbeam zen, while the bad peoples' heels bleed and they get punched in ...more
J.L.   Sutton
Started off slow, but the way the stories echoed each other made them more interesting and gave them a certain rhythm I enjoyed. Some of the later tales (The Goblin of Adachigahara, The Ogre of Rashomon and How an Old Man Lost his Wen) were also interesting to me as they dealt with more magic/mythological themes:
Diamond Cowboy
Jan 21, 2016 Diamond Cowboy rated it it was amazing
This was a delightful read. This is an English translation of twentytwo fairy tales replete with ogars, gobblins, sea monsters, princes and princesses. They are very fun to read and they keep young ones inthrawled. I read it with my little second cousin.
I recommend this book to all ages.
Enjoy and Be Blessed.
Diamond
Jelena
Aug 26, 2015 Jelena rated it it was ok
As a child I was never too keen on classic fairy tales. I took me many years to take interest in them for their common, archetypical elements and anthropological and social subtext. That is what I wanted from “Japanese Fairy Tales” as well: to compare them to my expectations as a reader more familiar with the Western fairy tale canon.

The building bricks were mostly the same: brave and strong princes, obedient daughters, stepmothers, quests for fortune, kind old people and their other-worldly fo
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Lamski Kikita
Feb 17, 2012 Lamski Kikita rated it liked it
I listened to these tales while working out, and they were really entertaining. I guess what this book gave me was kind of an awakening into Japanese culture, somewhat. I say somewhat because many aspects of these stories do not reflect anything about the way modern Japan is, but many other aspects explain the anime, the manga, the hello kitty peace ambassadors, the still sexist image of women, and many other things.
The more fairy tales I read, the more I see in common between different nations
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Amber
Jan 07, 2014 Amber rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooksiown
This was a pretty interesting collection of Japanese fairy tales and my favorite story in the collection was My Lord bag of Rice though they all were good to read. Check it out.
aljouharah altheeyb
Nov 22, 2012 aljouharah altheeyb rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-books
وانتهت هذه الرحلة الممتعه مع واحد وعشرين قصه من القصص الشعبية اليابانية المعروفه ..
بالطبع كُنت أعرف بعضاً من هذه القصص لكني تمتعت جداً بالإستماع إليها مكتوبة بصيغة مبسطه كهذه تجعل حتى الغير مهتمين بالحضارة اليابانيه يفهمون مُصطلحاتها ..

قصه الرجل ذو الندبة على خده لا تنفك أبداً على إضحاكي !
حتى لإنها كانت موضوع أحد أقدم أفلام الأنمي القصيره بالعالم لكن بدلاً من أن يجد نفسه بحضور عصبة من الشياطين “ oni” وجده نفسه بين مجموعه من غربان الآلهة kras ..
القصص ممتعه جداً وجميله، وكعادة كُل القصص الشعبي
...more
Ahmed Hichem
Mar 11, 2016 Ahmed Hichem rated it really liked it
This is my first time reading about Japanese Fairy Tales and it was really a fun read , i learnt a lot about the Japanese Culture and also the setting of the stories( villages, seas, rivers , mountaines) gave me another perspective of the Japanese folklore , in addition, i learnt a new japanese works like: honorable shadow ( O kage sama de) , meri(crash), old woman ( O Baa San), white (shiro), Earl (Daimio).
And also Japanese proverbs: "As the sword is the soul of the samurai, so is the mirror t
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An Odd1
Sep 13, 2013 An Odd1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fan
Re-reading these five, with drawings, raised my overall rating. I first started text-only ebook called "Japanese Fairy Tales" not "Book" that has 22 tales
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4018

Why is editor Smith listed alone on the outer cover and inner title page, not the original author? Ozaki gets tiny print on copyright page. She has other books at gutenberg. Her full bio shows influences of two countries, Japan and England, depending where born, educated, married twice. Am reading yet anothe
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Sonja Arlow
In comparison to the Grimm Fairytales these stories almost seem to have no point or proper ending to them, with some just ending abruptly.

Whether this is is a case of the essence being lost in translation I cannot say for sure but I found this collection of short stories not nearly as charming as I hoped they would be.

My overall rating and enjoyment was also influenced by the fact that 1) I tend to be overly critical of audio-books (much more so than when I do the reading myself, 2) I have been
...more
Vaishali Joglekar
The great majority of these stories are either badly translated, pointless/rambling, or melodramatic. European tales (Grimm, Anderson, Perrault, Swedish) and Vedic stories are far, far better!

The good ones :
"The Old Man Who Made Withered Trees Flower"
"The Sagacious Monkey and the Boar"
"Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad"

Skip the rest.
Camille
I like fairy tales in general, I've always been attracted to them.
This selection was interesting, as I don't know much about Japanese Fairy Tales. However, I was bothered by the writing style - it has been written for Occidental children who know little to nothing about Japan, so a lot is explained, which annoyed me when reading.
Other than than, it's an enjoyable short read.
Velvetea
Aug 05, 2011 Velvetea rated it liked it
I was pleased to find the most popular stories here, along with a few new ones. There is that dream-like fairytale appeal, where things just happen and you don’t really question why a chestnut is talking or weather pulling out all of the rabbit’s fur was a suitable punishment. I feel the details of each are carefully preserved here, along with somewhat unnecessary amount of violence that seems to be present in old tales. But they’re quirky, cute, and offer a peek into the seams of Japan~ a found ...more
Stephanie R.
Mar 01, 2015 Stephanie R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children, people who like short stories, good for reading aloud
These stories are great. I recommend reading one or two at a time. They are short enough to read out loud, which is another bonus. The stories generally fall into two possible paths. Some of them are about people (or talking animals) who do brave deeds or live a good, hardworking life and then they are rewarded for it. The others are about people or animals who do wicked things and then receive their just deserts. Almost all the stories have happy endings (but not necessarily happy beginnings or ...more
Amélie
Quite interesting read. To me they are more myths than fairy tales though.

It was interesting to see how some ideas/tropes that you find in western myths/tales are found also in these ones (though that might be due to the choice of stories), like the pattern of "good guy does one thing and gets good things in return, jealous bad guys tries same thing and gets bad things in return", or the "supernatural children found in plants or vegetables".

I'd definitely read more !
lita
Aug 12, 2011 lita rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book
Ternyata isi kumpulan dongeng ini pernah saya baca terjemahannya saat masih SD dulu, karena secara terpisah dimuat di majalah Bobo. Ada beberapa dongeng dalam buku ini yang memberi pengaruh kuat pada saya, misalnya "Burung Gagak yang Digunting Lidahnya". Sejak dibacakan - dan kemudian membaca sendiri - dongeng ini, bila ada orang menawarkan suatu benda pada saya, saya selalu memilih yang paling kecil.(lits)
Perry Whitford
Jan 21, 2015 Perry Whitford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The compiler and translator of these Japanese fairy tales married her near-namesake and prominent liberal politician Yukio Ozaki (he opposed his countries entry into WWII) when they met up after their mail had been misdelivered for years. That's an exquisite story in itself, as are the twenty two stories in this celebrated collection.

I was familiar with two of these stories beforehand. One of these, 'The Mirror of Matsuyama', is a truly delightful story, an ancient and homespun example of practi
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Monica
Nov 03, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fairy tales filled with lessons of honor, repentance, justice, compassion. Seems that every culture has a tale in which an innocent character is warned:..."whatever happens don't go near or look into the inner room". And what always happens? Of course they look! Well, no good has ever come from that...

Yei Theodora Ozaki, the author/translator, states that "This collection of Japanese fairy tales is the outcome of a suggestion made to me indirectly through a friend by Mr. Andrew Lang." But unlike
...more
Maria
Dec 22, 2014 Maria rated it really liked it
Wonderful read. Everywhere fairy tales have the same core elements, it seems. In terms of evil stepmothers, good brothers and jealous/evil brothers, virtuous wifes, magic plans and divine help. Although I don't actually have a thing for Japan nor Japanese culture, I was pleased to read these stories because it was nice to see some elements were particularly Japanese (or Eastern?), e.g. dragons, emperors, turtoises, sun and moon as living beings, cunning monkeys. The stories are Japanese, but I t ...more
Annie
Jun 07, 2016 Annie rated it liked it
Shelves: edrd-614
I really enjoyed this book because it was an English version of Japanese fairy tales, and I find that it could be really useful with any ESL students that have a Japanese heritage. The flow of these stories was really nice, and I found them entertaining. I found that some of the themes were similar to ones that I have heard before or when I was younger. It was nice learning about some other culture and really making connections with this book and ones I have read. It was a good comparison, and I ...more
Nicole
Apr 24, 2016 Nicole rated it really liked it
I loved reading this knowing that this was written by someone with Japanese heritage, not just a white person who went to Japan, heard the stories, and then wrote them down.

I loved this stories. I find it so interesting how many things are so similar to the fairy tales that I grew up with, which shows there are some pretty universal themes. Seeing the reoccurring tropes/symbolism (apparently stepmothers are evil in Japan too) was interesting as both a reader and on an academic level. On big dif
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John Fair
Jun 27, 2014 John Fair rated it liked it
Interesting how common themes to western euro tales are similar.
An Odd1
Dec 28, 2012 An Odd1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
.. to finish later when I get paper illustrated version
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4018
After enjoying "Japanese Fairy Tales", the paper version of excerpted 5 tales, I will ask inter-library for "Japanese Fairy Book", paper version of ebook misnamed "Japanese Fairy Tales". The drawings bring magic animals to life, so I enjoy re-reading. 22 tales, may not list all titles, will give you sample, just review first story for now. Warrior, dragon, peasant, princess, goblin, talking animal - magic
...more
Charlie
Apr 28, 2011 Charlie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It turns out that fairy stories around the world are really very similar. I don't know why I expected the Japanese take on them to be very different. I recognised so many themes and stories in really surprisingly subtle new guises. In fact, I don't think there were any that blew me away and shouted "you wouldn't find this in a European tale".

I recognised the land I know as Fairy (here, the dragon king's palace under the sea) which has the power to change perception of time passing, longevity, va
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PurplyCookie
Originally published in 1903, Yei Theodora Ozaki's translation of Sadanami Sanjin's collection of Japanese fairy tales has been the introduction of many a young child into the legends and fables of old Japan across the years.

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 rar
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Kay
Typos are disappointing; clearly, the editor fell asleep on this one. However, the stories themselves are really interesting. Quite a few of them seem to end rather abruptly, and I can't decide if details were left out because of language barriers or if that's just the way Japanese fairytales go. It makes them jarring, even for short stories (which I dislike to begin with, because I always want them to last so much longer).

The further in I get, the more difficult it becomes to pay attention. Som
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Dione Basseri
Mar 01, 2016 Dione Basseri rated it it was amazing
I'm not a renowned expert on Japanese folklore and mythology, but I have read a fair bit and took a course on it in college, so from my perspective, I'll say that this is quite a nice and accurate collection. I had been listening to the different fairy tale books by Joseph Jacobs, and for some reason thought that this was one of his. To find it was written by an actual Japanese person was a relief, and having it come from his perspective I think does help the book's credibility.

Now, any parents
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Anne Jeppesen
Jul 20, 2014 Anne Jeppesen rated it it was ok
This book, more than anything illustrates the difference between storytelling traditions around the world. From a European perspective the tales lack purpose, morale, struggle etc. I found the tales flat and uninspiring. Probably because I'm raised with the tales of European tradition. With set rules and all with a purpose to illustrate the struggles in life - or how far you can go if you really put an effort in.
heidi
Jul 11, 2015 heidi rated it liked it
The tales were initially interesting but became too similar after a while. I found myself asking where were all the clever girls and women in ancient Japan? It was all about strong boys and princes who fought demons in very biased matches (these boys and princes were all helped by magic).
The final story about an empress who ruled her kingdom pretty much saved the book for me, and I enjoyed the fables involving animal characters.
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Yei Theodora Ozaki was an early 20th century translator of Japanese short stories and fairy tales. Her translations were fairly liberal but have been popular, and were reprinted several times after her death.

According to "A Biographical Sketch" by Mrs. Hugh Fraser, included in the introductory material to Warriors of old Japan, and other stories, Ozaki came from an unusual background. She was the
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More about Yei Theodora Ozaki...

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“There is a proverb which says "As the soul is at three so it is at one hundred,” 1 likes
“He found himself, according to his ideas, in the land of Topsyturvydom. Everything was upside down. He had wished to escape from dying. He had come to the land of Perpetual Life with great relief and joy, only to find that the inhabitants themselves, doomed never to die, would consider it bliss to find death.” 0 likes
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