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A tragic tale of a girl who fell in love with a horse, until her father killed it and hung it from a tree, Oshira-sama became a kami still honored in Tono. Shrines to Oshira-sama can be still seen in the traditional "magariya" farmhouses. Read more about this and other books I read inspired by my trip to Japan at my blog, Reading Rainstorm.

Apr 15, Jay McNair rated it really liked it Shelves: Tantalizing because brief, flat, unapologetically strange.

Kunio Yanagita

Never tries to draw your interest, so it draws mine. It is said that they all ran home screaming, 'A mountain man! The rock is still in the same spot. He says that whenever he sees it, he still wants to have it. Mishima praises the conciseness. Some writing is magical in a blazing way, incandescent, weave a circle round him thric Tantalizing because brief, flat, unapologetically strange.

This is the opposite, a different kind of magic, a pile of near-extinguished embers. Just fascinating in their strangeness. I collected more "bits of string" from these hundred pages than probably any other hundred pages I've read in a while. One or two legends felt genuinely frightening.

The legend of Tono

It is hard to measure the size of these mountains. When this happened a number of times, people got cautious and took preventive measures. But in the end, all the houses caught fire. He soon saw a large bear in the shadow of a rock. It was too close for him to fire his rifle, so he put it down and grappled with the bear. It is said that if the grass is nine centimeters long, a wolf can hide in it.

Like the changing colors of the plants and trees, the color of the wolf's fur changes with each season. Jul 26, Charles Dee Mitchell rated it it was amazing Shelves: Yanagito Kunio assembled this excellent collection of legends from northeastern Japan in the first decade of the 20th century. Yanagita was influenced by the Grimm brothers, but in only a few cases does he collect "tales," in the manner they did.

Book Review: The Legends of Tono (遠野物語) by Kunio Yanagita

Except for the occasional historical setting, these are brief accounts of supernatural encounters that have happened within the memory of those speaking with the author. Of course, it could be that if he had been then 50 years earlier, he would have hea Yanagito Kunio assembled this excellent collection of legends from northeastern Japan in the first decade of the 20th century.

Of course, it could be that if he had been then 50 years earlier, he would have heard the same stories repeated by a different group of respondents also claiming first or secondhand knowledge. The abductions of women and children by mountain men, uncanny encounters with kami , the spirits of the mountains, divination and folk rituals all figure into the accounts that are seldom more than a paragraph long.

It's the straightforward, matter-of-factness of the renditions that give them their cumulative power. They are for the most part simply curious rather than scary, although I would hate to run into the red-faced man who can stand pressed against the wall directly about the front door of your house. Feb 12, Casey rated it really liked it. It's absolutely fascinating to read some of the first serious anthropological studies of foklore in Japan.


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I would hazard that Tono Monogatari, or, Legends of Tono, is the best compilation in circulation. In his field work, Yanagita documents sweeping changes across Japan in a collection of stories with surprisingly varying degrees of spiritual conflict, historical merit, and social complexity from the late 19th century. Within a few years, sweeping changes across Japan caused even this small r It's absolutely fascinating to read some of the first serious anthropological studies of foklore in Japan. Within a few years, sweeping changes across Japan caused even this small rural community to revise their own histories and analysis of their legends, making this book something of a time capsule.

The Legends of Tono: th Anniversary Edition - Kunio Yanagita - Google Книги

If you have a passing interest in recurring themes of kappa and tengu, especially in the Tohoku region, this book is an easy read and more than worth your time. As you absorb yourself in the details and some of the more exotic tales, you might just find yourself 'spirited away. Jul 31, Dominique Lamssies rated it it was amazing. Anyone wanting to read this book needs to know a little about the history.

It was written by Kunio Yanagita, the father of Japanese folklore studies. This is his seminal work, but it can be confusing for people because it's essentially an outline. Yanagita went through the Tono area northern Honshu and collected the oral traditions of the area. He wrote down the basics of what he heard, and some people believe he was actually going to come back later and write a longer version, but in , he Anyone wanting to read this book needs to know a little about the history.


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He wrote down the basics of what he heard, and some people believe he was actually going to come back later and write a longer version, but in , he just published this book. So many of the stories are just one or two paragraphs long and are just statements of fact. These stories are field notes and were not meant to be entertaining.

The Legends of Tono

Since it's publication, the stories have become intrisic to Japanese culture. Recommended for lovers of Japanese folklore. The skin is oddly translucent and the nail slightly discolored, the kind of bruised, off-green you'd associate with trapping your finge A writer's writer who is at once highly readable and immensely popular One of Japan's brightest stars is set to explode across the global skies of literature.

Eliot's "The Waste Land," Oe's strongly autobiographical novel — published in at the age of 74 — sees his elderly fictional alter ego, Kogito Choko, It's a must-have for everyone who wants to know what the psycho-spiritual lives of rural Japanese were like a century ago. Tono stands proud as Japan's heart of darkness, and Yanagita is its best guide.

It creates a real sense of place and time and feeling.


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  • We are looking at tales in the making. Yanagita gives us a rare glimpse of story-telling as process, rather than product.