Topical

Poison mizuame candy (水飴の毒)

This is a popular story in Japan and can easily be found online in a variety of forms by searching the title (水飴の毒) or 一休ばなし (Ikkyū banashi). The smart apprentice in these kinds of stories is generally named Ikkyū, and you can find several master vs. apprentice type verbal gags by searching 一休ばなし. Once upon… Continue reading Poison mizuame candy (水飴の毒)

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Sweet red beans (和尚さんのお代わり)

The English version below is based on the popular Japanese tale 和尚さんのお代わり, similar versions about amazake (a sweet, rice wine) or other foods are also told. Long ago there lived a young apprentice and a stingy master in a Buddhist temple. One day the master asked the apprentice to make some boiled sweet red beans… Continue reading Sweet red beans (和尚さんのお代わり)

Benevolent

The Legend of the Birth of Michizane

Long ago, there was a fisherman named Tayuu Kiribatake living in the village near Lake Yogo. One day, he followed a pleasant smell to a willow tree. Walking closer, he saw a light-weight, bright fabric hanging from one of its branches. He picked it up to take it, but when he turned around, a beautiful… Continue reading The Legend of the Birth of Michizane

Benevolent

The Hagoromo Legend of Miho

There was once fisherman named Hakuryo (white dragon) who lived in Miho. Every morning he went fishing near the pine groves of Miho. He was used to seeing the coastal scenery, but one spring morning, he saw Mount Fuji looking particularly beautiful. An indescribably good smell was hanging in the air. He followed the smell… Continue reading The Hagoromo Legend of Miho

Topical, Uncategorized

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