Japanese Tales from Times Past : Stories of Fantasy and Folklore from the Konjaku Monogatari Shu (90 Stories Included)


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"Naoshi Koriyama and Bruce Allen have repackaged Konjaku Monogatari Shu in a way that both retains the compelling sense of history in these ancient tales and vivifies their relevance to human experience in the twenty-first century. Through well told and carefully translated stories, we become more conscious of who we are and our intricate relationships to the world." -Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA, editor, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment "These masterful, elegant translations of ninety extraordinary tales from the Konjaku Monogatari Shu-one of the most valued works of classical Japanese literature-contribute significantly to our understandings of premodern Japanese culture and religion. They also give us an unprecedented glimpse into the daily lives of early Japan's common people, those obscured in the Tale of Genji and other celebrated classics. Most significant in our age of ecological crisis, the Konjaku tales, referencing major ecological transformations of the Japanese countryside, reveal the tensions between religion's spiritual callings to preserve nature and the human need to hunt, fish, and farm to survive." -Karen Thornber, Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, author of Ecoambiguity

This collection of newly translated tales is selected from the most famous work in all of Japanese classical literature-the Konjaku Monogatari Shu. This collection of traditional Japanese folklore is akin to the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer or Dante's Inferno-powerfully entertaining tales that reveal striking aspects of the cultural psychology, fantasy, and creativity of medieval Japan-tales that still resonate with modern Japanese readers today. The ninety stories in this book are filled with keen psychological insights, wry sarcasm, and scarcely veiled criticisms of the clergy, nobles, and peasants alike-suggesting that there are, among all classes and peoples, similar failings of pride, vanity, superstition and greed-as well as aspirations toward higher moral goals. This is the largest collection in English of the Konjaku Monogatari Shu tales ever published in one volume. It presents the low life and the high life, the humble and the devout, the profane flirting, farting and fornicating of everyday men and women, as well as their yearning for the wisdom, transcendence and compassion that are all part and parcel of our shared humanity. The 90 Stories Include: The Grave of Chopsticks Robbers Come to a Temple and Steal Its Bell The Woman Fish Peddler at the Guardhouse Fish are Turned into the Lotus Sutra A Dragon is Caught by a Tengu Goblin The Monk Tojo Predicts the Fall of Shujaku Gate Wasps Attack a Spider in Revenge

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