Japanese Legends and Folklore
invites English speakers into the intriguing world of Japanese folktales, ghost stories and historical eyewitness accounts. With a fascinating selection of stories about Japanese culture and history, A.B. Mitford—who lived and worked in Japan as a British diplomat—presents a broad cross section of tales from many Japanese sources. Discover more about practically every aspect of Japanese life—from myths and legends to society and religion.This book features 30 fascinating Japanese stories, including:
- The Forty-Seven Ronin—the famous, epic tale of a loyal band of Samurai warriors who pay the ultimate price for avenging the honor of their fallen master.
- The Tongue-Cut Sparrow—a good-hearted old man is richly rewarded when he begs forgiveness from a sparrow who is injured by his spiteful, greedy wife.
- The Adventures of Little Peach Boy—a tale familiar to generations of Japanese children, a small boy born from a peach is adopted by a kindly childless couple.
- Japanese Sermons—a selection of sermons written by a priest belonging to the Shingaku sect, which combines Buddhist, Shinto and Confucian teachings.
- An Account of Hara-Kiri—Mitford's dramatic first person account of a ritual Samurai suicide, the first time it had been reported in English.
Thirty-one reproductions of woodblock prints bring the classic tales and essays to life. These influential stories helped shape the West's understanding of Japanese culture. A new foreword by Professor Michael Dylan Foster sheds light on the book's importance as a groundbreaking work of Japanese folklore, literature and history.
A.B. Mitford (Lord Redesdale) was a British author and diplomat. He was attache at the British legation in Edo (Tokyo) at the beginning of Japan's turbulent Meiji Restoration and was witness to Japan's opening to the West. His writings were hugely popular and helped shape the West's understanding of Japanese culture.
Michael Dylan Foster is Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Davis. He is the author ofThe Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore (2015),Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yokai (2009), and numerous articles on Japanese folklore, literature and media.
"One of the first and in many ways still one of the best books on Japan."—The Japan Times
"An excellent introduction to Japanese literature."—Mainichi Daily News