Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Eastern Tales for Western Kids

Walking through the stacks in search of something to post to our Instagram account always reveals a something new and exciting. Just last week, while hunting for interesting books from the 80’s (of any century), I found The Silly Jellyfish, a children’s book from the 1880’s printed on Japanese crepe paper, or chirimen-gami. After a little digging, I found 8 more of these beautiful crepe-paper books,chirimen-bon, printed entirely on the intricately textured paper.

Cover of "The Boy Who Drew Cats," showing a boy drawing a cat.These translated Japanese fairy tales were originally printed by Takejiro Hasegawa beginning in the mid 1880s and into the early 20th century. He predominantly sold to a Western market as souvenirs and eventually exports. Each one is beautifully bound and illustrated. These publications were incredibly popular for children because they are more durable. The stories in our collections range from tales about goblins and ogres to crabs warring with monkeys. My favorite is The Boy Who Drew Cats, translated by Lafcadio Hearn, a fairy tale about a little boy who gets into trouble for drawing cats instead of studying, but his illustrations eventually come to life to defeat a giant goblin.

To read The Boy Who Drew Cats, just ask for Rare PZ8 .H35 B6 1898 cop. 2. For our other chirimen-bon, ask for Rare GR 340 .B38, Rare GR340 .O48, Rare PZ8 .H35 C6 1903, Rare PZ8 .H35 G6 1899, Rare PZ8 .H35 O4 1902, Rare PZ8 .M43 1896, Rare PZ8 .J27 no. 7b and Rare PZ8 .S56 1887.  For more incredible Instagram finds, check us out at https://www.instagram.com/raunerlibrary/.

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