Japanese Tales

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.’

  1. 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.’

  1. Royall Tyler

Bound in blocked cloth

Set in Fournier

368 pages

Frontispiece, 7 colour illustrations, including 4 double-page spreads, and 17 integrated black & white drawings

Printed endpapers

Blocked and die-cut slipcase

Silver page tops

11˝ x 7¼˝

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