By Hiroshi Naito
These twenty-two jap stories open to Western readers the area of delusion within the mythical literature of Japan—a international of ogres, monkeys, goblins, and priest, of spelling-casting and rescuing people.
Rich in style, Legends of Japan contains stories of the supernatural, magic, and deities, in addition to stories of romance and intrigue. The vividness and aesthetic allure of those tales is greater by way of twenty-two woodblock prints from the studio of contemporary eastern illustrator Masahiko Nishin.
The stories are drawn from eastern masterpieces of the Heian (794-1185) and Kamakura (1192-1333) sessions. the sooner and major resource is 31-volume Konjaku Monogatari, a suite of stories of jap, chinese language and Indian starting place. the opposite resource is the miscellany Tsurezure Gusa, via Kento Yoshida, a monk of noble delivery who used to be good versed in jap and chinese language literature. A reader's satisfaction, those little books distills the colour and style, the knowledge and humor of 2 nice treasuries of classical Asian literature.
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Additional info for Legends of Japan
Religion has been one of the most traditional ways of attaining ecstasy, but if people no longer find it in temples, synagogues, churches or mosques, they look for it elsewhere: in art, music, poetry, rock, dance, drugs, sex or sport. Like poetry and music, mythology should awaken us to rapture, even in the face of death and the despair we may feel at the prospect of annihilation. If a myth ceases to do that, it has died and outlived its usefulness. It is, therefore, a mistake to regard myth as an inferior mode of thought, which can be cast aside when human beings have attained the age of reason.
We have imagination, a faculty that enables us to think of something that is not immediately present, and that, when we first conceive it, has no objective existence. The imagination is the faculty that produces religion and mythology. Today mythical thinking has fallen into disrepute; we often dismiss it as irrational and self-indulgent. But the imagination is also the faculty that has enabled scientists to bring new knowledge to light and to invent technology that has made us immeasurably more effective.
The Neanderthal graves tell us five important things about myth. First, it is nearly always rooted in the experience of death and the fear of extinction. Second, the animal bones indicate that the burial was accompanied by a sacrifice. Mythology is usually inseparable from ritual. Many myths make no sense outside a liturgical drama that brings them to life, and are incomprehensible in a profane setting. Third, the Neanderthal myth was in some way recalled beside a grave, at the limit of human life.