Japanese folklore facts for kids
Japanese folklore is the folklore of Japan. It is very influenced by Shinto and Buddhism, the two most important religions in the country. It usually includes humorous or strange characters and situations. It also includes many supernatural creatures, such as kami (gods and revered spirits), yōkai (monster-spirits) (like oni, kappa, and tengu), onryō (ghosts), dragons, and animals with supernatural powers like the kitsune (fox), tanuki (raccoon dog), mujina (badger), and bakeneko (transforming cat).
Japanese folklore is often divided into several categories: "mukashibanashi," tales of long-ago; "namidabanashi", sad stories; "obakebanashi", ghost stories; "ongaeshibanashi", stories of kindness; "tonchibanashi", witty stories; "waraibanashi", funny stories; and "yokubaribanashi", stories of greed.
Some famous Japanese folktales and legends include:
- The story of Kintarō, the superhuman Golden Boy.
- The story of Momotarō, the hero Peach Boy.
- The story of Urashima Tarō, who rescued a turtle and visited the bottom of the sea.
- The story of Issun-Bōshi, the One-inch Boy.
- The story of the evil fox-woman Tamamo-no-Mae.
- The story of Hōmyō dōji who converts a king to Buddhist
- Shita-kiri Suzume, the story of the sparrow with its tongue cut off.
- The story of Kiyohime, who wanted revenge, and who became a dragon.
- Banchō Sarayashiki, the ghost story of Okiku and the Nine Plates.
- Yotsuya Kaidan, the ghost story of Oiwa.
- Kachi-kachi Yama, the story of an evil raccoon-dog and a heroic rabbit.
- Hanasaka Jiisan, the story of the old man that made the flowers bloom
Images for kids
A raccoon dog half transformed into a cauldron hangs from a jizai kagi hook over an irori hearth (scene from the tale Bunbuku chagama). (c. 1840s, School of Hokusai)
Japanese folklore Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.