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Wonder Tales from Japan

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Monday, April 3, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0249
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Materials for this program

“The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child,” The Japanese Fairy Book, 1908

Whether they’re called fairy tales or something else, fantastical stories are found the world over. Like their Western fairy tale counterpart, Japan’s fantastical stories—otogi-banashi—are part of the body of stories folklorists call “wonder tales”: They contain supernatural elements, are set in the land of once upon a time, and feature marvelous situations. Sometimes, otogi-banashi even include the mysterious yokai, ghosts and spirits that take numerous forms that can range from a magical raccoon dog (the tanuki) to an umbrella (a tsukumogami)!

Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman of the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic explore traditional tales from Japan, the yokai that haunt them, and how contemporary Japanese creators adapt the Western fairy tale and combine it with local lore. They look at traditional stories like “Momotaro,” the tale of a peach boy; “Urashima Taro,” the story of a fisherman who gets more than he bargains for; and “The Mirror of Matsuyama,” a relative of “Snow White.” Learn how Japanese wonder tales and fairy tales combine their enchantments in modern genres like anime (animation) and manga (comics).

Cleto and Warman are former instructors of folklore and literature at The Ohio State University and co-founders of the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic.

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