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Old Stories of Japan


Ghost Stories

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Ghost Stories(ゆうれい の はなし)

   The Woman of the Snow(ゆき おんな)
   A Dead Secret(し の ひみつ)
   The Faceless Ghost(むじな)

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ゆきかり で  部屋へや の なか に

おんな が  えた。

 ゆきかり:the snow-light    部屋へや:room
 おんな:woman    える:see


He was awakened by a showering of snow in his face. The door of the hut had been forced open; and, by the snow-light (yuki-akari), he saw a woman in the room, - a woman all in white. She was bending above Mosaku, and blowing her breath upon him; - and her breath was like a bright white smoke.




The Princess Kaguya

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The Princess Kaguya
かぐや ひめ
The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter
たけ とり ものがたり

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彼女かのじょ は

たけ から うまれた。

 彼女かのじょ:she  たけ:bamboo  うまれる:be born

One day, while walking in the bamboo forest, an old, childless bamboo cutter came across a mysterious, shining stalk of bamboo. After cutting it open, he found inside it an infant the size of his thumb. He rejoiced to find such a beautiful girl and took her home. He and his wife raised her as their own child and named her Kaguya-hime. (The Princess Kaguya



The Tongue-Cut Sparrow

The Tongue-Cut Sparrow
した きり すずめ

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すずめ は

した を  られた

 すずめ:sparrow  した:tongue   :cut

The man had to return to the mountains one day and left the bird in the care of the old woman, who had no intention of feeding it. After her husband left, she went out fishing. While she was gone, the sparrow got into some starch that was left out and eventually ate all of it. The old woman was so angry upon her return that she cut out the bird's tongue and sent it flying back into the mountains from where it came. (The Tongue-Cut Sparrow




Urashima Taro

Urashima Taro
うらしま たろう

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かれ は
かめ の 背中せなか に った。

 かれ:he
 かめ:turtle  背中せなか:back  る:sit on

Long ago, a man named Urashima Taro found a turtle on the beach being toyed with by a group of children. He purchased the turtle and released it in the ocean.Two or three days later, while he was fishing on a boat as always, the grateful turtle came and told him he would carry him on his back to the underwater palace known as Dragon Palace. At the palace, the princess thanked him for saving the turtle.(Urashima Taro



Click-Clack Mountain

Click-Clack Mountain
かちかち やま

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うさぎ は

 を つけた。

 うさぎ:rabbit  :fire  つける:set

As the story goes, a man caught a troublesome tanuki in his fields, and tied it to a tree to kill and cook it later. When the man left for town, the tanuki cried and begged the man's wife who was making some mochi, a sweet rice dish, to set him free, promising he would help her. The wife freed the animal, only to have it turn on her and kill her. The tanuki then planned a foul trick.(Click-Clack Mountain)



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