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Tono Monogatari
The Mysterious Tales In Tono
Date:31, May, 2023
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


Hello, everyone. Today I'm here picking up Tono Monogatari (The Tono Tales) written by Yanagita Kunio (1875–1962). That includes 119 short traditions of Tono areas in Iwate. Yanagita was not from Iwate. He heard those stories from Sasaki Kizen the male author from Tono, Iwate. Yanagita first met him in 1908, right away started the interview and finished in 1909 early summer. Then we can say this book is a record of folk traditions.

Sasaki came to Tokyo desiring to be a novelist, and knew Yanagita. When the two met, Sasak was in his 20's and Yanagita was in the middle of 30's. At the time, it's said that Sasaki was well-known as a good scary story teller. Yanagita was on the way to establishing Japanese native folkloristics (Minzoku-gaku). Sasaki told Yanagita many traditional scary stories, Yanagita collected data for establishing his lore. Then Yanagita got the 119 tales and published the books at his own expense in 1910 June.

Reading the stories, you are going to find a lot of mysterious things in Tono. You maybe think that the traditions are nothing but fantasy. But I don't agree with it. Our reality that we live in, is the mixture of real things and figment. What is true? What is false? It's pretty hard to find the borderline which everybody recognizes. In other words, we are difficult to grip reality by the binary opposition of real things and fiction. Some truths can appear only by telling a story. Tono Monogatari tells us so by hints, probably.

about Tono Monogatari

・Author: Yanagita Kunio
・Publishers: Shincho-sha, Daiwa Shobo, Iwanami Shoten and others





 

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