Fauna and Flora in Japanese Folktales
The process by which beliefs of the Western world in the presence
of deities, spirits, and other supernatural life was overlaid by the spread
of Christianity and the sophistication of Greece is difficult to trace now.
However, the persisting need of people in Europe for such creations in
their tales and ballads is apparent. This need was answered in part by
dubbing such elements fairies and tales about them, fairy tales. Belief
in an intelligence in the natural world and various spirits is still present
in tales in the East. The tendency of Westerners to baptize these elements,
also, as fairies and tales about them as fairy tales is regrettable.
It reflects an intellectual arrogance reflected in colonization carried out
by the West in the past.
The present study is limited to the roles of fauna and flora in Japanese
folk tales, the mukashibanashi. It is based upon my survey of 3,000
tales which have been recorded in Niigata prefecture. The publishe