Absolute Beginners Book Club // Now Reading: Tamamo no Koi!

「日本の昔ばなし」 単行本 第一巻 一寸法師編 - Folktales from Japan Volume 1 - Issun-Boshi and other stories

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Summary

eEHON コミックス (e-Picture Book Comics) is a label that produces a number of colourful children’s books in (as far as I can see) an ebook only format. This volume collects six stories together in a full colour illustrated book. It was first published in 2014 and there are about 12 other volumes produced since.

“Issun-boshi” (The Inch-High Samurai) is a boy who is full of courage even if he is born small. On a boat made of a rice-bowl, using a chopstick paddle, he goes to the capital Kyoto on a journey of training for warriors. There, Issun-boshi tries to be brave as he encounters a terrifying demon.

The other stories in the book are: “The Man Who Bought a Dream”, “The Rat Sutra”, “The Transforming Hood”, “The Love Potion”, and “The Village of the Nightingales”.

Summary in Japanese

『一寸法師』一寸法師は、小さく生まれても、全身に勇気のみなぎる男の子。お椀の舟に箸の櫂で京の都へ武者修行の旅へ出る。そこで、恐ろしい鬼と遭遇した一寸法師は勇気を試される。『夢を買った男』旅の商人は、相棒の見た大判小判の夢を、大金はたいて譲ってもらう、果たして夢はかなうのか…。『ねずみ経』旅のお坊さんを泊めた、一人暮らしのお婆さん。お坊さんにお経を教えてもらうことに、やがて、旅の坊さんが、盗人になって…。『八つ化け頭巾』貧乏寺の和尚さん。ある時、村人を困らせている化け狐と出会うが、とんちで、化け頭巾を手に入れてしまう…。『惚れ薬』ほれ薬を使って、何とか米問屋の娘の気を引こうとするが、苦労してこしらえた、ほれ薬を使おうとすると…。『うぐいすの里』いつもの山で道に迷ったきこりは、見たこともない大きな屋敷で美しい女に出逢い襖の向こうの怪しい世界に迷い込む…。※本電子書籍は個別販売中の作品を収録したセレクション版です。

Availability

BookLive! : BOOK☆WALKER : eBookJapan : Kindle

There is an associated animated series on Crunchyroll as described in this Wikipedia Article.

No physical version available that I can see (which is presumably why the label is called e-Picture Books).

Personal Opinion

We’ve had a couple of suggestions of fairytales/folk tales for the club. One is a collection of 16 books that is difficult to get hold of as a set now, and the other is a website with lots of free stories available.

What I like about this collection is that it’s a complete standalone book ( 単行本) that you can tick off on your list of books read, is illustrated in full colour throughout, and it’s not text dense so very approachable for beginners.

In addition, the script of the animated version seems to largely match the book version, so you can practise your listening skills as well. I’m not familiar with using Crunchyroll but I was able to start watching the episode for free (with adverts).

It’s 400 pages long - but as you can see from the text density, it’s the right length for a bookclub pick.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Very approachable language level for absolute beginners
  • Full colour illustrations
  • Traditional Japanese Folktales
  • Animation with largely similar script for listening practise
  • Available on a number of ebook sites
  • There are lots more volumes available if people want to carry on reading

Cons

  • There is no physical copy, so you won’t be able to display it proudly on your bookshelf
  • No kanji

Pictures

Table of Contents

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First Three Pages of Chapter One

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Additional Pages

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Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

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