For the most part, the Japanese people are known and respected for their skills as makers of automobiles, cameras, and other electronics. They are also known for their martial arts and to some extent, their art and cultural expressions such as block prints, flower arrangements and the tea ceremony. And their beautiful garden designs.
What most people do not realize, however, is that the Japanese people are great storytellers. There are over 300 folk tales and legends still popular in Japan today. Ghost stories are especially popular among school children where contests are often held for ghost story telling (gakkō kaidan). A number of Japanese horror movies have in fact been adapted to, or were the inspiration for Hollywood movie productions.
There is a wealth of Japanese epic classical works, most of which, sadly, have never been translated into English. Likewise, modern Japanese literature is limited only to those who can read Japanese. Other forms of stories and storytelling abound beside novels and legends: there are stories in poetry and picture books, and of recent times, in movies, comic books and animation. But even here, language is often a barrier in sharing in the enjoyment of such a treasure of the imagination.
On this web site, we will explore some of the most well-known Japanese tales in various forms, and get to know some of the Japan's greatest story tellers. This website, however, is merely an introduction to this fascinating aspect of the Japanese culture; we hope our invitation will lead you to a greater exploration on your own.
Thank you for coming with us on this journey.