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Summary

Discover fascinating ancient Japanese fairy tales as well as the folk tales of the Ainu/Aino, who are the indigenous people of Japan

Japan is known for producing the best horror movies of all time. The creatures from these movies were often inspired by Japanese mythology—ghosts, demons, and monsters with backstories as colorful as they are scary.

These supernatural beings are often formed from complex emotions that linger beyond death, hence why they are so interesting and terrifying.

The annotations include:

  • The history of Japan
  • The history of the Aino people

The first book in this collection, titled Japanese Fairy Tales, was written by Iwaya Sazanami and translated by Yei Theodora Ozaki. Yei was a translator of Japanese short stories and fairy tales who worked in the early 20th century. Her translations were known to be quite liberal, yet despite this, they were rather successful and were reissued several times after she passed away.

Here is a look at some of the fairy tales inside:

  • My Lord Bag of Rice
  • The Tongue-Cut Sparrow
  • The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad
  • The “Shinansha”, or the South Pointing Carriage
  • The Adventures of Kintaro, the Golden Boy
  • The Story of Princess Hase: A Story of Old Japan
  • The Story of the Man Who Did Not Wish to Die
  • The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child
  • The Mirror of Matsuyama a Story of Old Japan
  • The Goblin of Adachigahara
  • The Sagacious Monkey and the Boar
  • The Happy Hunter and the Skillful Fisher
  • And many more

The second book in this collection is a rare one that is not usually available in audio format. Its title is Aino Folk-Tales by author Basil Chamberlain. Basil was one of the most prominent British Japanologists who was active in Japan during the latter half of the 19th century. He taught Japanese at Tokyo Imperial University. In addition to that, he is responsible for some of the earliest translations of haiku into the English language.

The book goes over the old stories from the Ainu, and although Chamberlain was a bit quick to judge them with distaste, it is clear that his interest in them was genuine. As many say, the book is a product of its time and its author. It is advised to skip the intros by Chamberlain and jump right into the 54 short stories.

Unlike fairy tales, which are made up, folk tales derives from real life phenomena. They are passed on through generations and have a huge importance and influence in the culture of the people as they aim to teach important lessons.

Here is a quick peek at some of the folk tales inside:

  • The Rat and the Owl
  • The Loves of the Thunder Gods
  • Why Dogs Cannot Speak
  • Why the Cock Cannot Fly
  • The Origin of the Hare
  • The Owl and the Tortoise
  • How a Man Got the Better of Two Foxes
  • The Man Who Married the Bear-Goddess
  • The Stolen Charm
  • The Two Foxes, the Mole, and the Crows
  • The Punishment of Curiosity
  • The Kind Giver and the Grudging Giver
  • And many more

The Ainu way of life was inextricably linked to the land. They have endured a challenging past, as you will discover in this book, and their ancestry is still a mystery to this day.

Public Domain (P)2022 Chronos Publishing

What listeners say about Japanese Mythology Collection

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  • Kristjan Larson
  • 26-07-22

Pretty much what you would expect

The narration works for the stories with a limited number of voices (so good but not great) and you pretty much get what you would expect … a lot of little/short fairytales from a [Japanese] culture that is generally not well known to the English speaking world; making this a fun, and at times silly, distraction that you can easily break up into convenient segments to match a busy schedule. .

I was given this free advance listener copy (ALC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#JapaneseMythology #AudibookFree

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  • S A Smith
  • 18-07-22

Entertaining and insightful

This anthology was a lot of fun to listen to. I was surprised that many of the stories had happy endings, unlike what we tend to expect from fairy tales that teach life lessons. These tales also teach life lessons, but they show how to come out on top. There were a lot of supernatural beings in the stories, such as a bird that turns into a beautiful princess. I found it very interesting to see how early Japanese and Ino viewed life and the life lessons that they chose to share.

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  • Aurora Dawn
  • 17-07-22

Two Collections in One Volume

These stories come from two different collections. The first is a collection of fairy tales for children (though not for the faint hearted) written by a Japanese woman using traditional material. The second is a 19th century folklorist's collection gathered from various interview subjects and collected with a scholar's attention to who provided the story, when and where as well as the details of the story itself.
Both are expertly read by narrator Jim D Johnston and provided many hours of listening pleasure and a very educational look at the mythological and cultural basis of modern Japanese folk and fairy stories.

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  • Danny Moody
  • 16-07-22

Fascinating

As a person that is interested in Japanese culture and mythology in general, this book hit on a lot of notes. Hearing the myths, I was able to See some of its effects in modern day pop culture which was fun. The narration was well done and matched the tone of the book.

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  • Jay Rose
  • 16-07-22

Japanese Mythology

Well produced, solid narration, interesting content, along with a fascinating glance into a culture that I personally have had limited exposure to. I found it interesting that a lot of the stories seemed to portray a slightly different sense of morality than those represented by many of their European counterparts.
I received a free Audible copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-07-22

loved it

Loved it !! this story. the narrator is so fantastic it's like your really there!! good overall