The member of a distinguished British literary family, A. B. Mitford traveled widely with his parents as a youth and lived in various European countries. From 1866-70, he served as an attaché with the British legation at Edo (Tokyo) — one of the first foreign diplomats to do so. During his brief stay there, Mitford lived through a period of dramatic and tumultuous change in Japanese history. A feudal nation on his arrival, Japan had entered the era of “Westernization” before he left some three years later. During that time, however, he quickly and thoroughly mastered the Japanese language and acted as an interpreter between the young Japanese Emperor and British royalty. Mitford’s famous collection of classic tales (the first to appear in English) covers an engrossing array of subjects: grisly accounts of revenge, knightly exploits, ghost stories, fairy tales, folklore, a fascinating eyewitness account of a hara-kiri ceremony, gripping narratives of vampires and samurai, Buddhist sermons, and the plots of four Noh plays. A treasury, as well, of information on most aspects of Japanese life, with information on locales, customs, and characters, the illustrated volume delights as it entertains, chronicling acts of heroism, devotion, ruthlessness, and chivalry that illuminate the island nation's culture. “One of the first and in many ways still one of the best books on Japan.” — The Japanese Times. “An excellent introduction to Japanese literature.” — Mainichi Daily News.
A. B. Mitford
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Bought as a gift for a friend who loves all things Japanese. I expect this will please him a lot!!!
I highly recommend this book to anybody that wants to learn about Japanese history. The book includes the story of the 47 ronin, a must for students of Japanese Culture and martial artist, and stories, folktales and sermons prior to the 20th century.
I purchased this book thinking I might use it for my 3rd grade classroom as we studied Japan, and all of Asia as Geography in school. I gleaned ideas from the book, but I believe it to be one to be enjoyed by older students. As an elementary teacher, it was not much help. As an adult who lived in Japan for two years, I found the stories very interesting.
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