Japanese Fairy Tales 4


The Japanese character of being clean, kind, serious, and not bothering others was nurtured in childhood by listening to fairy tales like the one introduced here.

In this series, 20 representative Japanese fairy tales will be introduced in eight installments as follows.

1. Tsuru no Ongaeshi (The grateful crane)
2. Kaguyahime(The bamboo princess)

3. Issun Boshi (The Inch-High Samurai)
4. Urashima Taro(a fisherman’s name)

5. Shitakiri-Suzume (The Tongue-cut Sparrow)
6. Hanasaka-Jii n (The Man who made flowers bloom)
7. Momo-Taro (The Peach Boy)

No.4 This site.
8. Kachi-Kachi-Yama(a mountain’s name)
9.   Inaba no Shiro Usagi (The Hare of Inaba)
10. Omusubi Kororin (The Rolling Rice Ball)

11. Saru Kani Gassen (The Battle of the Monkey and the Crab)
12. Kobutori Jiisan (The Old Men with a Lump)
13. Ubasuteyama (The mountainous place where old people were abandoned)

14. Amano Hagoromo (The Robe worn by Celestial Maidens)
15. Nezumino Sumo (Sumo by Mice)
16. Ushiwakamaru (a young samurai’s name)

17. Ikkyu-san(The Young Wit Boy Ikkyu-san)
18. Binbo-gami to Fukuno-kami (God of Poverty and God of Fortune)

19. Jizo-gasa(The Jizo’s hat)
20. Warashibe-Choja (The straw millionaire)



Notes; Yama means mountain and kachi-kachi is the crackling sound a fire makes.

Once upon a time, there were an old man and an old woman. They were cultivating a field.
Every day, a naughty raccoon dog came to the field and repeatedly did bad things.
The grandfather caught the raccoon dog in a trap and told the grandmother to make raccoon-dog soup out of it.
The captured raccoon dog told his grandmother that he would not misbehave anymore and would help her with the housework. She untied a raccoon dog’s rope. However, the raccoon dog hit the grandmother.
The raccoon dog said,
“Hahaha, you stupid old hag! trusting a raccoon dog!”
With that, the raccoon dog ran off into the hills behind the house.
When the old man returned a short time later, he was surprised to see his grandmother lying on the ground after hitting by the raccoon dog.
“Grandma! Granny! Oh, my God!”
Hearing this, the kind rabbit living with them decided to avenge the kind old woman.
The rabbit invited the raccoon dog to collect dried-up sticks for fuel in the mountains, and ask the raccoon dog to carry them on his back and said,
“Mr. raccoon, will you help me carry the dried-up sticks to my home?”
With these words, the rabit secretly lit the dried-up sticks on his back.
“Kachi, kachi, kachi, kachi.”
“Oh? Mr. Rabbit, what’s that kachi, kachi sound?”
“Oh, this mountain is called kachi, kachi Mountain. That’s why it’s called kachi, kachi.”
Before long, the raccoon dog’s dried-up sticks on his back burst into flames.
The raccoon dog suffered severe burns on his back.
The next day, the rabbit went to the raccoon dog with an ointment he had made from a pepper.
“Hey, I have brought good medicine for your burns.”
The rabbit applied the medicine to the raccoon dog’s back.
The raccoon dog screamed.

The next day, the rabbit tricked the raccoon dog into going fishing.

“Don’t you want to eat fish? I’ll make a wooden boat, and you make a mud boat.”
The raccoon dog made a mud boat, and when he got on it, the mud began to collapse. The boat began to sink into the river. The boat is melting away!
The raccoon dog was in a panic.
“Oh, this is my fault for bullying your grandmother,”
said the raccoon dog.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I will never do anything bad again. Please help me.”
The raccoon dog apologized so earnestly that the rabbit saved the raccoon dog.

The rabbit took the raccoon dog to his grandfather and grandmother’s house.
“Grandfather and grandmother, I have done a bad thing the other day. Please forgive me.”
The raccoon dog apologized and everyone lived happily ever after.


9. Inaba no shiro usagi (the rabbit of Inaba)

Notes; Inaba is the old name of the area located in eastern Tottori prefecture, western Japan. Shiro means white color, Usagi rabbit.

Once upon a time, a rabbit lived on an island.

One day, the rabbit wanted to go to the headland on the other side of the island, but she could not swim.

The rabbit came up with an idea and did it.

She said to the shark swimming in the sea,
“Mr. Shark, I think your family and mine have a lot in common. Who do you think has more family, yours or mine?”
“Of course I do.” said the shark.
“Well, let’s count them. Gather your family here and line up in a single file from this island to that cape. I’ll run up there and count for you. Then we’ll see who has more. said the rabbit.

A few days later, when all the sharks were lined up on the sea, the rabbit jumped over the sharks’ backs, pretending to count.
And when reached the cape, she said to the sharks.
“You fool shark, you don’t even know you’ve been tricked. I just wanted to come here. Silly shark.”

When the shark realized he had been tricked, he caught the rabbit and skinned her.
“It hurts!”
The rabbit cried out in pain and didn’t know what to do.
The shark told her to go into the sea and she would get better.

The rabbit did as he was told and went into the sea, but the sea water was salty water and it hurt her like hell.

The shark said,
“You stupid rabbit, you don’t even know you’ve been tricked.”
The shark said.
The rabbit was crying, not knowing what to do.

At that time, a young god passed by and said to the rabbit.
“Wash yourself in the river water and sprinkle some cattail pollen on your body. Then you will be well.(*)”

The rabbit did as she was told and became a white rabbit again.

(*) Cattail pollen was used medicinally in Japan.

10.Omusubi Kororin (Rolling Rice Ball )

Once upon a time, there were a kind-hearted grandfather and grandmother.
The old man went to the mountain to pick up the firewood for fuel as usual.
“Yokkoisyo, yokkoisyo, yokkoisyo, yokkoisyo, yokkoisyo, yokkoisyo, yokkoisyo”

Notes: Yokkoisho is a call to action.

After gathering a lot of dried-up branches, he was hungry.
“Now, let’s eat some of the Omusubi(rice balls) that my wife made for me.”
As he sat down on the stump, one of the Omusubi fell out of the wrapper.
It rolled down the mountain slope.
“Wait, wait, wait!”
Grandpa chased after the omusubi.
After rolling for a while, the Omusubi went into a hole by a big tree.
Grandpa looked into the hole, but it was too dark to see much.
Then he heard a happy voice coming from inside the hole.
“Rolling Omusubi makes us happy. We are so happy!”
“Rolling Omusubi makes us happy. We are so happy!”
The old man was so surprised that he put the rest of the Omusubi in the hole again.
“Rolling Omusubi makes us happy. We are so happy!”
“Rolling Omusubi makes us happy. We are so happy!”
More happy voices could be heard from inside the hole.
The old man, who was curious about the voices in the hole, decided to go inside the hole.
He started to roll down the hole.
Many rats were living at the bottom of the hole.
They were eating the Omusubi that Grandpa dropped down the hole.

“Grandpa, thank you for the tasty Omusubi!”
said the rats.
I’m glad you enjoyed them.

And Grandpa dropped the Omusubi into the hole every day.
“I’m so glad you like them.” said the old man.
“Rolling Omusubi, We are so happy.”
Grandpa heard the happy voices of the rats every day.

One day, the mice came out of their holes and said to him,
“Grandpa, thank you for always bringing us delicious Omusubi. In return, we give you this box.
The old man said,
“Thank you, Mr. Rat. Thank you.”
He took the box home.
When he opened the box at home, he found a lot of money inside.
The grandfather and grandmother lived happily ever after.