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Japanese Animal-Wife Tales

Narrating Gender Reality in Japanese Folktale Tradition

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Fumihiko Kobayashi

A familiar, beloved, and yet misunderstood character in the Japanese folktale tradition is the animal-woman, an earthly animal that assumes the form of a female human. In order to articulate the characteristics that make Japanese Animal-Wife tales unique, this trailblazing book Japanese Animal-Wife Tales: Narrating Gender Reality in Japanese Folktale Tradition challenges long-held characterizations of them in folklore scholarship. By re-examining the gender-specific behaviors of both the animal-woman and her human spouse, the book recovers the sociocultural and historical contexts that underlay their behaviors to demonstrate the actual gender characteristics that shaped the original Japanese Animal-Wife tales, highlighting the assertive, rather than naïve, personality of women in early Japanese folktale tradition. This new approach to the study of Japanese folktales and culture will interest researchers and students in a variety of fields, including Japanese studies, comparative folklore studies, culture studies, Asian studies, and anthropology.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataKobayashi, Fumihiko.Japanese animal-wife tales: narrating gender reality in Japanese folktale tradition / Fumihiko Kobayashi.pages cm. — (International folkloristics; Vol. 9)Includes bibliographical references and index.1. Japan—Folklore. 2. Human-animal relationships—Japan—Folklore.3. Man-woman relationships—Japan—Folklore. I. Title.GR340.K574  398.20952—dc23  2014005854ISBN 978-1-4331-2691-8 (hardcover)ISBN 978-1-4539-1344-4 (e-book)ISSN 1528-6533Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek.Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de/.

Cover image: Reproduction of twelfth-century picture scroll titled 鳥獣人物戯画 [Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga] (courtesy of Taganōsan Kōsanji, Kyoto, Japan)© 2015 Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York 29 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, NY 10006www.peterlang.comAll rights reserved.Reprint or reproduction, even partially, in all forms such as microfilm, xerography, microfiche, microcard, and offset strictly prohibited.

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