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

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.34.24


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



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


  • 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


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


Table of Contents

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.38.34

First Three Pages of Chapter One

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.38.47

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.38.58

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.39.05

Additional Pages

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.39.16

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.39.33

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.39.50

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