The Unbeloved — Hiruko and Awashima

Hiruko 蛭子 In the Kojiki, Hiruko is the first kami born to Izanami and Izanagi. The first character in her name means "leech" and most scholars speculate that she was not fully formed. In the Nihon Shoki, Hiruko is born second and the passage reads, "First was Awaji Island, next Hiruko was born. But Hiruko… Continue reading The Unbeloved — Hiruko and Awashima


Izanami & Izanagi — The Birth of Japan

Text translated from 古事記 現代語訳 武田祐吉 Kojiki Modern Translation by Yukichi Takeda (circa 1940, public domain). Creation of the Islands The kami of the heavens charged Izanagi and Izanami with the task of hardening the floating masses and settling them into place by using a splendid hoko (a kind of spear -- the image to the left… Continue reading Izanami & Izanagi — The Birth of Japan


千疋狼— A Thousand Wolves

This story is also told all over Japan in various forms. In some cases, the wolf is replaced by she-demon (Niigata) or a shape-shifting cat. The wolf version below is largely translated from a collection of folklore entitled, 日本の民話(四国編)(Japanese Folklore - Shikoku) compiled by Marihiko Fujiwara (藤澤衞彦)  and can be purchased in Japanese from various… Continue reading 千疋狼— A Thousand Wolves


狼の眉毛 — The Wolf’s Eyebrow

It was harder than I thought it would be to find an unaltered version of this tale online. Most people seem to feel the main character needs a happier ending. I translated the version below from this site, where the author clearly points out what parts they have altered to make a happier story. I… Continue reading 狼の眉毛 — The Wolf’s Eyebrow


Horafuki Challenge (ほらくらべ)

The story below was translated from this website and features the Tsugaru region. But a similar horafuki story featuring the Tohoku region was collected by the Japanese folklorist Toshio Ozawa. If you search "ほらくらべ" you can find a few more versions. The differences are largely regional, but also differ in character gender and the number… Continue reading Horafuki Challenge (ほらくらべ)