Drawing on the Japanese folklore compilation Tales from Shinshu

Drawing on the Japanese folklore compilation Tales from Shinshu, manga creator Wada creates an appealing collection of short stories that provide fascinating insights into Japanese history, society, and traditional beliefs. Several have a moralistic tone, such as “The Demons That Were Stuck in the Eye by Irises,” about a selfish man who, “when he came of the age to take a wife, often repeated, ‘For me, I need to find a woman who doesn’t eat but works hard.” Otherwise, I will not get married.”

Before the story ends, he realises his mistake. Other stories delve into the origins of traditions; “The Kappa and the Dumplings” explains why throwing dumplings into a river can spare future swimmers from drowning. “The Woman Who Could Not Tell” is particularly tragic.

To prevent swimmers from drowning in the future, throw dumplings into a river. The tragic period when “women could not speak their names even though they were doing important work” is explored in “The Woman Who Could Not Tell Her Name,” which is particularly moving. The straightforward, fairy tale flatness of the originals—many of which were transmitted orally—is preserved in Wilson’s translation.


There is not a trace of terror in this story, despite the frequent appearance of ghosts, demons, and other mythical creatures. Rather, these 79 condensed moments of Japanese traditional culture open