Wiki Category: Folktales

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Again this is a page which links to pages relating to Folktales.

The Stone of the Five Colours and the Empress Jokwa

The Stone of the Five Colours and the Empress Jokwa

The Stone of the Five Colours and the Empress Jokwa The Stone of the Five Colours and the Empress Jokwa is one of Japanese many folktales. Synopsis Empress Jokwa suceeds her brother Emperor Fuki, and stories about her said she once fixed the broken sky and the pillars which hold up[...]

Longevity

Longevity

Longevity Longevity (Chosei Furo – 長生不老) is one of many Japanese folktales, this one centered around a man known as Sentarō. Synopsis This tale has also been given the name of The Man who did not wish to die and goes as follow. There was a man called Sentarō and[...]

How an Old Man Lost is Wen

How an Old Man Lost is Wen

How an Old Man Lost his Wen How an Old Man Lost his Wen, known in Japanese as Kobutori Jiisan (こぶ取り爺) is one of many Japanese folktales. Synopsis There was an old man who had a lump (wen) growing out of his cheek and after seeking out many doctors and medicine none[...]

The Monkey and the Crab

The Monkey and the Crab

The Monkey and the Crab The Monkey and the Crab (さるかに合戦 saru kani gassen) is one of many Japanese folktales. Synopsis One day a monkey and a crab were playing on the beach. The crab found a rice-dumpling and the monkey a persimmon-seed. The monkey did not want the seed, but[...]

The Clever Boar and Monkey

The Clever Boar and Monkey

The Clever Boar and Monkey The Clever Boar and Monkey (賢い猿と猪) is one of Japan’s many folktales. Synopsis In the province in Shinshin there was a man who travelled around making a living by taking a monkey and around and making it do tricks. One day he returns home angry, saying[...]

The Oni of Adachigahara

The Oni of Adachigahara

The Oni of Adachigahara The Oni of Adachigahara is one of many Japanese folktales, this one centering around an evil oni. Synopsis In Mutsu there was said to be oni who took the form of an old woman. People would go missing in the area and it was thought she was[...]

The Mirror of Matsuyama

The Mirror of Matsuyama

The Mirror of Matsuyama The Mirror of Matsuyama, known in Japanese as Matsuyama kagami (松山鏡) is one of Japan’s many folktales. Synopsis In the province of Echigo lived a man and a wife who had one daughter aged seven. One day the man finds himself summoned to the capital in Kyoto,[...]

The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter

The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter

The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, in Japanese known as the Taketori Monogatari (竹取物語) is one of the famous folktales from Japan. Synopsis There was an old man and woman who had no child. He would go every day and cut bamboo and made[...]

Kintarō

Kintarō

Kintarō Kintarō (金太郎) is a Japanese folktale centered around the life of a boy with the same name as the story. There are several versions of this tale and as we come across more of them we will add them to the website. Synopsis There was a man called Kintoki who[...]

Hanasaka Jiji

Hanasaka Jiji

Hanasaka Jiji Hanasaka Jiji (花咲か爺) also called Hanasaka Jiisan (花咲か爺さん) is a folktale of Japan centred around a man who can make trees bloom. It has been translated into english as ‘The Story of the Old Man who made Withered Trees to Flower.’ There are many verisons of the tale (and[...]

Fudoki

Fudoki

Fudoki Fudoki (風土記) are ancient records concerning the old provinces of Japan. These records being ordered by Empress Genmei in 713AD.1 Surviving Examples The most substantial ones which have survived at the Bungo Fudoki, Harima Fudoki, Hitachi Fudoki, Hizen Fudoki and Izumo Fudoki, with the Izumo version the only one[...]

Dragons

Dragons

Dragons Currently this page will aim to serve as a place to gather the different Dragons on the website. Further down the line we will change this page to include the imagery and culture behind them in Japan. Currently we have the following Dragons listed on the site: Yamato no[...]

Shinano Province

Shinano Province

See also: List of Provinces Shinano Province Shinano Province (信濃国) was one of the many provinces of Japan. Folktales The folktale The Clever Boar and Monkey is set in this province.5 Legenedary Period Yamanobe no Ohotaka passed through here on his way to catch a swan for the Prince Homutsuwake.4[...]

Emperor Kōrei

Emperor Kōrei

Reign: 290-215BC Born: 342BC Period: Legendery Period Family: Emperor Kōan (father) Oshihime (mother) Kuwashi Hime (wife) Emperor Kōgen (son) Haeirodo (concubine) Wakatakehiko (son) Hikosajima (son) Yamato no kunikahime (concubine) Yamatototohimomosobime (daughter) Kibitsuhiko (son) Yamatototowakayabime (daughter) Hikosashikatawake (son) Chijihayamawaka (concubine) Chijihayahime (daughter) Burial place: misasagi on Mumazaka at Kataoka. Order of[...]

Bunbuku Chagama

Bunbuku Chagama

Bunbuku Chagama Bunbuku Chagama (分福茶釜 or 文福茶釜) is a Japanese Folktale about a Tanuki who rewards the man who rescued him. Synopsis A Buddhist Priest comes across an old battered tea kettle amongst a pile of lumber. He takes the kettle and proceeds to clean it, and began to use[...]

Human Sacrifice

Human Sacrifice

Human Sacrifice Human Sacrifice was a practise that was said to have been carried out in ancient Japan. Though it is dubious whether this actually occoured or not. Hitobashira Hitobashira (人柱 – Human Pillar) was the practise of emtombing a person at the base of a structure/pillar with the belief[...]

Tango Fudoki

Tango Fudoki

Tango Fudoki Tango Fudoki (丹後国風土記) is an eight century provincial record of the Province of Tango. You can find the tale of Urashima Taro inside of it,1 in the Tango Fudoki version Urashima given the name Shima no Ko.2 Footnotes 1. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”.[...]

Megijima

Megijima

Megijima Megijima (女木島) is a small island within the Seto Inland Sea, north of the city of Takamatsu on Shikoku Island. Its small size only reaches 2.7km squared. The island is made famous due to its associations with the folktale of Momotaro where this island is known as Onigashima, an[...]

Momotarō

Momotarō

See also: List of Folktales Momotarō Momotarō (桃太郎 – Peach Boy) is a Folktale about a man with the same name, as well as a Dog, Monkey and Pheasant and their journey to the island of Onigashima to stop the Oni.1 There are many verisons of the tale (and will[...]

Furutsubaki no rei

Furutsubaki no rei

Furutsubaki no rei Furutsubaki no rei (古山茶の霊) is a type of Yōkai depicted in the Konjaku Gazu Zoku Hyakki by Toriyama Sekien. This particular Yōkai is composed of the spirits of old camelia trees, with these spirits being said to sometimes take on a more human form as well as[...]

Harima Province

Harima Province

See also: Provinces Harima Province Harima Province (播磨国) is one of the many Provinces which once existed in Japan.1 It also went by the name of Banshū (播州) and is now located in the modern prefecture of Hyōgo.2 One version of the Folktale known as Banchō Sarayashiki is set in[...]

Aoyama Tessan

Aoyama Tessan

Aoyama Tessan Aoyama Tessan was a man who has connections to the story of Banchō Sarayashiki, his role is slightly different depending on the version of the folktale. In the Harima Province version, he is a Samurai who serves the lord of the Province. Aoyama wants to be ruler instead[...]

Danshiro

Danshiro

Danshiro Danshiro was a man who has connections to the story of Banchō Sarayashiki. In the tale he is tasked with finding the person who attempted to poison the Lord of Harima Province. He finds out it is a woman called Okiku but says he will keep it a secret[...]

Banchō Sarayashiki

Banchō Sarayashiki

Banchō Sarayashiki Banchō Sarayashiki (番町皿屋敷, The Dish Mansion at Banchō) is a Japanese Folktale from 1741 involving the woman known as Okiku. There are various versions to this tale. Harima Province Version Okiku was from Harima Province, working as a maid servant for the Samurai Aoyama Tessan. Tessan wanted to[...]

Okiku

Okiku

Okiku Okiku (お菊)is a well known ghost in Japan. Known from the 1741 folktale by the name of Banchō Sarayashiki, she falls into the category of an Onryō (vengeful ghost) Harima Province Version Okiku was from Harima Province, working as a maid servant for the Samurai Aoyama Tessan. Tessan wanted[...]

Tōtaro

Tōtaro

Tōtaro Tōtaro is the name of the main character from the tales known as The Gratitude of the Samebito. This man gives shelter to the creature known as the Samebito. After a few months he sees a girl during a festival at Miidera and falls in love with her. However,[...]

The Gratitude of the Samebito

The Gratitude of the Samebito

The Gratitude of the Samebito The Gratitude of the Samebito is a Japanese tale about a man known as Tōtarō and the creature called the Samebito. It is said that a man known as Tōtarō had made his way to the Seta Bridge that crosses Lake Biwa and upon the[...]

Samebito

Samebito

Samebito The Samebito is a type of Yōkai known from the story called ‘The Gratitude of the Samebito.’ The creature is said to have in general the body of a man, but with skin that is pitch black in colour. He will have eyes that glow like emeralds, and he[...]

Urikohime

Urikohime

Urikohime (瓜子姫) – The Melon Princess) is a sinister Japanese Folktale. In one version of this tale, a old childless couple find a melon drifting downstream, and after slicing it open they find a baby girl inside. It is said that she grows up into a beautiful woman and its[...]

Shippeitaro

Shippeitaro

Shippeitaro Shippeitaro (しっぺい太郎, 竹篦太郎, 悉平太郎, 執柄太郎) is the name of a dog from a Folktale of the same name. In one version of the story, a warrior takes shelter for the night in an abandoned temple. Close to midnight he awakens to see many strange dancing cats, and over here’s[...]

Kaguya Hime

Kaguya Hime

For the member of the Imperial Family see: Kaguyahime. Kaguya Hime Kaguya Hime (かぐや姫)can relate to two different people in japanese folktales. The Bamboo Cutter In this particular folktale, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, she is found as a small child inside of a piece of bamboo. After growing[...]

The Elixir of Life

The Elixir of Life

See also: List of Folktales The Elixir of Life The Elixir of Life is a Japanese folktale but also finds itself mentioned throughout Japanese history. Emperor Kōrei Text from the Jinnō Shōtōki states that during the reign of Emperor Kōrei the Chinese Emperor Ch’in sought out the The Elixir of[...]

Princess Glory

Princess Glory

See also: List of Folktales Princess Glory Princess Glory is a japanese folktale which can be found in the Shintōshū, this document coming form the 14th Century giving tales of various kami. The story is set during the reign of Emperor Yuryaku, the 21st Emperor from the Kofun Period and[...]

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji

Co-ordinates: 35°21′29″N, 138°43′52″E Region: Chūbu Region Prefecture: Shizuoka Prefecture, Yamanashi Prefecture. Height: 3,776m Mount Fuji Mount Fuji (富士山) is the tallest mountain in Japan, reaching a height of 3,776 meters. The mountain itself has 3 subsidiary volcanoes by the names of Komitake, Ko-Fuji and Shin-Fuji. Shin-Fuji being the most active[...]

Tokoyo

Tokoyo

Tokoyo Tokoyo (常世の国 – Everworld) is a mythological land mentioned in the kojiki. The area is said to have cockerals which were gathered by Omoikane as one of the various ways to try and coax Amaterasu out of the Heavenly Rock Cave after she hides inside of it. This mythical[...]

Ōtoshi no Kyaku

Ōtoshi no Kyaku

See also: List of Folktales Ōtoshi no Kyaku Ōtoshi no Kyaku (大年の客 – The New Years Eve Visitor) is a group of Japanese folktales centered around the New Year. The general theme of these tales is that a vistor (or divine being known as a Toshinigami) will come on New[...]

Miruna no Zashiki

Miruna no Zashiki

See also: List of Folktales Miruna no Zashiki Miruna no Zashiki (The Forbidden Room) also known by the name of Uguisu no Ichimon (The Nightingale’s Coin) is a folktale from Japan. The story goes that there was once a man who needed shelter for the night. Finding an isolated house[...]

Hagoromo

Hagoromo

See also: List of Folktales Hagoromo The Hagoromo Legend (羽衣 – Feather Robe) is a well established legend/folktale known throughout Japan. The story was later adapted into a Noh Play of the same name. The story states that there was a celestial nymph (tenyo) who was bathing in the sea.[...]

Tamatebako

Tamatebako

Tamatebako The Tamatebako (玉手箱, Jewel Hand Box) is a gift given to Urashima Tarō by Otohime Sama in the Folktale, Urashima Tarō the Fisher Lad, after he remembers his parents and wished to return to them. The box is described as being made of laquer tied with a silken cord[...]

Oni

Oni

Oni The Oni (鬼) are a type of Yōkai depicted in the Konjaku Gazu Zoku Hyakki by Toriyama Sekien. They are generally portrayed as enormous muscular creatures with either red or green skin, as well as having horns. They are said to wear loincloths or tiger-pelt togas, and are known[...]

Folktales

Folktales

Folktales Here follows a list of Japanese Folktales (昔話) currently on our website. There will be more over time, so please bear with us for the time being. Festivals Ōtoshi no Kyaku. The New Years Eve Visitor. A collection of tales around mysterious New Years visitors who will give great[...]

Shōjōji no Tanuki Bayashi

Shōjōji no Tanuki Bayashi

See also: List of Folktales Shōjōji no Tanuki Bayashi The Shōjōji no Tanuki Bayashi (狸囃子) is a Japanese Folktale which later became a children’s song. The story revolves around a pack of Tanuki holding wild nightly drum parties at the Shōjōji Temple.1 Footnotes 1. Yoda, H. and Alt, M. (2016)[...]

The Shinansha Artefact

The Shinansha Artefact

The Shinansha Artefact The Shinansha Artefact is a kind of compass created by Emperor Kotei in the Folktale The Shinansha. However, instead of pointing North, it points South. It takes the form of a carriage with the figure of a man inside always facing south. No matter which way you[...]

Emperor Yuhi

Emperor Yuhi

Period: Legendery Period Family: Emperor Kotei (son) Emperor Yuhi Emperor Yuhi is mentioned as the father of the later Emperor Kotei in the Folktale known as The Shinansha. Nothing more is mentioned of him.1 Footnotes 1. Ozaki, Y.T. (1903) “The Japanese Fairy Book”. Westminster: Archibald Constable & Co. Ltd.[...]

Emperor Kotei

Emperor Kotei

Period: Legenedery Period Family: Emperor Yuhi (father) Emperor Kotei Emperor Kotei is said to have been the son of Emperor Yuhi, and is mentioned in the Folktale The Shinansha. He ascends as Emperor after his father, quickly becoming troubled by the rebel Shiyu who wished to take his throne. And[...]

Shiyu

Shiyu

Period: Legendary Period Occupation: Magician. Bandit. Shiyu Shiyu is noted to have been a rebel in the Folktale The Shinansha. He is said to have had been a wicked magician with a head made of iron, and that no man could ever defeat him. In the tale, he wishes to[...]

Takuroku

Takuroku

Takuroku Takuroku is a fabled location from the Folktale known as The Shinansha. Upon this plain, the Emperor Kotei and his army attack the forces of Shiyu, a rebel wishing to claim the throne. He was also a sorcerer and so when the battle began he summoned forth fog onto[...]

The Shinansha

The Shinansha

See also: List of Folktales See also: The Shinansha (Artefact) The Shinansha The Shinansha, also known as The South Pointing Carriage is a Japanese Folktale relating to China. Synopsis One day the mother of Emperor Kotei was out walking, looking at the North Star vivid flashes of lightning came from[...]

Creatures in Literature

Creatures in Literature

Creatures in Literature Here follows a list of Creatures in Literature, found in Japanese literature, and any themes connected to their appearances. See also: List of Supernatural Creatures Yōkai Yūrei Dragons Birds In addition to the specific tyes of birds listed below, it is said that a bird stops the[...]

The Tongue Cut Sparrow

The Tongue Cut Sparrow

See also: List of Folktales The Tongue Cut Sparrow The Tongue Cut Sparrow (舌切り雀) is a Folktale about an old husband and wife and a Sparrow. Synopsis The old man was kind-hearted and loving, however, the woman always spoiled the happiness of their home with her scolding tongue. The old[...]

Ryūjin

Ryūjin

Family: Otohime Sama (daughter) Urashima Taro (son-in-law) Ryūjin Ryūjin or Ryōjin (龍神) is the Dragon King of the Sea. He is mentioned in the tale Urashima Taro the Fisher Lad but not seen.1 Footnotes 1. Ozaki, Y.T. (1903) “The Japanese Fairy Book”. Westminster: Archibald Constable & Co. Ltd.[...]

Otohime Sama

Otohime Sama

For the member of the Imperial Family see: Otohime Family: Ryūjin (father) Urashima Tarō (husband) Otohime Sama Otohime Sama (乙姫) was the daughter and Princess of Ryūjin noted in the Folktale Urashima Taro the Fisher Lad. She is described as having lovely black hair fashioned in the style of hundreds[...]

Ryūgū-jō

Ryūgū-jō

Ryūgū-jō Ryūgū-jō (竜宮城, 龍宮城) is the home of Ryūjin the Dragon King of the Sea, mentioned in the tale Urashima Taro the Fisher Lad. The place is described as having a magnificent gate, with sloping roofs. The servants of the palace are fish. The rest of the building is built[...]

Urashima Tarō

Urashima Tarō

Occupation: Fisherman Family: Otohime Sama (wife) Urashima Tarō Urashima Tarō (浦島 太郎) is known from the Folktale Urashima Taro the Fisher Lad. Origins The earliest versions of this Folktale appear in the Tango Fudoki where the character of Urashima is given the name Shima no Ko.1 Folktales Synopsis Urashima was[...]

Urashima Tarō the Fisher Lad

Urashima Tarō the Fisher Lad

See also: List of Folktales Urashima Tarō the Fisher Lad Urashima Tarō the Fisher Lad (浦島 太郎) is a Folktale about Urashima Taro and a Tortoise. Origins The earliest versions of this Folktale appear in the Tango Fudoki where the character of Urashima is given the name Shima no Ko.1[...]

Emperor Yūryaku

Emperor Yūryaku

Reign: 456-479AD Period: Kofun Period Family: Emperor Anko (brother) Emperor Seinei (son) Prince Mayowa (nephew) Burial Place: – Order of Succession: Predecessor Emperor Anko * Successor Emperor Seinei Emperor Yūryaku Emperor Yūryaku (雄略天皇) is the twenty-first Emperor of Japan. He is recorded by his court chroniclers to have been a[...]

Kachi-Kachi Yama

Kachi-Kachi Yama

  See also: List of Folktales Kachi-Kachi Yama Kachi-Kachi Yama (かちかち山) also known as The Farmer and the Badger is a Folktale about a Rabbit and a Badger. Synopsis There was an old farmer and his wife whose neighbour was a mischievous Badger, who would come into his land and[...]

Dragon King’s Palace in Lake Biwa

Dragon King’s Palace in Lake Biwa

Co-ordinates: N/A (Mythical) Region: Kansai Region Prefecture: Shiga Prefecture The Dragon King’s Palace The Dragon King’s Palace (龍宮城) is the home of The Dragon King, located at the bottom of Lake Biwa. It is noted in the Folktale My Lord Bag of Rice that it is ‘beautiful’ and ‘built of[...]

Mount Mikami

Mount Mikami

Co-ordinates: 35.0503°N 136.0378°E Region: Kansai Region Prefecture: Shiga Prefecture Height: 432 m. Mount Mikami Mount Mikami (三上山) is a mountain within Shiga Prefecture. It is mentioned as the home of The Giant Centipede Seta in the Japanese Folktale My Lord Bag of Rice where Fujiwara Hidesato kills the Giant Centipede[...]

Seta

Seta

Creature type: Centipede Home: Mount Mikami Seta Seta is a creature, more specifically a Giant Centipede, known from the Folktale My Lord Bag of Rice living on Mount Mikami, described as having eyes that glowed like two balls of fire, its body so big its body wrapped around the mountain[...]

Lake Biwa

Lake Biwa

Co-ordinates: 35°20′N 136°10′E Region: Kansai Region Prefecture: Shiga Prefecture Depth: 104 metres. Lake Biwa Lake Biwa (琵琶湖) is a lake within Shiga Prefecture. The Seta-no-Karashi Bridge is built on the lake.1 According to Buddhist tradition, Mount Fuji rose from the earth in 286 BC after an earthquake that also created[...]

Seta no Karashi Bridge

Seta no Karashi Bridge

Co-ordinates: Region: Kansai Region Prefecture: Shiga Prefecture Seta no Karashi Bridge Seta no Karashi Bridge is a bridge over Lake Biwa. It is featured in the Japanese Folktale My Lord Bag of Rice where Fujiwara Hidesato walks over the body of a dragon lying asleep across it who later reveals[...]

The Dragon King of Lake Biwa

The Dragon King of Lake Biwa

Creature type: Dragon Home: Palace at the bottom of Lake Biwa The Dragon King The Dragon King also called the Dragon King of the Lake is a Dragon known from the tale My Lord Bag of Rice living in a Palace at the bottom of Lake Biwa, described as having[...]

Fujiwara Hidesato

Fujiwara Hidesato

Period: Heian Period Occupation: Chinjufu-shōgun, Governor Family: Fujiwara no Uona (ancestor) Fujiwara no Murao (father) Birth: – Death: – Fujiwara Hidesato Fujiwara Hidesato (藤原 秀郷) also known as Tawara Tōda (俵藤太)3 is included in the Folktale My Lord Bag of Rice. He is noted to have had the nature of[...]

Echigo Province

Echigo Province

See also: List of Provinces Echigo Province Echigo Province (越後国) was an old Province of Japan, located in what is now Niigata Prefecture, established in the early 8th Century.1 The folktale called The Mirror of Matsuyama is set in this province.4 Legendary Period It is mentioned in the nihongi alongside[...]

Miidera

Miidera

Co-ordinates: 35°00′48″N 135°51′10″E Region: Kansai Region Prefecture: Shiga Prefecture Founded: 672AD Affiliation: Buddhism Miidera (三井寺,御井寺) is a Buddhist Temple located close to Lake Biwa in Otsu city. Folktales It is mentioned in the Japanese Folktale My Lord Bag of Rice. According to the story, Fujiwara Hidesato donated a bell to[...]

My Lord Bag of Rice

My Lord Bag of Rice

See also: List of Folktales My Lord Bag of Rice My Lord Bag of Rice (俵藤太, Tawara Tōda) is a Japanese Folktale about Fujiwara Hidesato and The Dragon King. Synopsis Fujiwara, also known as Tawara Toda, wished for adventure and so one day set out. Reaching Seta-no-Karashi Bridge on Lake[...]

Mutsu Province

Mutsu Province

See also: List of Provinces Mutsu Province Mutsu Province (陸奥国) is one of the many old Provinces of Japan. Originally known as Michinoku (陸奥 or 道奥) it was also known as Ōshu (奥州) or Rikushū and is categorized as one of the eight Tōsandō (Eastern Mountain Road) Provinces.12 The Province[...]

Tanuki

Tanuki

Tanuki The Tanuki (狸) (Racoon-Dog) is a type of Yōkai which is also a real-life animal. Folklore says it is a notorious trickster. Later portrayals of the Yōkai depict it with large testicles. Toriyama Sekien in his work, the Gazu Hyakki Yagyō, depicts the creature on hind legs, drumming its[...]