A treasury of Japanese folklore and wisdom, beautifully bound by Folio and fully illustrated by artist Yuko Shimizu.
‘The stories are variously witty, allegorical, mystical, gross, funny and enigmatic.’
- Publishers Weekly
A window into a long-vanished culture that still fascinates, this collection of 170 tales introduces us to a broad tableau of characters: saints and scoundrels, ghosts and magical healers and a vast assortment of deities and demons.
The tales cover unexpected themes such as Surprises, Monk Jokes and Oddities; all offer invaluable insights into Japan’s cultural heritage. From a young boy cunningly outwitting a monk so he can claim a pot of delicious syrup for himself, to a man who steals a dream from a dream-reader and nuns who dance ecstatically after eating wild mushrooms then run down a hill to surprise a group of woodcutters, the topics are far-reaching and the narratives enchanting.
Despite many of the tales’ almost 1,000-year history, Royall Tyler’s sympathetic and colloquial translations ensure the human conditions they convey are not so far removed from our modern experience. Compassion, jealousy, lust, benevolence, greed, charity – all these traits and more are depicted in this diverse work of reality and fantasy, populated by a large cast of mythical and human figures.
‘Courting men were like bees visiting shy flowers, and courtship took place largely in the dark… The passage from lover to husband was a passage from darkness and secrecy to daylight and public recognition.’
- Royall Tyler
Bound in blocked cloth
Set in Fournier
Frontispiece, 7 colour illustrations, including 4 double-page spreads, and 17 integrated black & white drawings
Blocked and die-cut slipcase
Silver page tops
11˝ x 7¼˝