A fascinating history of the creatures that populate myths and folklore, John Cherry’s Mythical Beasts is beautifully reimagined as a Folio edition illustrated with archive images and Neil Packer’s striking new motifs and binding design.
Illustrated by Yuko Shimizu
Translated by Royall Tyler
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˝
Yuko Shimizu is a New York-based Japanese illustrator with a diverse portfolio of work. Drawing on her cultural heritage, her unique style blends classical Japanese elements with contemporary influences. Specially commissioned for this Folio edition, Shimizu has created single and double-page full-colour illustrations, as well as integrated black and white sketches. Her interpretations of subjects, such as the dancing mushroom for the tale of the ecstatic nuns, are bold and vivid with touches of mysticism. Her designs extend to the elegant blocked-cloth binding and the slipcase. Here, a silver moth hovers and a circular cut-out allows a glimpse of the silvery moon of the binding. This new edition is finished with silver page tops.
Japanese Tales is translated, edited and introduced by Royall Tyler; his comprehensive essay contextualises the remarkable stories that follow. Novices and experts on Japanese culture alike will be captivated by his overview of everything from architecture and cosmology, to religion and the supernatural.
Royall Tyler has carefully collated and translated an eclectic selection of 170 tales from medieval Japan. With an engaging introduction, and specially commissioned illustrations by Yuko Shimizu, Japanese Tales complements other titles in the Folio myths and legends collection, including Chinese Fairy Tales and African Folktales.
Courtesy of BBD&P Awards
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