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Tama River Folktales

I took my cousin to the library the other day when she came to visit (because I know a good time) and stumbled on this book: Tama River Folktales by Sakuhira Ishii, Arimine Shoten Publishing, 1976. I couldn't find the copyright notice in the book, but to err on the side of caution, let us… Continue reading Tama River Folktales

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The Three Tragedies of Tama River

These three stories are all from the Warring States Period in Japanese history, 1467 - 1573 CE. A name that pops up in all 3 of the stories is Hojo. The Hojo clan were the most powerful clan in the Kanto region until they were unseated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. And...I have totally been wondering about… Continue reading The Three Tragedies of Tama River

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Tales from an Elderly Woman from Ome

Main Reference: Tama River Folktales by Sakuhira Ishii, Arimine Shoten Publishing, 1976 Evidently, the author of the book above found a very old woman in a tea shop in the 1970s and got the following tales from her. I am particularly fond of the second story. I think it could have universal appeal? The Laughing… Continue reading Tales from an Elderly Woman from Ome

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Sentimental Tales from Tama River

Main Reference: Tama River Folktales by Sakuhira Ishii, Arimine Shoten Publishing, 1976 The Mysterious Sake Jug I think this is a mix of an old story in which Kanon-sama uses a mysterious sake jug and influence from Aladdin's lamp. Zack Davisson, who by the way maintains an excellent site which is a kind of evil… Continue reading Sentimental Tales from Tama River

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The Tama River Foxes

Main Reference: Tama River Folktales by Sakuhira Ishii, Arimine Shoten Publishing, 1976 In this story the author/compiler of the book gets "invited" to a fox story-telling competition. In Japanese folktales, foxes (kitsune) and raccoon dogs (tanuki) are often portrayed as able to change shape and cause hallucinations. Foxes are also associated with being able to… Continue reading The Tama River Foxes

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Kusuke the Kappa

Main Reference: Tama River Folktales by Sakuhira Ishii, Arimine Shoten Publishing, 1976 Alternate sources: http://www.47news.jp/CI/200812/CI-20081205-00182.html There used to be many kappa around Izumi Tamagawa in Komae. But they were wiped out because humans caught them to use in exhibitions and sell at markets. However despite the kappa's extinction, the exhibitions did not end. People filled… Continue reading Kusuke the Kappa

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The Seven Generations of the Age of the Kami (神世七代)

The 12 kami that appear in the Kojiki after the Celestial Kami are called the seven generations of the age of the kami (kami no yo nana yo). One thing to keep in mind while reading the appearance of the kami in the Kojiki is that they mostly represent abstract ideas in the creation story… Continue reading The Seven Generations of the Age of the Kami (神世七代)

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The Creator Kami and the Celestial Kami

----------------- Text translated from 古事記 現代語訳 武田祐吉 Kojiki Modern Translation by Yukichi Takeda (circa 1940, public domain). In the Beginning Long ago, at the earliest beginning of the heavens and the earth, the first kami to appear in the heavens was named Amenominakanushi. The next kami was Takamimusubi, and the next was Kamimusubi. These three kami were… Continue reading The Creator Kami and the Celestial Kami

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Intro to the Kojiki (古事記)

There are two main historical texts we can use to read about Shinto gods, the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki. Both were commissioned by Emperor Tenmu during his reign from 673 to 686 CE. They were also both compiled by O no Yasumaro. People with an interest in mythology tend to read them as a kind… Continue reading Intro to the Kojiki (古事記)