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Japanese Fairy Tales

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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  3,222 ratings  ·  232 reviews
Clever heroes and animals endowed with magical powers head a cast of delightful characters in five old tales from "Japanese Fairy Book" by Yei Theodora Ozaki in 1903 (gutenberg has text). 14 of the original elegant black and white line drawings bring life to the wrinkled old couples, Momotaro emerging from the giant peach, his adult-size animal warriors walking erect - ...more
Paperback, 90 pages
Published November 1st 1992 by Dover Publications (first published January 1st 1903)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  3,222 ratings  ·  232 reviews


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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
...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:
Paquita Maria Sanchez
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
Daniel Clausen
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is something delightful, something childish, something absolutely necessary about fairy tales. The further I travel into adulthood, the more I feel I need the simple delights of warriors and princesses fighting monsters in the mountains.

Fairy tales often also bring much needed moral clarity. That's why I think that stories that feature adults or children and have them travel to fantastical worlds that have parallels to their own work so well (Wizard of Oz, Labyrinth, Alice in Wonderland,
...more
Steven Walle
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
R K
I didn't hate this book. On the contrary, the collection had a vast array of interesting tales but they are just fairy tales. There is only so much you can obtain from them.

Review Continued Here

Hafsa Sabira
Not sure whether it was the translation or something else, the stories seemed to have a lot of western influence. One thing for sure though, some things are common in fairy tales from all over the world. Step mother is evil, old women are often bad, never break an oath, there's a kingdom underwater, such traits seem to be common in all the fairy tales.
Amber
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jelena
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: myth-folklore
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
...more
Lamski Kikita
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
...more
Anne - Books of My Heart
This was one of my Kindle freebies and it was ok. It is made up of about 15-20 tales (I didn't count) which are between 2-10 pages long. There are some themes common in them. An old man and old woman have never had but always wanted a child. If you are kind and generous but stupid, you will be killed by a wicked, greedy person. Several had monkeys and / or the Sea King. The telling style was similar in all the stories. I liked them but because of the similarities I think I would have enjoyed it ...more
Bregje (B a Reader)
The rating simply reflect my enjoyment of the book. It was an interesting read, but I found that the fairy tales started to feel similar after a while and I got less interested in continuing the book. The tales about the Dragon King of the Sea were my favorite.
Jazzy Lemon
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Japanese fairy tales, what's not to like?
Yipin
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in a simple and straightforward childish tone that both adult and children can enjoy. This book reminds me of the stories my Grandmother used to tell me when I was young. It captures the Asian culture perfectly.
Douglas Done
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this book is very enjoyable.
My favorite tales for bardic from this book are "The Tongue Cut Sparrow" "My Lord Bag of Rice" "The Quarrel of the Monkey and the Crab" and "How the Jellyfish came to be"
Rebecca
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
at some point I should start comparing impressions. unsurprisingly, fairy tales are deeply different from one culture to another
Ira Therebel
The fairy tales in this book are not literally translated but adjusted to interest children from the Western countries. Would be interesting to read a more accurate translation. Still I really liked reading them as an adult.

The book includes a lot of magic and moral lessons. I only didn't like two of them: The Story of Prince Yamato Take and The Stones of Five Colors and Empress Jokwa. These were pretty boring, the rest were pretty entertaining.

I found it interesting how some things were similar
...more
Nicole Dunton
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been wanting to read this book for a long time but never seemed to have gotten the time to. I'm glad I finally got the time now. I actually knew two of these stories. Some of my family lived in Japan for a time and they brought back books for my siblings and I. One of them was because my birthday is in it. Either way, they were great stories and I fully recommend them. I loved the morals in most, if not all, of these.
An Odd1
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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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
...more
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
An Odd1
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I read ebook without pictures, would be delightful extra, will search libraries. Too many tales 22 to list titles. Warrior, dragon, peasant, princess, goblin, talking animal, magic throughout. Although the titles recall the tales, I re-read them repeatedly, like all classics.

From the first "My Lord Bag of Rice", the phrasing is simple but rhythmic and traditional: "Long, long ago there lived", "there is a very interesting story", "One day he sallied forth", "Crunch, crunch", "tramp, tramp". The
...more
Velvetea
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese
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 ...more
Ahmed Hichem
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Stephanie R.
Oct 09, 2014 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 !
Kereesa
Its interesting seeing the variety of comparisons within these fairy tales and our own Western ones. Evil stepmothers? Check. Evil Neighbors? Check. Evil Monkeys? Um, er. Stories about how animals came to be/got their names? Check. Underwater palaces? Hmm...

You get the idea.

An intriguing, if kind of odd, collection that was definitely directed towards Western audience. Makes me wonder if there was a few abridgments in there..

3/5
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.
Vaishali
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.
John Fair
Interesting how common themes to western euro tales are similar.
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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
...more
“There is a proverb which says "As the soul is at three so it is at one hundred,” 2 likes
“But, alas! in this world nothing lasts forever. Even the moon is not always perfect in shape, but loses its roundness with time, and flowers bloom and then fade.” 1 likes
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