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Legendary Nagano: Folk Tales and Legends from the Roof of Japan

125 pages1 hour


Nagano Prefecture with its towering, forest-covered mountains is rightly known as the Roof of Japan. It is a place with a rarefied atmosphere, steeped in ancient history and mysterious arts. It is not surprising, then, that Nagano Prefecture is also rich in legends and folk tales. In this land, super dogs fight demons, badgers become men, water sprites and monsters try to drag unwitting victims to watery graves, the gods demonstrate both their divinity and humanity, goblins build mountains in a single night, and lovers toil for years to make their dreams come true.
The 23 stories in this collection bring together a diverse set of legends and folktales for an international audience. The antics of the eccentric Dr Motosada, the unique powers of the good woman from Takai district, and the shrewd antics of Red Ant Matabei will amuse and entertain. The stories also provide insights into the development and transmission of various Japanese values, social norms, and cultural practices. At the same time, the collection has been compiled in such as way as to provide tales of people who successfully transgressed or transcended traditional roles and requirements.

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