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Editor reviews

Yei Theodora Ozaki liberally translated this anthology of Japanese fairy tales with an aim to please English children. And please them she does, though these folk stories aren't necessarily 100 percent faithful to their original versions. Ozaki substitutes unfamiliar vocabulary and even alters unhappy endings at times, but her motives are pure and these colorful, "enhanced" tales offer children a welcoming introduction to Japanese culture.

Leslie Bellair performs the audiobook in a bright and youthful voice that adds vitality to the content. If an imaginative child closes her eyes while she listens, perhaps Bellair's expressive performance can help recreate the beautiful images that accompanied the original text in 1903.

Summary

Here are 22 charming Japanese Fairy Tales, translated by Yei Theodora Ozaki, including "My Lord Bag of Rice", "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow", "The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad", "The Farmer and the Badger", "The Shinansha, or the South Pointing Carriage", "The Adventures of Kintaro, the Golden Boy", "The Story of Princess Hase", "The Story of the Man Who Did Not Wish to Die", "The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moonchild", "The Mirror of Matsuyama", "The Goblin of Adachigahara", "The Sagacious Monkey and the Boar", "The Happy Hunter and the Skillful Fisher", "The Story of the Old Man Who Made Withered Trees to Flower", "The Jellyfish and the Monkey", "The Quarrel of the Monkey and the Crab", "The White Hare and the Crocodiles", "The Story of Prince Yamato Take", "Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach", "The Ogre of Rashomon", "How an Old Man Lost His Wen", and "The Stones of Five Colors and the Empress Jokwa".

Public Domain (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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What listeners say about Japanese Fairy Tales

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  • Me
  • 12-08-21

awesome stories, voice meh

loved the stories, her voice is too fast and too high, but I've heard worst!

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  • Ben
  • 31-01-17

Nice book, wish the narrator spoke Japanese better

The book seems well written, and carefully keeps Japanese placenames, person names and non-translatable words intact. The narrator speaks well and tries to pronounce carefully, but clearly doesn't have a strong foundation in Japanese language. keeyooshoo (きゅうしゅう). yikes. sadly most vowel combinations and long vowel sounds are a bit mispronounced. Why not have a Japanese native or advanced student doing the reading? or more vocal training?

26 people found this helpful

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  • kurt lindner
  • 06-03-18

enjoyable listen

A very enjoyable book, good narration, a few mispronunciations which don't affect the story. Definitely worth a second listen.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Brian Scott
  • 23-02-21

decent source material with a bad presentation

as others have said, the pronunciation of japanese names and places is rather poor and distracting and the speaker is monotone. furthermore, they seemed to flip a coin on what language to use with some words like oji-san being used, while other Japanese terms like tanuki and samurai were replaced by badger and knight respectively. who doesn't know what a samurai is?

in the case of widely adapted source material like legends, presentation is everything and this version falls short.

4 people found this helpful

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  • daniyel ortiz
  • 24-10-20

whitewashing.

so the "knights take up their rosaries and go to the family shrine and pray to buddha..."

yeahno. not cool.

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  • Hugh
  • 21-02-15

An excellent anthology of Japanese folk stories

What did you love best about Japanese Fairy Tales?
Japanese Fairy Tales contains several stories that provided the ideal material for an environment where the listener is not necessarily seeking an enthralling experience, but soft listening. Each story is similar to the last in theme and cultural traits, of course, but are different enough to create a well rounded collection of Japanese heritage.

What three words best describe Leslie Bellair’s voice?
Enthusiastic, albeit monotone.

Any additional comments?
Yei Theodora Ozaki has written an excellent compilation of Japanese folk tales. While the stories provide an excellent before bed listening, the narrator leaves a little to be desired in way of depth. All in all I recommend this audiobook to any listener who desires to add an excellent anthology of Japanese culture to his or her collection.

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  • Rincs.Art
  • 29-01-21

A nice informative listen.

It was interesting to listen to, but some of the pronunciations were rather difficult to listen to, if you're well-acquainted with the Japanese language. Still worth a listen.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-05-18

The narration ruins it

I tried to. Play that to my kids but they rightfully complained about the narrator who has a very mechanical voice and high pitch that makes it feel like torture after a few minutes. So disappointed cause I wanted to introduce them to Japanese culture.

3 people found this helpful

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  • BV
  • 18-07-21

Very fun stories!

Worth a listen, maybe two! I really enjoyed these stories, but the narrator pronounced "Daimyo" in the most annoying way (Die-mee- yo) which has the wrong emphasis. This happens with a lot of words throughout, but that was the most annoying! Other than that, every thing else was good!

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  • BK Littman
  • 19-06-21

Simple Presentation of Fantastic Tales

Sometimes, simple is better. Japanese Fairy Tales by Yei Theodora Ozaki is a wonderful simple collection that brought me joy. The stories are written in rich, descriptive fairy tale style. This is a book that humbly transports the reader to many fantastic places. I would look forward to hearing more of the stories each day and I was a little sad when it ended. The stories are ancient and so some of the story elements do not comply with modern politically correct standards. The narration performance by Leslie Bellair is very good. I do not speak Japanese and so I will defer to the other reviewers with regard to the pronunciation of certain words and phrases. However, for me, the narrator did not stumble over any of the words and gave the impression that she understood what she was saying. The placement of similar stories together worked for me as a reader. This is a good book for someone who would like a basic introduction to these stories.

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  • Cat Claws
  • 04-05-21

Great bed time stories

I actually enjoyed each chapter more than i thought i would and more than the other fairytale books. the stories are new and they have a moral. the reading is pretty good also