Tales of Moonlight and Rain

Front Cover
Columbia University Press, Nov 1, 2008 - Literary Collections - 235 pages
11 Reviews

First published in 1776, the nine gothic tales in this collection are Japan's finest and most celebrated examples of the literature of the occult. They subtly merge the world of reason with the realm of the uncanny and exemplify the period's fascination with the strange and the grotesque. They were also the inspiration for Mizoguchi Kenji's brilliant 1953 film Ugetsu.

The title Ugetsu monogatari (literally "rain-moon tales") alludes to the belief that mysterious beings appear on cloudy, rainy nights and in mornings with a lingering moon. In "Shiramine," the vengeful ghost of the former emperor Sutoku reassumes the role of king; in "The Chrysanthemum Vow," a faithful revenant fulfills a promise; "The Kibitsu Cauldron" tells a tale of spirit possession; and in "The Carp of My Dreams," a man straddles the boundaries between human and animal and between the waking world and the world of dreams. The remaining stories feature demons, fiends, goblins, strange dreams, and other manifestations beyond all logic and common sense.

The eerie beauty of this masterpiece owes to Akinari's masterful combination of words and phrases from Japanese classics with creatures from Chinese and Japanese fiction and lore. Along with The Tale of Genji and The Tales of the Heike, Tales of Moonlight and Rain has become a timeless work of great significance. This new translation, by a noted translator and scholar, skillfully maintains the allure and complexity of Akinari's original prose.

  

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Review: Tales of Moonlight and Rain

User Review  - Mariana - Goodreads

You can learn a lot about Japanese history reading these "ghost tales". The translator added A LOT of useful notes in case you're interested in that subject, otherwise you can just enjoy these creepy folk tales. Read full review

Review: Tales of Moonlight and Rain

User Review  - Dominique Lamssies - Goodreads

This is a beautiful, carefully created edition of one of the ultimate classics of Japanese supernatural literature. People expecting scares should steer clear, these stories are from the 18th century ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
The Early Modern Period in Japan
2
About the Author
3
Bunjin National Learning and Yomihon
8
About Tales of Moonlight and Rain
11
About the Translation
34
PREFACE
47
Shiramine
51
The ReedChoked House
91
The Carp of My Dreams
110
The Owl of the Three Jewels
121
The Kibitsu Cauldron
139
A Serpents Lust
155
The Blue Hood
186
On Poverty and Wealth
202
Bibliography
221

The Chrysanthemum Vow
75

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About the author (2008)

Ueda Akinari (1734-1809), one of the great writers of Japanese fiction, was also a scholar, poet, physician, and tea master. Anthony H. Chambers is professor of Japanese literature and literary translation at Arizona State University. He has translated many works of Japanese literature, both classical and modern, and is the author of The Secret Window: Ideal Worlds in Tanizaki's Fiction.

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