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Tales of Old Japan: Folklore, Fairy Tales, Ghost Stories and Legends of the Samurai

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The member of a distinguished British literary family, A. B. Mitford traveled widely with his parents as a youth and lived in various European countries. From 1866-70, he served as an attaché with the British legation at Edo (Tokyo) — one of the first foreign diplomats to do so. During his brief stay there, Mitford lived through a period of dramatic and tumultuous change i The member of a distinguished British literary family, A. B. Mitford traveled widely with his parents as a youth and lived in various European countries. From 1866-70, he served as an attaché with the British legation at Edo (Tokyo) — one of the first foreign diplomats to do so. During his brief stay there, Mitford lived through a period of dramatic and tumultuous change in Japanese history. A feudal nation on his arrival, Japan had entered the era of “Westernization” before he left some three years later. During that time, however, he quickly and thoroughly mastered the Japanese language and acted as an interpreter between the young Japanese Emperor and British royalty. Mitford’s famous collection of classic tales (the first to appear in English) covers an engrossing array of subjects: grisly accounts of revenge, knightly exploits, ghost stories, fairy tales, folklore, a fascinating eyewitness account of a hara-kiri ceremony, gripping narratives of vampires and samurai, Buddhist sermons, and the plots of four Noh plays. A treasury, as well, of information on most aspects of Japanese life, with information on locales, customs, and characters, the illustrated volume delights as it entertains, chronicling acts of heroism, devotion, ruthlessness, and chivalry that illuminate the island nation's culture. “One of the first and in many ways still one of the best books on Japan.” — The Japanese Times. “An excellent introduction to Japanese literature.” — Mainichi Daily News.


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The member of a distinguished British literary family, A. B. Mitford traveled widely with his parents as a youth and lived in various European countries. From 1866-70, he served as an attaché with the British legation at Edo (Tokyo) — one of the first foreign diplomats to do so. During his brief stay there, Mitford lived through a period of dramatic and tumultuous change i The member of a distinguished British literary family, A. B. Mitford traveled widely with his parents as a youth and lived in various European countries. From 1866-70, he served as an attaché with the British legation at Edo (Tokyo) — one of the first foreign diplomats to do so. During his brief stay there, Mitford lived through a period of dramatic and tumultuous change in Japanese history. A feudal nation on his arrival, Japan had entered the era of “Westernization” before he left some three years later. During that time, however, he quickly and thoroughly mastered the Japanese language and acted as an interpreter between the young Japanese Emperor and British royalty. Mitford’s famous collection of classic tales (the first to appear in English) covers an engrossing array of subjects: grisly accounts of revenge, knightly exploits, ghost stories, fairy tales, folklore, a fascinating eyewitness account of a hara-kiri ceremony, gripping narratives of vampires and samurai, Buddhist sermons, and the plots of four Noh plays. A treasury, as well, of information on most aspects of Japanese life, with information on locales, customs, and characters, the illustrated volume delights as it entertains, chronicling acts of heroism, devotion, ruthlessness, and chivalry that illuminate the island nation's culture. “One of the first and in many ways still one of the best books on Japan.” — The Japanese Times. “An excellent introduction to Japanese literature.” — Mainichi Daily News.

30 review for Tales of Old Japan: Folklore, Fairy Tales, Ghost Stories and Legends of the Samurai

  1. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    Published three years after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 which ended the rule of the Shogunate and allowed the Imperial Government to modernize Japan along western lines, "Tales of Old Japan" is a brilliant initial effort on the part of a cultured European to understand the feudal society and culture that was about to be swept away. Lord Redesdale (Algernon Freeman-Mitford) who was the grandfather of the illustrious Mitford sisters, demonstrates great intelligence and writes with superb style. Published three years after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 which ended the rule of the Shogunate and allowed the Imperial Government to modernize Japan along western lines, "Tales of Old Japan" is a brilliant initial effort on the part of a cultured European to understand the feudal society and culture that was about to be swept away. Lord Redesdale (Algernon Freeman-Mitford) who was the grandfather of the illustrious Mitford sisters, demonstrates great intelligence and writes with superb style. While it must be recognized that this book is only for those with a great deal of interest in the subject, it is still quite brilliant. For those who are interested in the subject, it is an unalloyed joy. The book is seemingly varied collection of heroic legends, fairy tales, Buddhist sermons and descriptions of traditional Japanese practices for weddings, funerals, delivering babies and the raising of children. It is however the three short chapters that Redesdale devotes to harakiri that have the strongest impact on the reader. Redesdale provides a remarkable description of an act of harakiri that he attended in his official capacity as British Ambassador to Japan. He also adds his translations of documents describing how harakiri is to be performed, the types of knives to be used, the dress to be worn, the roles of the seconds and other aspects of this ritual suicide. Harakiri also appears in some of the legends. The longest tale, the "47 Ronins" in which a Samurai of the Ronin category help a colleague murder a person that has insulted him. They participate because it is an affair of honour. However, because the act is illegal they are obliged to to commit harakiri afterwards. Redesdale perceives harakiri to be at the heart of Japanese society which is based on rules.. Children must obey their parents. Peasants must obey the nobles. Lower nobles must obey the higher nobles. Everyone must rigorously follow the rules that apply to their class or caste. The supreme rule is that honour comes at a price which must always be paid. Lord Redesdale was in no ways critical of the Japanese. Rather he was a great admirer of the their society which should not surprise anyone who familiar with the writings of either Nancy or Jessica Mitford.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    I'm familiar with the majority of the stories covered, but what made this an interesting read was the authors notes and perspective on the stories. The translation isn't the best, but you get the jest of the body of work the author wanted to share. I enjoyed the final chapters (the Appendix A - An account of the Hara-Kiri, Appendix B - The Marriage Ceremony, and On The Birth and Bearing of Children) of the book the most. The detailed account of how to properly perform the seppuku/harakiri ceremon I'm familiar with the majority of the stories covered, but what made this an interesting read was the authors notes and perspective on the stories. The translation isn't the best, but you get the jest of the body of work the author wanted to share. I enjoyed the final chapters (the Appendix A - An account of the Hara-Kiri, Appendix B - The Marriage Ceremony, and On The Birth and Bearing of Children) of the book the most. The detailed account of how to properly perform the seppuku/harakiri ceremony was fascinating. Overall an enjoyable read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leni Iversen

    A professor of Japanese at the foreign languages department of my old University mentioned that they have seen a change in the interests of their students. It used to be that people would study Japanese because of a fascination with Samurais and old Japanese culture, but increasingly the students are now interested in manga/anime and Japanese pop culture. My interest was never great enough to compel me to study Japanese, but I am squarely in the old-school Samurai camp. For people like me, this A professor of Japanese at the foreign languages department of my old University mentioned that they have seen a change in the interests of their students. It used to be that people would study Japanese because of a fascination with Samurais and old Japanese culture, but increasingly the students are now interested in manga/anime and Japanese pop culture. My interest was never great enough to compel me to study Japanese, but I am squarely in the old-school Samurai camp. For people like me, this is a great book. We get samurai stories, fairy tales, and even religious sermons. All introduced in careful and vivid detail by Freeman-Mitford, who describes the area, nature and buildings where the story is set or where he first came across it. We even get Appendixes where ritual suicide, and all manner of life transitions (weddings, birth etc) are described in fascinating and excruciating detail. Whether his translations and interpretations hold academic muster today I dare not speculate. But this is clearly the work of someone who spent a great deal of time in Japan, who had a keen admiration of Japanese society, and who wanted to address Western bias and misunderstandings. This leads to some passages that are a bit absurd to a modern reader, like his very 19th century defence of the honour and virtue of Japanese women.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Holmlock

    A fascinating look at old Japan, written at the start of the Meiji era, by one of the earliest westerners to have lived there. Mitford collects whatever stories and fairy tales he can get his hands on and it's a real treat to read them. Stories of samurai, cursed swords, shape shifters, ghosts, and goblins light up the pages. For a lover of folklore they are a delight to read. These fantastic stories are accompanied by accounts of fact. Mitford documented sermons, marriage traditions and funeral A fascinating look at old Japan, written at the start of the Meiji era, by one of the earliest westerners to have lived there. Mitford collects whatever stories and fairy tales he can get his hands on and it's a real treat to read them. Stories of samurai, cursed swords, shape shifters, ghosts, and goblins light up the pages. For a lover of folklore they are a delight to read. These fantastic stories are accompanied by accounts of fact. Mitford documented sermons, marriage traditions and funeral ceremonies. He even records his own eye witness account of a seppuku execution. These accounts of real life ceremonies read more as instructions rather than stories. Although, this portion of the book makes for a dry read, it is wonderful Mitford documented, so thoroughly, these things. Doing so helped ensure these traditions of a rapidly changing Japan were not lost to time. Anyone interested in Japanese history or folklore should check out this book. Readers of Lafcadio Hearn should love this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    This is a wonderful book. Mitford was one of the very first westerners to go to Japan and learnt to speak and read Japanese. He was there at an extraordinary time - when the struggle between the shogunate and the shogun’s ancient enemies, the south western clans, was at its height. He was privileged to glimpse an extraordinary culture - for Japan had been closed to the west and to western influence for 250 years and had developed its own extraordinary and glittering culture. He also realised tha This is a wonderful book. Mitford was one of the very first westerners to go to Japan and learnt to speak and read Japanese. He was there at an extraordinary time - when the struggle between the shogunate and the shogun’s ancient enemies, the south western clans, was at its height. He was privileged to glimpse an extraordinary culture - for Japan had been closed to the west and to western influence for 250 years and had developed its own extraordinary and glittering culture. He also realised that this culture would inevitably be altered if not destroyed by this new contact with the west of which he was a part - so he was eager to record all he saw and heard. This is a book of Japanese lore, full of stories and historical tales and information about Japanese culture. It includes the tale of the 47 Ronin and information about the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters - and all beautifully written. I recommend all of Mitford’s wonderful books.

  6. 4 out of 5

    raffaela

    An interesting purview of some of the cultural stories and customs of Japan before its modernization in the 1870s, told by a high-ranking British official who was one of the first foreigners allowed access into the country. The collection is a bit jumbled, but together they form a picture of what Japanese life was like right before its entry into the modern world.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte R.S.

    Given the age of this work (1870s), it might be somewhat difficult at first to read. The style of the translation takes some getting used to, but at least that style is consistent throughout the book. Once you get the hang of it, the style fades to the background while the content comes to the fore. This book is well worth reading if you are at all interested in old Japanese culture, and how it compares to the modern, post-occupation culture. This book presents and clarifies some topics commonly Given the age of this work (1870s), it might be somewhat difficult at first to read. The style of the translation takes some getting used to, but at least that style is consistent throughout the book. Once you get the hang of it, the style fades to the background while the content comes to the fore. This book is well worth reading if you are at all interested in old Japanese culture, and how it compares to the modern, post-occupation culture. This book presents and clarifies some topics commonly misunderstood by Western civilization, especially that of hara-kiri (or seppuku) and the responsibilities and honor of the samurai class.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura Janeiro

    At times three stars, at times five. Four is an average of a very uneven book. Published in 1871, an English diplomat who learned to value Japanese traditions, at a time of enormous political and social change in Japan, sets out to prevent the traditions of old Japan from being lost. By appreciating the subtleties without negatively evaluating cultural differences, he introduces us to a world that is not governed by our norms, and explains it to us. In this example, an opera (Nô): “The beauty of t At times three stars, at times five. Four is an average of a very uneven book. Published in 1871, an English diplomat who learned to value Japanese traditions, at a time of enormous political and social change in Japan, sets out to prevent the traditions of old Japan from being lost. By appreciating the subtleties without negatively evaluating cultural differences, he introduces us to a world that is not governed by our norms, and explains it to us. In this example, an opera (Nô): “The beauty of the poetry — and it is very beautiful — is marred by the want of scenery and by the grotesque dresses and make-up. In the Suit of Feathers, for instance, the fairy wears a hideous mask and a wig of scarlet elf locks: the suit of feathers itself is left entirely to the imagination; and the heavenly dance is a series of whirls, stamps, and jumps, accompanied by unearthly yells and shrieks; while the vanishing into thin air is represented by pirouettes something like the motion of a dancing dervish. The intoning of the recitative is unnatural and unintelligible, so much so that not even a highly educated Japanese could understand what is going on unless he were previously acquainted with the piece. This, however, is supposing that which is not, for the Nô are as familiarly known as the masterpieces of our own dramatists." He can compare stories from Europe and Japan without making value judgments. Thus, the stories of rescued knights and ladies (among many others) show their universal character and perhaps the mythical content of the stories. A first part contains stories that became part of the local epic. The stories intersect, they share protagonists and I don't know if it is because the names are not easy to remember or because of the complexity of the story itself or because perhaps the author is not clear when telling them, at times reading it's dense, like a tongue twister or a boring history book: (“In the meanwhile, after consultation at Yedo , it was decided that, as Gotô Yamato no Kami and Midzuno Setsu no Kami were related to Kôtsuké no Suké, and might meet with difficulties for that very reason, two other nobles, Ogasawara Iki no Kami and Nagai Hida no Kami, should be sent to assist them, with orders that should any trouble arise they should send a report immediately to Yedo. In consequence of this order, the two nobles, with five thousand men, were about to march for Sakura, on the 15th of the month, when a messenger arrived from that place bearing the following despatch for the Gorôjiu, from the two nobles who had preceded them— ”) Some of the stories I found plain and simple boring (perhaps my Western mind is less open than I thought), some difficult to understand. And every so often, he makes introductions to the stories, which makes them interesting and entertaining. What is exciting is that the author shows a photo of Japan during his stay and knows how to identify the importance of the events that are taking place. I discovered that the moment in which this book was written was a pivotal moment in the history of Japan, between the years 1853 and 1867. The feudalism of the Shogunate ends and the Mikado (empire) returns to power. The greatest political-ideological divide during this period was an incipient anti-Western nationalism that grew between the ("external lords") and the Shogun government, which occurred after the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry on Japanese shores. Commodore Mathew Perry arrived from the USA with gunboats threatening to destroy the city if the country of Japan did not open to trade. Using force as a resource, humiliating treaties were signed for the country, also putting the subsequent attack on Pearl Harbor in perspective (for me at least). In an appendix he describes in a long chapter devoted to the Sepukku (harakiri), its ceremonial protocol and some ceremonies in particular. And it also shows us the importance that this ceremony had in Japan: “In the year 1869 a motion was brought forward in the Japanese parliament by one Ono Seigorô, clerk of the house, advocating the abolition of the practice of hara-kiri. Two hundred members out of a house of 209 voted against the motion, which was supported by only three speakers, six members not voting on either side. "

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mina

    Since the book was written before the age of J.K. Rowling and teenage bestsellers I'll note that the slow pace and the almost objective style of writing on the proviso that most things sounded like this those days. The rating reflects this - it's good stuff, but I worked to finish this book. Basically it's a collection of Japanese stories intertwined with the author's notes and observations from his journey(s?) in Japan. The style is 'almost' objective, because of the descriptions and interpretat Since the book was written before the age of J.K. Rowling and teenage bestsellers I'll note that the slow pace and the almost objective style of writing on the proviso that most things sounded like this those days. The rating reflects this - it's good stuff, but I worked to finish this book. Basically it's a collection of Japanese stories intertwined with the author's notes and observations from his journey(s?) in Japan. The style is 'almost' objective, because of the descriptions and interpretations of Japanese customs and common Western misconceptions. The narrator distances himself as much as possible from the impressions, and the stories are all but "according to", so the overall impression is similar to that of reading an article. The stories are very interesting, mostly because they go a little further in describing the mindset of the Japanese, or rather the differences, compared to the Westerners'. The closest I've ever felt was to the story of the 47 samurai, otherwise all the others had this common element of waste of human lives. It was positively disheartening: he dies, he gets an eye disease and becomes blind and is killed by the enemy, he's killed through trickery, bah! Western stories have their hero, who's all kinds of awesome and never gets drunk to kill his friend or shame his family and somewhere in the middle of his pure badassness he saves the day, the world and gets the girl. While you might feel a pattern, somewhere, they make for an easier read - and more pleasant, anyway. I wouldn't give either up, though.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Selena

    Though the topics were interesting, I found myself bored a lot, mostly from Mitford's commentary. Mitford was long-winded, and many of his explanations, though insightful at times, were very much an endless drone. If you didn't know, this was originally published in 1871, and the commentary makes this obvious. The stories seem to be faithful translations of the actual myths, legends, fairy tales, etc. Sometimes a little too much is explained in the "preface" and "post script" for each chapter, bu Though the topics were interesting, I found myself bored a lot, mostly from Mitford's commentary. Mitford was long-winded, and many of his explanations, though insightful at times, were very much an endless drone. If you didn't know, this was originally published in 1871, and the commentary makes this obvious. The stories seem to be faithful translations of the actual myths, legends, fairy tales, etc. Sometimes a little too much is explained in the "preface" and "post script" for each chapter, but I have to remember that this was published in a time when probably no one knew anything about Japan. So I guess what I'm saying is, even though there's nothing really wrong with the promised content, the guy who put these together was super dry. :p

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paul Cornelius

    I have only just begun to look into Japanese literature and folk tales. Accordingly, I decided to start with two of the most important people to introduce Japanese culture into the West, Lafcadio Hearn and, A. B. Mitford. Lafcadio Hearn is much more "literary" than is Mitford. But Mitford does a superior job of providing context and historical discussion of the people, institutions. and belief systems incorporated into his stories. And, again, as with Hearn, you are getting a unique look at Japa I have only just begun to look into Japanese literature and folk tales. Accordingly, I decided to start with two of the most important people to introduce Japanese culture into the West, Lafcadio Hearn and, A. B. Mitford. Lafcadio Hearn is much more "literary" than is Mitford. But Mitford does a superior job of providing context and historical discussion of the people, institutions. and belief systems incorporated into his stories. And, again, as with Hearn, you are getting a unique look at Japan in transition, from the end of the Tokugawa shogunate to the Meiji Restoration. Thus we get an eyewitness account of Japan moving towards modernization. It's also an era now lost to history.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    I really liked the book. Particularly the fact that there were a lot of things that I did know about ancient Japanese culture that I didn't know. As well as the old cultural tales that I found interesting and fascinating. I found it amazing how Japanese Samurais will revenge passionately their relatives and people that are close to them. The book was written well but somewhat in a very simple language. I think it could be more expressive with the language but still makes for a great read for any I really liked the book. Particularly the fact that there were a lot of things that I did know about ancient Japanese culture that I didn't know. As well as the old cultural tales that I found interesting and fascinating. I found it amazing how Japanese Samurais will revenge passionately their relatives and people that are close to them. The book was written well but somewhat in a very simple language. I think it could be more expressive with the language but still makes for a great read for anybody who is interested in Asian culture.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Fascinating book! I've discovered many facts I didn't know about ancient Japan and the life of Samurais. Particularly impressive how important family and revenge are for that nation. Surprising how Japanese culture survived when guided by revenge they kill so many people, friends etc. Moreover, the ritual of performing Harakiri ("to slice the abdomen") which is an act of suicide made into a day event with a large number of participants and observers. Truly interesting book. The only reason I gav Fascinating book! I've discovered many facts I didn't know about ancient Japan and the life of Samurais. Particularly impressive how important family and revenge are for that nation. Surprising how Japanese culture survived when guided by revenge they kill so many people, friends etc. Moreover, the ritual of performing Harakiri ("to slice the abdomen") which is an act of suicide made into a day event with a large number of participants and observers. Truly interesting book. The only reason I gave it 4 and not 5 rating is the language that Mitford used. It is somewhat on a basic level.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah loves books 😻😻😻

    I listened to about 75% while I was in Japan and I really liked it. The LibriVox recording was done by a bunch of different volunteers and some of the recordings were suboptimal in terms of recording quality, however I only skipped one story as it was too hard to hear. Especially the stories of the 47 ronins and Gompachi I came across several times in my other readings so that was very valuable. Would absolutely listen to the rest when I am in Japan again (next story would be Japanese Sermons by I listened to about 75% while I was in Japan and I really liked it. The LibriVox recording was done by a bunch of different volunteers and some of the recordings were suboptimal in terms of recording quality, however I only skipped one story as it was too hard to hear. Especially the stories of the 47 ronins and Gompachi I came across several times in my other readings so that was very valuable. Would absolutely listen to the rest when I am in Japan again (next story would be Japanese Sermons by A.J. Carroll)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    I read this book for my second read of the History Book Club's Japan Challenge. I found the stories interesting and amusing. I was concerned the names would run together and that I wouldn't be able to keep the character's straight, but I didn't find that to be the case. This book was written over 150 years ago, which makes me doubt the accuracy of the translation and Freeman-Mitford's critique/explanation of each story. Still taken for what it was, I found it to be enjoyable. I read this book for my second read of the History Book Club's Japan Challenge. I found the stories interesting and amusing. I was concerned the names would run together and that I wouldn't be able to keep the character's straight, but I didn't find that to be the case. This book was written over 150 years ago, which makes me doubt the accuracy of the translation and Freeman-Mitford's critique/explanation of each story. Still taken for what it was, I found it to be enjoyable.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Roberts

    Ok, it was written in 1871. Which makes the point of view of the author interesting. It is worth it for that alone. This is quite the mix: History, Legend, Tales, Custom, Religion. Not to mention a detailed description of the etiquette surrounding executions (ick!). The nice thing is the Author seems to actually LIKE his subject matter. Any Peer who chides his countrymen for the selfishness of failing to take their shoes off before entering a temple can't be all bad! Ok, it was written in 1871. Which makes the point of view of the author interesting. It is worth it for that alone. This is quite the mix: History, Legend, Tales, Custom, Religion. Not to mention a detailed description of the etiquette surrounding executions (ick!). The nice thing is the Author seems to actually LIKE his subject matter. Any Peer who chides his countrymen for the selfishness of failing to take their shoes off before entering a temple can't be all bad!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mark Schlechty

    The best books I have read lately This book gives enough details to be interesting . It also goes into great detail on many subjects. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of this book. I especially like the children's literature that was included. I have new insights into Japanese culture that I didn't have before . I would recommend this book for anyone interested in anthropology , Japanese culture , or history . The best books I have read lately This book gives enough details to be interesting . It also goes into great detail on many subjects. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of this book. I especially like the children's literature that was included. I have new insights into Japanese culture that I didn't have before . I would recommend this book for anyone interested in anthropology , Japanese culture , or history .

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    Fun stuff, nicely written by a Westerner in Japan shortly after its opening. Like the Icelandic sagas or Homer, it's a lucky break to have a culture recorded as it disappears, even if the recording is only possible during a time of transition and therefore stands as an impure example of the era it records. Anyway, it's an easy read with short tales interspersed with cultural commentary. Fun stuff, nicely written by a Westerner in Japan shortly after its opening. Like the Icelandic sagas or Homer, it's a lucky break to have a culture recorded as it disappears, even if the recording is only possible during a time of transition and therefore stands as an impure example of the era it records. Anyway, it's an easy read with short tales interspersed with cultural commentary.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Abraham Lewik

    Did you know blind, bald shampoo-ers were the loansharks of certain era? Not only a font of Japanese trivia, the brief foot-notes reveal English attitudes from a time long past. A hundred year + book, a rather good read, mine had pressed flowers. At the end of the book a dozen pages on seppuku / hara-kiri, such as flag arrangements at the samurai's suicide, were a dull slog. Did you know blind, bald shampoo-ers were the loansharks of certain era? Not only a font of Japanese trivia, the brief foot-notes reveal English attitudes from a time long past. A hundred year + book, a rather good read, mine had pressed flowers. At the end of the book a dozen pages on seppuku / hara-kiri, such as flag arrangements at the samurai's suicide, were a dull slog.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aprille

    Very interesting, but you need to remember that this is all reported through the filter of the Victorian-era traveler, Mitford. I wonder what wasn't selected. This selection seems a bit heavy on honor and hara-kiri. Very interesting, but you need to remember that this is all reported through the filter of the Victorian-era traveler, Mitford. I wonder what wasn't selected. This selection seems a bit heavy on honor and hara-kiri.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sofi Metskhvarishvili

    well this book is educational it's not for fun reading , and you beed to be really interested in Japanese culture to read it. in the end the sermons were really hard to read for me. i think it is better to start with mythology if you are interested in this culture well this book is educational it's not for fun reading , and you beed to be really interested in Japanese culture to read it. in the end the sermons were really hard to read for me. i think it is better to start with mythology if you are interested in this culture

  22. 4 out of 5

    Britta

    Immensely enjoyable 1870s collection of folk tales, heroic recounts, and ghost stories from Japan before the Meiji Restoration. Some stories are very fun, some almost heartbreaking. The tale of the grateful foxes, for instance, so moved me that I teared up. Lovely, short book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hayley Shaver

    This a good book, found for free at this moment on Amazon.com It outlines the whys and hows of Japanese rites. It also lists gathered sermons, fairy tales, and stories of Japan. If you like fairy tales or Asian wisdom, this is the book for you.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    A rather old-fashioned and peculiar set of stories with amazing background information provided. If you are not afraid of weird expressions, old words and (often strange) Japanese stories, you will love this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Play

    decided not to finish this book, sorry. i cant bear reading this awful translated book. im sure the story would be interesting if it translated in a right way

  26. 4 out of 5

    Farah Agha

    all the stories and tales are about Samurais, culture of old Japan, bravery and loyalty.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    The tales themselves are entertaining, but the in depth descriptions of Japanese culture are especially riveting.

  28. 4 out of 5

    David Applegate

    Interesting An interesting collection of tales spanning a wide variety of subjects that provide an insight into life in feudal Japan and the moral code.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ishaal Ramroop

    i found it to be an excellent read for a book that was written back in 1871, it has a few mentions I've heard in anime and manga that I now know where references to old Japanese fables, I'll definitely be reading this again😁 i found it to be an excellent read for a book that was written back in 1871, it has a few mentions I've heard in anime and manga that I now know where references to old Japanese fables, I'll definitely be reading this again😁

  30. 4 out of 5

    T.

    Good little book for cruising around Japan.

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