Folktales from the Japanese Countryside

As in many countries, storytelling is a revered art in Japan, and traditional tales have been carefully preserved for centuries. Yet only a small portion of Japan’s tales has been shared with English-speaking audiences. From one of Japan’s most popular and respected storytellers, this collection introduces readers to more than 40 wondrous tales from rural Japan–stories they have not yet seen or heard-from animal tales and tales of supernatural beings to stories about village characters and priests and their apprentices. These are tales from the Japanese countryside, representative of the country’s rich folklore, and preserved and retold by a “ohanashi obaasan” (storytelling granny). You’ll find such stories as “Sky Watcher,” “Mouse Teeth,” “Owl’s Paintshop,” “Radish Bath,” and “Snow Woman’s Baby.” Tales are organized into broad thematic categories-animal tales, stories of village people, priests and their apprentices, strange happenings, yamanbas, and supernatural tales. It’s a fascinating assortment that will delight young listeners, intrigue older readers, and offer scholars new insights. Background on the country and Japanese culture, notes on the tales, a glossary, recipes, games and crafts, and color photos and illustrations enhance the collection.