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Tales of Old Japan

Lord Redesdale

Book Overview: 

Tales of Old Japan by Lord Redesdale is a collection of short stories focusing on Japanese life of the Edo period (1603 - 1868). It contains a number of classic Japanese stories, fairy tales, and other folklore; as well as Japanese sermons and non-fiction pieces on special ceremonies in Japanese life, such as marriage and harakiri, as observed by Lord Redesdale. The best know story of these is "The Forty-seven Ronins" a true account of samurai revenge as it happened at the beginning of 18th century Japan.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .d defended himself; but having received a severe wound in the first instance, he fainted away from loss of blood, and Matagorô slew him.

The mother of Matagorô, startled by the noise, came out; and when she saw what had been done, she was afraid, and said—"Passionate man! what have you done? You are a murderer; and now your life will be forfeit. What terrible deed is this!"

"I have killed him now, and there's nothing to be done. Come, mother, before the matter becomes known, let us fly together from this house."

"I will follow you; do you go and seek out my Lord Abé Shirogorô, a chief among the Hatamotos,16 who was my foster-child. You had better fly to him for protection, and remain in hiding."

So the old woman persuaded her son to make his escape, and sent him to the palace of Shirogorô.

Now it . . . Read More

Community Reviews

I'm familiar with the majority of the stories covered, but what made this an interesting read was the authors notes and perspective on the stories. The translation isn't the best, but you get the jest of the body of work the author wanted to share.

I enjoyed the final chapters (the Appendix A - An ac

На места доста интересна , на други почти скучна , но обогатяваща при всички случай, вярванията и историите на стара Япония са толкова екзотични колкото и самата страна за много от нас .

An interesting purview of some of the cultural stories and customs of Japan before its modernization in the 1870s, told by a high-ranking British official who was one of the first foreigners allowed access into the country. The collection is a bit jumbled, but together they form a picture of what Ja

Малка колекция от злокобни истории от далечните азиатски земи, изпълнени с коварни магически лисици, агресивни язовци с черни души, демони, ненамерили утеха в живота и смъртта, но отново и тук в държавата на изгряващия светлик, където всичко нереално изглежда една идея по-обосновано за съществувание

Published three years after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 which ended the rule of the Shogunate and allowed the Imperial Government to modernize Japan along western lines, "Tales of Old Japan" is a brilliant initial effort on the part of a cultured European to understand the feudal society and cultu

This is a wonderful book. Mitford was one of the very first westerners to go to Japan and learnt to speak and read Japanese. He was there at an extraordinary time - when the struggle between the shogunate and the shogun’s ancient enemies, the south western clans, was at its height. He was privileged

A professor of Japanese at the foreign languages department of my old University mentioned that they have seen a change in the interests of their students. It used to be that people would study Japanese because of a fascination with Samurais and old Japanese culture, but increasingly the students ar

A fascinating look at old Japan, written at the start of the Meiji era, by one of the earliest westerners to have lived there. Mitford collects whatever stories and fairy tales he can get his hands on and it's a real treat to read them. Stories of samurai, cursed swords, shape shifters, ghosts, and

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