Once upon a Time in Japan

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2015-11-03
  • Publisher: Tuttle Pub

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
  • The Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


When wily animals, everyday people and magical beings come together in a collection of Japanese fairytales and stories, wonderful things are bound to happen!

Bringing Japanese folk stories to the English-speaking world, this book presents eight stories from the popular NHK Japan Broadcasting Corporation's popular radio series Once Upon a Time in Japan. Each story is brilliantly illustrated by a talented Japanese artist. The tales recounted here are among Japan's oldest and most beloved stories. Entertaining and filled with subtle folk wisdom, these retold stories have been shared countless times in Japanese homes and schools for generations. Like good stories from every time and place, they never grow old. Kids (and their parents!) will enjoy hearing these stories read aloud on the accompanying CD.

The fairytales and classic stories in this collection include:
  • The Wife Who Never Eats—the story of a man who learns the hard way the evils of stinginess.
  • The Mill of the Sea—the story of how a greedy man was responsible for the saltiness of sea water.
  • The Monkey and the Crab—the crabs teach a tricky monkey a lesson in fairness and honesty.
  • The Magical Hood—an act of kindness reaps great rewards.
  • Sleepyhead Taro and the Children—a story about what can be accomplished at the right time, and with the right help and the right spirit.
  • The Fox and the Otter—how a fox pays the price of deceit and selfishness.
  • The Gratitude of the Crane—a story about the rewards of kindness and the danger of curiosity.
  • The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter—a girl who starts life very tiny turns out to be big in many ways.

Author Biography

NHK World is the international service of Japanese public broadcaster NHK. The stories published in this book were part of a special series produced by Radio Japan, NHK World's radio service in 18 languages.

After working as a graphic designer, Manami Yamada became an author of children's books and an artist. Her books include Grandma Nosehair, whose llustrations were selected for the Bologna Illustrators Exhibition in 2008, and Kaeru to Okan ("The Frog and the Crown"). She is the recipient of several awards.

Tomonori Taniguchi was born in Osaka in 1978, and studied Nihon-ga Japanese painting at Kanazawa College of Art. His children's books have been published in Japan, France and Italy. They include Sarukun to Banana no Yuenchi ("Monkey and Banana's Amusement Park") and Pinocchio, la marionnette de fer ("Pinocchio the Iron Puppet").

Born in Gifu prefecture in 1978, Nao Takabatake is an author of children's books and an illustrator. He received the Japan Picture Book Award in 2013 for Kaeru no Odekake ("The Frog Goes Out"). His other works include Chiita Dai Se-ru ("Cheetah's Big Sale") and Banana Jiken ("The Banana Incident").

Takumi Nishio was born in Tokyo in 1968. He worked as graphic and set designer for public broadcaster NHK from 1994 to 1999, and later produced animations, illustrations and opening titles for TV programs. He currently teaches at the Yokohama College of Art and Design.

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