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Starting in the sixteenth century, publishers in Japan had developed illustrated books of folk tales for children and adults, such as the remarkably beautiful Otogi-zoshi series , 4 which brought together folk tales and single-author prose narratives, and the Kinmou Zui and akahon series , which collected fantastical stories of myths, monsters, and adventures. Because the literacy rate was still low during this period, these books relied heavily on popular art styles to illustrate the narrative for the reader, with often striking results.
In order to reproduce the effect of these earlier volumes, Hasegawa engaged traditional Japanese woodblock printers and, for the first series, used traditional mitsumata paper. Woodblock printing — the earliest form of industrial printing — was brought to Japan from China during the tenth to thirteenth century Song Dynasty and would become the dominant printing technology in Japan until the late nineteenth century.
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While movable type employs individual letters, allowing the printer to reuse the same letters on different pages, woodblocks require the printer to carve the entire page onto a single plate. Mitsumata paper — the most common Japanese paper at the time — was made from the Edgeworthia plant, which had been imported to Japan during the Edo period specifically for its papermaking qualities.
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The plant was harvested for its woody stems which were then cleansed of impurities and pressed in vats to create huge sheets of paper. The resulting product is creamy white, sturdy, and of a noticeable weight. The envious old lady and her gift from the sparrows — page from the plain paper mitsumata second edition of — The Tongue-Cut Sparrow — Source. As to the texts, for the first series of fairy-tale readers Hasegawa commissioned translations from three of his friends in the missionary community: David Thomson, Basil H.
Chamberlain, and Kate James. The Reverend Thomson had come to Japan in the s, became fluent in Japanese, and worked with the Carrothers at their school. He was an influential figure in Japanese Bible translation and, perhaps not surprisingly, the stories he chose to translate emphasized moral lessons, in line with Victorian values regarding the education of children.
Basil H. Chamberlain, a British diplomat born to an aristocratic family, had earned a reputation as a Japanologist, writing travel books , ethnographies , and other materials about Japan.
More of a scholar than the other translators — he was a professor at the Imperial Tokyo University with a particular interest in folklore — Chamblerlain was the most familiar name to be associated with the first series, and certainly contributed to its popularity. He even commissioned Hasegawa to publish a special set of Ainu fairy tales, because of his personal interest in the culture of the Ainu, the indigenous community in Hokkaido.
She is a somewhat mysterious figure, however. We know little about her, except that she came from a Scottish clergy family, met her husband, Thomas H. A rice-mortar, pounder, bee and egg join the crabs in their council of war — illustration from a ca. Following the success of the first series, which appeared in , Hasewaga realized he could more lucratively market the Fairy Tale Series to foreigners than to teachers and students in Japan.
The artists he had engaged to illustrate the tales — Kobyashi Eitaku , Suzuki Kason , Chikanobu — were already famous for their woodblock prints in ukiyo-e style, and western audiences were immediately taken by these illustrations. Moreover, as japonisme — the trend of collecting art, artwork, and crafts from Japan — continued to grow in popularity, these prints were becoming more and more desirable to western art enthusiasts. Starting in , perhaps with japonisme in mind, Hasegawa developed a special set of books that used a more decorative Japanese paper. Chirimen , or crepe paper, is fabric-like — produced by pressing the paper fibre repeatedly and slowly rotating it.
The end result is a material soft to the touch, but with rough folds and a leathery texture which makes illustrations printed on it look instantly antique.
The area around Yokohama Bay, where international neighbourhoods had developed around the port, was a mecca for visiting collectors seeking woodblock prints and the books that featured them. Louis, and Turin — that brought his books to international attention. The contacts he made at these fairs, and the prizes his books won, helped keep them in demand for decades. Colophon from a circa crepe-paper edition of The Matsuyama Mirror — Source. Phantom cats dance outside the window of the young warrior — double page spread from a ca.
Devils in the night — illustration from a ca. Readers and reviewers alike delighted in the unfamiliar stories, which they found perfectly suited to children as well as adults. Nicholas 12 and the Ladies Home Journal. He eventually moved to Japan, married a Japanese woman, and became a Japanese citizen. Because of his intimate connections, he became somewhat of an expert on the culture and literature of the country and published numerous books and stories about Japan for western audiences.
The Goblin Spider, transformed from a priest, attacks the warrior with his web — illustration from a ca. The Goblin Spider is found and killed — illustration from a ca. Although the Fairy Tale Series received many positive reviews, it was not universally acclaimed. One reviewer for the Japan Weekly Mail found that, while the writing was passable, the illustrations were too fantastic.
I want to buy a plain set at some future time. American and British textbook writers, too, started including Japanese stories among their educational materials, which reduced the novelty and uniqueness of the endeavor. He is currently based in Tel Aviv where he writes about history and science. Cowell Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , book 2, no. Ashliman here. James T. Johannes Rein, The Industries of Japan , Tokyo: Hasegawa Publishing Co. Japan Weekly Mail , Jan. Nicholas; an Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks 14, no.
Glynis Carr. Posted: Fall Japan Weekly Mail, Dec 22, , Highlights the life and work of one of the most innovative publishers of Meiji Japan. Includes biographical notes and selected bibliography. The ten chapters of this exemplary monograph cover every major aspect of the book in traditional Japan: its place in Japanese history; books as material objects; manuscript cultures; printing; the Edo period book trade; authors and readers; importation and exportation; censorship; libraries and collectors; and bibliographic catalogues.
A goblin with no body and a monster with no face.
A resourceful samurai and a faithful daughter. A spirit of the moon and a dragon king. This collection of 15 traditional Japanese folktales are drawn from the works of folklorists Lafcadio Hearn and Yei Theodora Ozaki, and are by turns terrifying, exhilarating, and poetic.
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Call for Entries: 2020 Fairy Tales Competition
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I. What is a Fairy Tale?
It's a bird? It's a plane? No, I'm really asking. What is it?
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Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words? Examples of fairy-tale in a Sentence Noun the fairy tale about the sleeping princess Everything he told us about his happy marriage was just a fairy tale. Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Downtown Grahamstown is beautiful and pristine and looks like a fairy tale. How has South Africa changed? First Known Use of fairy-tale Adjective , in the meaning defined above Noun , in the meaning defined at sense 1a. Learn More about fairy-tale.