Tuesday, 24 August 2010
Grace James's Green Willow
Ellen S. Shapiro in her introduction to Grace James's Green Willow and Other Japanese Fairy Tales (1987) summarizes some of the characteristics of Japanese folktales.
According to Shapiro, the stories include appreciation for the beauty and mystery of life, belief the power of the spirit to accomplish its will, and ridicule for pretensions.
Chinese culture influenced Japanese culture, and many Japanese tales are similar to Chinese tales. Dragons, for example, are common in tales from both countries. The tiger, usually considered a symbol of power, is a creature often found in Japanese tales.
Japanes folktales carry strong messages, such as kindness will be rewarded, creatures cannot survive when people held captive, honor is important, and sharing helps people through trouble.