Once Upon a Time in Japan


Special To The Japan Times

“Once Upon a Time in Japan” is an ideal introduction to Japanese folktales. Published by Tuttle with NHK Japan Broadcasting Corporation, the stories in this children’s storybook were chosen from a popular series produced by Radio Japan, NHK World’s radio service broadcast globally in 18 different languages.

Once Upon a Time in Japan, by Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), Translated by Roger Pulvers and Juliet Winters Carpenter.
120 pages plus CD
Tuttle/NHK, Fiction.

These eight fables, with audio CD included, reveal the rich tradition of Japanese storytelling, each a timeless classic. From “The Gratitude of the Crane,” a version of the famous story of the crane-wife driven away by greed and broken promises, to “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter,” an engaging retelling of Princess Kaguya’s wistful longing for the moon despite her many determined suitors and from the lesser known “The Magical Hood,” about a gift from a grateful mother fox that allows the wearer to understand the languages of animals, to “The Mill of the Sea,” a fable about two feuding brothers that explains the reason for the salty ocean, these tales share pithy wisdom as they reveal the cultural essence of Japan. Translated by Roger Pulvers and Juliet Winters Carpenter, other stories include “The Wife Who Never Eats,” “The Monkey and the Crab,” “Sleepyhead Taro and the Children” and “The Fox and the Otter.” Winner of the 2015 Gelett Burgess Award for Best Multicultural Children’s Book, the publication’s beautiful layout showcases a variety of award-winning Japanese illustrators.