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Myths and Legends of Japan
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Manufacturer: Dover Publications
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 398.0952
EAN: 9780486270456
ISBN: 0486270459
Label: Dover Publications
Manufacturer: Dover Publications
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 432
Publication Date: 1992-03-23
Publisher: Dover Publications
Studio: Dover Publications

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Editorial Reviews:

This handsomely illustrated book includes myths of gods, heroes, warriors; legends of Buddha, Benten and Daikoku; tales of the sea and of Mount Fuji; accounts of superstitions; and much more. 32 full-page illustrations offer compelling images of Buddha and the Dragon, The Firefly Battle, and other subjects of these myths.



Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Myths & Legends of Japan
Comment: This is a good if somewhat dated compilation of Japanese myths & legends. Most of it was new to me, although there were a few that I had run across in my reading before. Mr. Hadland wrote well, although one can detect some condescenion in the text. The stories illuminate the Japanese character in a way that other cultural artifacts do not. I recommend this book to anyone with a serious interest in Japanese culture.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Tales of Olde from a Hidden Country
Comment: When this book was written, in 1913, Japan was still a country shrouded in mystery. Mathew Perry and his Black Ships had forced the treaty in 1858, an event that was still very much in living memory. Lafcadio Hearn had published his books on ghostly Japan only a few years earlier, and information was slowly pouring in to a hungry public.

F. Hadland Davis pulled from Hearn's works, from Basil Chamberlain's "Things Japanese," from various translations of the Kojiki and the Nihongi, and from all of the new research available to create a single volume detailing the "Myths and Legends of Japan." He did an amazing job, and this is really an astoundingly comprehensive volume, with creation myths, magical creatures, ghost stories, Buddhist lessons and everything else under heaven. Davis has categorized the stories in an interesting and romantic way, such as "Concerning Tea" and "Dolls and Butterflies." All 31 categories have about four or five stories apiece, giving you an idea of how many gems are in the book.

The writing style of the book is very old fashioned, and people unaccustomed to a more scholarly style might find it a bit thick. Hadland often sumarizes the tales, rather than giving them a storytelling flair. The focus of the book is educational over entertaiment, introducing the myths and legends of an unknown country to his readers. Also included is a glossary and index, to help in the absorbtion of the many, many tales.

Writing aside, the biggest shame of this edition is the illustrations. While lovely, they have been reproduced in black and white instead of the original color plates. I know it keeps the costs down on a book almost 100 years old, but the original images must have been something to see!

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: I wish I had found this sooner!
Comment: This book is exactly what I had been looking for to quench my thirst for knowledge of Japanese mythology. Each of the 31 chapters covers a different subject and does so very well. My favorite chapters were: V. Fox Legends, IX. Legends of Mount Fuji, XXII. Animal Legends, XXIII. Bird and Insect Legends, XXVII. Legends of the Sea, XXVIII. Superstitions, and XXIX. Supernatural Beings. I highly recommend this to the mythology buff as well as the casual reader looking for something interesting to read.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Very enjoyable and informative.
Comment: Of course I am not an expert on "Myths and Legends of Japan", so I cannot judge the accuracy of the book, but nevertheless I do think that this is an absolutely fantastic read. First published in 1913, and thanks to one of my favourite publishing companies, Dover, made available again in 1992.

It's not just a collection of (translated) stories of myths and legends in Japan, the author also gives some background information and further explanations.

The range of topics covered is huge: from the Gods to heroes and warriors to foxes to legends in Japanese art to the sacred Mount Fuji to flowers and gardens, mirrors, insects, fans, thunder, superstitions, supernatural beings, Kintaro... to give you just a few examples!

I must admit that at first I found it difficult to get into this book, but after about 30 pages I was hooked and had a hard time putting it down. Some of the stories are very moving, some breath-taking, others just sweet...

Since common myths and legends of a people do say quite a bit about it, one can only be blown-away by just what a nation Japan must be!


Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: More Academic Than Enjoyable
Comment: Instead of merely translating a number of common myths and legends, the authors explain each story in a summary fashion, and always in third person. I personally found this to be very distracting, not to mention a little dry. If you are looking for a book which captures the spirit of the Japanese tales instead of merely recounting their basic plot lines, this is not the book for you.


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