Narrating Gender Reality in Japanese Folktale Tradition
Appendix II: Seki’s Tale-Types of Japanese Animal-Wife Tales
The following seven tale-types from Japanese Animal-Wife tales are based on Seki’s Corpora of Japanese Folktales.1 Similar to Inada’s tale-type index, Seki’s tale-type classification rests on the species of animal women in each story.2 All the tale-types except the Cat-Wife tale-type (JT 117) mutually share the same episodic structures and the four-pillar episodes (which the present book suggests). The episodic structure of this Cat-Wife tale-type differs from that of other tale-types because the story ends with the couple’s eternally happy life.
In his explanation of the Cat-Wife tale-type, Tsuda says that a number of recorded oral texts that follow the Cat-Wife tale-type are smaller than that of any other animal-wife tale-type.3 Seki includes only one oral text and one variant of the Cat-Wife tale-type in his folktale tale-type index. This variant’s episodic structure ends with the couple’s separation and thus resembles that of Inada’s Cat-Wife tale-type. Based on other oral texts, Yanagita categorizes the Cat-Wife tale-type into the Japanese Ogress tale-type in his Collection of Japanese Folktales.4 Referring to one variant of Seki’s Cat-Wife tale-type, ← 131 | 132 → Kawai points out that this variant is “a peculiar fairy tale” because “it ends happily in marriage,” saying:
Though this [Cat-Wife tale] is an extremely rare story in Japan, its pattern differs from stories in the West, in which a human being is transformed into an animal and then recovers its original form through marriage. I [Kawai] question how far we can treat the story as an...
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