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#7 Dowa


The theme is “Dowa (fairly tales)”. Dowa is a term to describe stories for children such as folk tales, legends, myths, allegories, etc. In Japan, there are various Dowa, and sometimes it is called Mukashi-banashi (old tale) or Warabe-monogatari (children’s story). Dowa is usually shown in picture books or picture-story show, but it can also be passed by word of mouth. Some folk tales and legends have been modified through time to become suitable for children. There are also many allegories that have used animals to teach moral lessons and common sense. This time, five visual arts were created based on Dowa.

Urashima Taro -Taro and the Palace of the Dragon- : One day, a young fisherman named Taro rescued a turtle being tormented by some children and was rewarded with a visit to the Dragon Palace. A princess entertained him hospitably and he was having a great time. After a while, he became homesick and decided to go home. The princess regretfully said goodbye and gave him a precious box, telling him never to open it. When he returned to the shore, there was nobody he had known. Hopelessly he opened the precious box, but then white smoke poured out of it and became a silver-haired old man. He spent just a couple of days in the Dragon palace but in fact, 700 years have passed since he got there.


Miminashi Hoichi -Hoichi the Earless- : There was a blind bonze named Hoichi played biwa very well. One day, a samurai asked him to play biwa at a palace for seven nights. As the night onwards, the chief bonze noticed Hoichi was getting pale, so told other bonzes to follow him. They found him sitting in a cemetery playing biwa surrounded by ghosts of the Heike clan, so a bonze wrote the words of heart sutra over his entire body to make him invisible to the ghosts. The next night, the samurai came to see Hoichi but only found his ears floating in the air, so ripped them off saying “This could be a proof of his visit”. It was because the bonze neglected to write the sutra on his ears.


Yukionna -A snow woman-: There lived a boy in a small village. One day, a snowstorm hit the village and he met Yukionnna in a mountain. She told him “Do not tell anyone about me, I’ll freeze you to death if you do.” and disappeared. He grew up without telling anyone about Yukionna. Later, he got married and was having a happy life but one snowy night, it reminded him of Yukionna and he carelessly spoke to his wife about the day he met Yukionna. At the moment, she said “Why did you tell? I warned you!” and transformed into Yukionna. She breathed on him and he was frozen to death. She looked at him sorrowfully for a moment and vanished





Taketori Monogatari "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter", also known as Kaguya Hime "The Tale of Princess Kaguya", is a 10th century Japanese folktale. It is considered the oldest extant Japanese narrative and an early example of proto-science fiction.It primarily details the life of a mysterious girl called Kaguya-hime, who was discovered as a baby inside the stalk of a glowing bamboo plant. She is said to be from Tsuki-no-Miyako "The Capital of the Moon" and has unusual hair that shines like the moon.

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