Myths and Legends of Japan
E. Hadland DavisThe most popular myths and legends of Japanese culture are charmingly retold in English in this handsomely illustrated book. Here are myths of gods, heroes and warriors; legends of Buddha, and of the goddess Benten and the god Daikoku; tales of the sea and of Mount Fuji; accounts of superstitions and supernatural beings; observations on the spiritual properties of fans, flowers, dolls and butterflies and much more. The collection begins with the early myths of Japan, which the author describes as "quaint, beautiful, quasi-humorous." These are followed by legends celebrating early heroes and warriors, and the earliest examples of the Japanese romance, "The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Maiden." Many of the legends that follow reflect a poetic love of beauty and of nature. But as the author points out, "there is plenty of crude realism in Japanese legend. We are repelled by the Thunder God's favorite repast, amazed by the magical power of foxes and cats; and the story of 'H‚ß‚chi-the-Earless' and of the corpse-eating priest afford striking examples of the combination of the weird and the horrible." Thirty-two full-page illustrations offer compelling images of Buddha and the Dragon; A Kakemono Ghost; The Jelly-Fish and the Monkey; The Firefly Battle; Tokoyo and the Sea Serpent; Sengen, the Goddess of Mount Fuji; and other subjects of these timeless myths. In addition, the author has included several invaluable appendixes that offer a helpful note on Japanese poetry, a listing of gods and goddesses, a genealogy of The Age of the Gods, and an index of poetical quotations.