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Gon, the Little Fox
Gon, the Little Fox.jpg
Author Nankichi Niimi
Original title ごん狐 Gongitsune
Translator Mariko Shii Gharbi
Illustrator Genjirou Mita
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Genre Fable, Children's literature
Published
  • 1932 in Akai Tori (The Red Bird) magazine (Miekichi Suzuki) (Japanese)
  • 1995 (Kodansha International) (Japanese/English) (74p.)
  • 2015 (Museyon)
Media type Print (paperback), (hardback)
Pages 36
ISBN 978-1940842035

Gon, the Little Fox (ごん Gongitsune) is a Japanese children's story about the life of a little fox called Gon. The story is considered the masterpiece of Niimi Nankichi, also sometimes known as the Hans Christian Andersen of Japan.

Synopsis

Gon (Japanese: ごん) is a little fox. Looking for food he comes to a little village, where he repeatedly steals food and creates other mischief, constantly evading the angry villagers.

One day Gon steals an eel in front of Hyoju (Japanese: ひょうじゅう), which Hyoju wanted to give to his sick old mother. His mother subsequently dies. Gon realizes his mistake and tries to make it up by secretly giving Hyoju gifts he stole, although the villagers now accuse Hyoju of stealing and beat him up. Afterwards, Gon only gives mushrooms and nuts he collected in the forest. Hyoju is grateful for the gifts, although he does not know where they come from. One day, Hyoju sees the fox sneaking around, and shoots him to death out of anger about the death of his mother. Only afterwards does he realize to his horror that the fox he just shot gave him all the mushrooms and nuts.

Author background

Nankichi wrote the story in 1930 when he was seventeen, based on a Japanese folk tale he heard. He wrote the story in Handa, Aichi prefecture, the town where he was born. He also lost his mother when he was 4 years old, and was touched deeply by the tale. Like Gon, Nankichi also did not live very long and died at age 29 of tuberculosis.

Adaption

The book was made into an animated movie Gongitsune (ごんぎつね) with Mayumi Tanaka as the voice of Gon. The movie premiered in March 1985.

Inspired by Nakichi Niimi's Gongitsune novel, Takeshi Yashiro who penned the script is also the director and animator for the short, under TECARAT stop motion animation studio. It had been announced that it will be screening in Japan from February 28 to March 5 2020. And is voiced by Masato Tanaka as Gon, and Miyu Irino as Hyojyu.

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