Saturday, December 10, 2022

Review of "Japanese Fairy Tales," by Iwaya Sazanami

 Review of

Japanese Fairy Tales, by Iwaya Sazanami

Five out of five stars

Many similarities to European tales

 These six tales by the legendary Japanese storyteller Iwaya Sazanami have many characteristics of classic European fairy tales. In “Momotaro,” an old, childless couple have their wish for a son granted via magic. That son then goes off to fight a set of ogres that have terrorized the local people for years. As is usual in such stories, he comes back to his parents a hero, having vanquished the entire team of ogres.

 There are many sentient creatures that exhibit human traits, there are cruel and avaricious humans and others that are very kind. In many ways, the characters are similar to what appears in the European fairy tales. There are many reasons why Sazanami is called the Japanese equivalent of Grimm of Germany. Like the Grimm fairy tales, Sazanami simply collated and organized rather than wrote these stories of ancient Japan.

 Despite the large cultural differences between populations, when examining fairy tales, it is easy to recognize how similar humans are.

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