Japanese Prayer Wall

Japanese Prayer Wall

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Traditional Japanese Fairy Tales

I have always been a big fan of story time and fairy tales.  Even when I took a children’s literature course in college, I was one of the first people on the floor for story time.  I think that whatever age a person is, they should enjoy an occasional bedtime story. 

Beyond merely entertainment, fairy tales can say a lot about a culture.  Think of your favorite fairy tales and the lessons that they teach.  There’s Rupunzel whose mother covets her neighbor’s cabbage, there’s Little Red Riding Hood who talks to strangers, and those poor three little pigs who more often than not are too lazy to make proper plans for the future.  Hopefully, we’ve heard these stories from a young age and are avoiding such catastrophes.  My guess is that even though these particular stories have European roots, most Americans are familiar with them.

Other cultures tell different tales but also try to prevent their youth from going down the wrong moral path.  I’ve read several traditional Japanese tales, and they seem to emphasize the virtues of respecting the elderly, obeying one’s parents, and the importance of treating others well.  Below you’ll find links to a few of my favorites.  Enjoy your bedtimes stories!

Urashima Taro:

The Toothpick Warriors:

The Spider Weaver:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Christine! Have you ever heard the album The Crane Wife by The Decembrists? It's beautiful. And based on a Japanese folktale, which you should look for if you don't know it. :)
    I love your blog. Please keep sharing your adventures with us!