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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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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)

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Death and Mountain Kami — Origins of Shinto

Intro I decided last year to do a post in the gods section. But then I got lost in the library trying to decide what god to start with. It's typical to start with Izanami and Izanagi, but their role in actual religious practice  before the 8th century is debatable at best. A more interesting… Continue reading Death and Mountain Kami — Origins of Shinto