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Author Comment
Richard Parks
Registered User
(10/13/03 9:47 am)
Cross Cultural Dark Tales
This may be slightly off-topic but I need some help. I'm scheduled for a panel on "Dark Fantasy Across Cultures" at the upcoming World Fantasy Convention, and was wondering if anyone can steer me toward more sources of Japanese Folktales for comparison and contrast purposes. I'm familiar with KWAIDAN of course, and Royall Tyler's translation JAPANESE FOLKTALES, Konjaku Monogatari (Ima Wa Mukashi) and the more modern works of Edogawa Rampo. Can someone recommend other good sources?

Registered User
(10/13/03 4:19 pm)
Re: Cross Cultural Dark Tales
Hmm, do you mean more the actual tales themselves and sources writing on them? Or also modern reworkings or references to those old tales? Or both?

Some further reference material you may try are the works of Kyoto Professor Hayao Kawai that have been translated to English. He writes on the Japanese fairy tale from a Jungian perspective. And his work is always worth reading. Two books to search for are: The Japanese Psyche: Major Motifs in the Fairy Tales of Japan and Dreams, Myths & Fairy Tales in Japan.

Other sources:
Myths and Legends of Japan from F. Hadland Davis
The Catalpa Bow: A Study of Shamanistic Practices in Japan (not on the folklore per se, but great for incite into the ritualistic, folkloric, etc. of the traditions of the religion and stories; important for understanding the spiritual side where the stories and beliefs spring from)
Kitsune: Japan's Fox of Mystery, Romance & Humor by Kiyoshi Nozaki (if you're interested in fox tales or animal tales, this is probably the best book you'll ever find in English on the subject)

I have all the above, so if you need any further info on any of these sources, just let me know.

If you mean also fictional work recommendations. Neil Gaiman's The Dream Hunters is a wonderful adaptation of a story between a monk and fox maiden. Rumiko Takahashi's works are brimming with Japanese folk creatures and references. CLAMP's Shirahime Shou is a dark folktale-like story based around the Japanese snow woman (Yuki-Onna). The latter isn't available in English yet, but will be in December in a special hardcover edition.

I hope some of that is helpful. When do you present your panel?

"I may be a woman, but I'm a warrior." ~ Oscar Francois de Jarjayes

Richard Parks
Registered User
(10/13/03 7:34 pm)
Cross Cultural Dark Fantasy
Those are some good suggestions, I'll check them out. I'm more familiar with Takahashi's comic work, but I know she's done darker things (Mermaid's Scar, etc). Adaptations are good, since we're supposed to concentrate on DF as a literary form. Where the dividing line between folklore and fantasy falls is another topic all by itself.

The panel's scheduled for 11AM on Sunday, November 2nd.

Unregistered User
(10/14/03 7:20 am)
I am not sure if this can be included though:

Interesting writings on the inari and kitsune.


Registered User
(10/14/03 9:14 am)
Ghost stories
I'm not sure if this will help you out but if you are a fan of "Kwaidon" (one of my very favorite movies) you're sure to love it. The book is called "Japanese Ghosts & Demons: Art of the Supernatural". I'm sure you could find it at Amazon.

It is a series of essays about traditional japanese ghost stories and the art work they inspired. It is full of the most incredible wood block prints, mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries. Amazing stuff!! If you enjoy some of the better anime and comics/graphic novels (or just good art in general) you're sure to love it. There is a lot of information about the stories themselves as well.


Richard Parks
Registered User
(10/14/03 1:45 pm)
Ghost Stories
Good suggestion, Connie. In fact, I already have that one and just forgot to mention it. It is a lovely book.

Registered User
(10/15/03 1:09 am)
Re: Great topic!
After a very lengthy absence, I'm making my return, and it's a long one! I don't know how many of these you know already, Richard, but this is the list I put together for a panel on the Asian fantastic in translation for last year's ICFA (so not all are guaranteed to be dark!). It's quite long, albeit subdivided.

One brief sidenote is that Kij Johnson's The Fox Woman is a wonderful novel with some dark elements and plenty of fantastic, while Andre Norton's The White Jade Fox is a fun Gothic spin on Asian themes in America.

On with the massive list!



Abe, Kobo. Beyond the Curve. Trans. Juliet Winters Carpenter. Tokyo & New York: Kodansha International, 1991. Contents: An irrelevant death -- The crime of S. Karma -- Dendrocacalia -- The life of a poet -- Record of a transformation -- Intruders -- Noah's ark -- The special envoy -- Beguiled -- The bet -- The dream soldier -- Beyond the curve.
---. Inter Ice Age 4. Trans. E. Dale Saunders. New York: Knopf, 1970.
Akutagawa, Ryunosuke. Hell Screen ("Jigoku Hen") and Other Stories. Trans. W. H. H. Norman. Reprint of the 1948 ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1971.
---. Japanese Short Stories. Trans. Takashi Kojima. Reprint of the 1961 ed. New York: Liveright, 1970.
Akutagawa, Ryunosuke, and Osamu Dazai. Akutagawa and Dazai: Instances of Literary Adaptation. Trans. James O'Brien. Tempe, AZ: Center for Asian Studies, Arizona State U, 1988.
Apostolou, John L., and Martin Harry Greenberg, eds. The Best Japanese Science Fiction Stories. New York: Dembner Books, 1989.
---. Murder in Japan: Japanese Stories of Crime and Detection. New York: Dembner Books, 1987. Contents: The psychological test / by Edogawa Rampo -- The red chamber / by Edogawa Rampo -- The razor / by Naoya Shiga -- Han's crime / by Naoya Shiga -- The thief / by Junichiro Tanizaki -- In a grove / by Ryunosuke Akutagawa -- The affair of the Arabesque inlay / by Tatsuzo Ishikawa -- Black market blues / by Haruto Ko -- The secret alibi / by Seicho Matsumoto -- The woman who took the local paper / by Seicho Matsumoto -- Rain / by Shotaro Yasuoka -- The dream soldier / by Kobo Abe -- The pawnshop murder / by Shizuko Natsuki -- The sole of the foot / by Shizuko Natsuki.
Enchi, Fumiko. Masks. New York: Vintage, 1983.
Greenberg, Martin Harry, ed. My Favorite Horror Story. New York : DAW Books, 2000. Contents: Sweets to the sweet / Robert Bloch -- Father-thing / Philip K. Dick -- Distributor / Richard Matheson -- Warning to the curious / M.R. James -- Opening the door / Arthur Machen -- Colour out of space / H.P. Lovecraft -- Inner room / Robert Aickman -- Young Goodman Brown / Nathaniel Hawthorne -- Rats in the wall / H.P. Lovecraft -- Dog Park / Dennis Etchison -- Animal Fair / Robert Bloch -- Pattern / Ramsey Campbell -- Tell-tale heart / Edgar Allan Poe -- Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge / Ambrose Bierce -- Human chair / Edogawa Rampo.
Izumi, Kyoka. Of a Dragon in the Deep. Trans. M. Cody Poulton. Kanazawa-shi: Izumi Kyoka saku "Ryutandan" Eiyaku Shuppan Jikko Iinkai, 1987. In English and Japanese.
---. Japanese Gothic Tales. Trans. Charles Shiro Inouye. Honolulu: U of Hawai’i P, 1996. Contents: The surgery room -- The holy man of Mount Koya -- One day in spring -- Osen and Sokichi.
---. The Saint of Mt. Koya; The Song of the Troubadour. Trans. Stephen W. Kohl. Kanazawa, Japan: Committee Office, Committee of the Translation of the Works of Izumi Kyoka, 1990.
Kurahashi, Yumiko. The Woman with the Flying Head and Other Stories. Trans. Atsuko Sakaki. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1998. Contents: An extraterrestrial -- We are lovers -- The house of the black cat -- The woman with the flying head -- The trade -- The witch mask -- Spring night dreams -- The passage of dreams -- A special place -- Flower abstraction -- The long passage of dreams.
Lippit, Noriko Mizuta, and Kyoko Iriye Selden, eds. Japanese Women Writers: Twentieth Century Short Fiction. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1991. Contents: The family of Koiwai / Miyamoto Yuriko -- The full moon / Nogami Yaeko -- Blind Chinese soldiers / Hirabayashi Taiko -- Narcissus / Hayashi Fumiko -- Residues of squalor / Ota Yoko -- Memory of a night / Sata Ineko -- Love in two lives : the remnant / Enchi Fumiko -- Ants swarm / Kono Taeko -- To stab / Uno Chiyo -- Facing the hills they stand / Tomioka Taeko -- Congruent figures / Takahashi Takako -- The smile of a mountain witch / Ohba Minako -- Yellow sand / Hayashi Kyoko -- In the pot / Murata Kiyoko.
Lippit, Seiji M., ed. The Essential Akutagawa: Rashomon, Hell Screen, Cogwheels, a Fool's Life and Other Short Fiction. New York: Marsilio, 1999.
Murakami, Haruki. A Wild Sheep Chase. Tokyo & New York: Kodansha International, 1989.
---. Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World: A Novel. Tokyo & New York: Kodansha International, 1991.
---. After the Quake: Stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. Contents: UFO in Kushiro -- Landscape with flatiron -- All god's children can dance -- Thailand -- Super-frog saves Tokyo -- Honey pie.
Natsume, Soseki. Ten Nights of Dream, Hearing Things, The Heredity of Taste. Trans. Aiko Ito and Graeme Wilson. Rutland, VT: Tuttle, 1974.
Poulton, M. Cody. Spirits of Another Sort: The Plays of Izumi Kyoka. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Japanese Studies, U of Michigan, 2001. Contents: Meiji melodrama: Kyoka and the shinpa theater -- A goblin's pedigree: Kyoka and the fantastic -- The geography of imagination: staging fantasy in turn-of-the-century European and Japanese drama -- Demon pond: a twice-told tale -- The sea god's villa: marriage to the sea -- The castle tower: man, woman, and art. Note(s): Include translations and commentaries of three plays: Kaijin besso, Tenshu monogatari, and Yashagaike./ Includes bibliographical references (p. 324-338) and index.
Ogiwara, Noriko. Dragon Sword and Wind Child. Trans. Cathy Hirano. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1993.
Shimada, Masahiko. Dream Messenger: A Novel. Trans. Philip Gabriel. Tokyo & New York: Kodansha International, 1992.
Tsutsui, Yasutaka. What the Maid Saw: Eight Psychic Tales. Trans. Adam Kabat. Tokyo & New York: Kodansha International, 1990.
Tyler, Royall, ed. Japanese Tales. New York: Pantheon Books, 1987.
Ueda, Akinari. Tales of Moonlight and Rain: Japanese Gothic Tales. Trans. Kengi Hamada. 1971. New York: Columbia UP, 1972.
Ury, Marian. Tales of Times Now Past: Sixty-Two Stories from a Medieval Japanese Collection. Berkeley: U of California P, 1979.

Ji, Yun. Fantastic Tales by Ji Xiaolan. Trans. Hai-ch‘en Sun. Beijing: New World Press, 1998.
Kao, Karl S.Y., ed. Classical Chinese Tales of the Supernatural and the Fantastic: Selections from the Third to the Tenth Century. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1985.
Pu Songling. Strange Tales of Liaozhai. Trans. and ed. Lu Yunzhong, et al. revised and enlarged ed. Hong Kong: Commercial Press, 1988.
---. Strange Tales from Make-Do Studio. Trans. Denis C. & Victor H. Mair. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1989.
Zeitlin, Judith T. Historian of the Strange: Pu Songling and the Chinese Classical Tale. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1993.
Yuan Mei. Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei. Trans. and ed. Kam Louie and Louise Edwards. NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1996.

•Not translations – critical or other related works
Science-fiction Studies 29 (2002): Special Issue on Japanese Science Fiction
includes scholarly articles on Japanese SF, plus some translations of seminal texts on the genre.
Addiss, Stephen. Japanese Ghosts & Demons: Art of the Supernatural. New York; Lawrence, Kansas: G. Braziller; Spencer Museum of Art, U of Kansas, 1985.
Algarin, Joanne P. Japanese Folk Literature: A Core Collection and Reference Guide. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1982.
Chan, Tak-hung Leo. The Discourse on Foxes and Ghosts: Ji Yun and Eighteenth-Century Literati Storytelling. Honolulu: U of Hawaii P, 1998.
Cornyetz, Nina. Dangerous Women, Deadly Words: Phallic Fantasy and Modernity in Three Japanese Writers. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1999.
Hearn, Lafcadio. Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan. Reprint of the 1894 ed. 2 vols. New York: AMS Press, 1969.
---. Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. Reprint of the 1932 ed. New York: Dover, 1968.
Krieger, Paul Henry. “The Fantastic Stories of Abe Kôbô: A Study of Three Early Short Stories, with Translations.” PhD dissertation. U of Minnesota, 1991
Murray, Paul. A Fantastic Journey: The Life and Literature of Lafcadio Hearn. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1997.
Napier, Susan Jolliffe. The Fantastic in Modern Japanese Literature: The Subversion of Modernity. London: Routledge, 1996.
Yu, Beongcheon. Akutagawa: An Introduction. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1972.

Richard Parks
Registered User
(10/15/03 7:50 am)
Cross-Cultural Dark Fantasy
Thanks Laura. I'm familiar with maybe a fraction of those titles. There's a lot of stuff in there I'd like to read even if don't get to it before the panel.

I think I need another lifetime.

Registered User
(10/15/03 2:49 pm)
You might also want to look at the art of Yoshitaka Amano, on display at and other places on the net, as he's folded Japanese illustration into graphic novel work (Neil Gaiman's "Sandman"), illustration of Moorcock's Elric, and various strange, sexual, dark and disturbing works--he's doing on a visual level what you seem to be doing with the literary on another.


Richard Parks
Registered User
(10/15/03 3:51 pm)
Thanks for the link, Greg. He did the illustrations for Gaiman's "The Dream Hunters," yes? I've seen a little of it before, but glad for the chance to see more. He does exquisite work.

I'll have to stop and think about what I'm doing at some point. Right now the stories have their own agenda and I just hang on to the leash like a five year old walking a Great Dane.

See you at WFC?

Registered User
(10/16/03 4:40 am)
Re: Amano
They tried to put me on that panel, Richard--and I cried off. Don't tend to read dark and hadn't a clue. Good on ya!


Richard Parks
Registered User
(10/16/03 6:38 am)
Re: Amano
Confession time: I actually volunteered for the ghost stories panel, but it was full. Though, considering the subject, I don't very well see how we can avoid them here!

Richard Parks
Registered User
(10/17/03 9:21 am)
Thanks, all. I've ordered one of the books on Laura's list, mainly because I wanted to some contemporary tales for comparison to the more traditional. I'm tracking down some other things as well. Now all I have to do is try and make some sense out of the wealth of details available.

Registered User
(10/18/03 11:21 pm)
Re: Thanks
Ellen Steiber's novella "The Fox Wife" (published in Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears) is a lovely dark fantasy version of the legend. She also wrote a children's version (for Middle Grade readers) called The Shadow of the Fox.

I also adored Kij Johnson's The Fox Woman, recommended above.

The Korean-American writer Heinz Insu Fenkl wrote a short article on fox wives, which can be found at:

Edited by: Terri at: 10/18/03 11:22 pm
Richard Parks
Registered User
(10/20/03 12:13 pm)
Fox Wives
Thanks for the link, Terri. So much good stuff I hardly know where to begin.

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