A Lore in Maze Much Similar with Japanese Popular Folk Tale: Taro Urashima

02/11/2018MAZE-GERO CITY

I’ve loved Japanese folk tales since I was a kid.

To my surprise, I’ve found there is a lore that is so similar to one of the most popular stories in Japan.

Taro Urashima still beloved in Japan

Urashima Taro might be the best folk tale in Japan. Please check below if you don’t know about the story.

One day a young fisherman named Taro Urashima is fishing when he notices a group of children torturing a small turtle.

Taro saves it and lets it to go back to the sea.

The next day, a huge turtle approaches him and tells him that the small turtle he had saved is the daughter of the Emperor of the Sea, Ryujin, who wants to see him to thank him. 

The turtle magically gives Taro gills and brings him to the bottom of the sea, to the Palace of the Dragon God (Ryugu-jo).

There he meets the Emperor and the small turtle, who was now a lovely princess, Otohime.

Taro stays there with her for a few days, but soon wants to go back to his village and see his aging mother.

The princess wishes him well and gives him a mysterious box called Tamatebako which she tells him never to open. 

Taro grabs the box, jumps on the back of the turtle, and soon is at the seashore.

When he goes home, everything has changed. His home is gone, his mother has vanished, and the people he knew are nowhere to be seen.

He discovers that 300 years have passed since the day he left for the bottom of the sea. 

He absent-mindedly opens the box the princess had given him, from which bursts forth a cloud of white smoke.

He is suddenly aged, his beard long and white, and his back bent.

Folk tale: Taro Urashima

We can see the modern Taro in a TV commercial like below.

A book contains folk tales in Maze

In Maze, there is a similar story with Taro Urashima.

I got this book from the owner of hotel located in Maze Nishimura district.

I’ve read everything, so interesting!!

There are 10 lores in the book. Each of story is not too short and well worth reading.

The tradition of Yugafuchi: Yaobikuni

The name of story is “the tradition of Yugafuchi: Yaobikuni.

I’d like to share it with you briefly.

There is Jirobe owning sake shop in Nakagiri village.

One day, a kid who has a tiny gourd-shaped bottle that doesn’t seem to be able to contain even 1.8L but tells a shopper to pour 18L sake into the bottle.

The shopper thinks it’s just kidding but he promises the kid that he gives sake for free for 10 days.

Finally, the bottle can contain 18L sake, and the worker is so surprised that he falls down.

On the next day, the child comes again and takes 18L sake as promised.

He continues to come and take it every day.

The shopper thinks “There mustn’t be a family that requires 18L sake every day” and follows the boy.

He walks to Yugafuchi and suddenly jumps into the river.

The shopper tells everything to Jirobe, then Jirobe goes to Yugafuchi and asks the child why he needs a lot of sake and who he is.

He tells Jirobe that he is actually a fish living in the river and brings sake to the festival of Ryugu (the palace of Dragon God)

The boy appreciates the kindness of giving sake a lot and takes Jirobe to Ryugu.

There are many beautiful buildings and Otohime also expresses the appreciation to Jirobe.

Jirobe relaxes there for 3 days and Otohime gives Kikimimi-no-hako (Listening box) to him when he goes back.

The box enables people to understand what birds and insects say if pricking ears.

Otohime told him never to open the box.

On coming back to the village, Jirobe listens to the box.

Surprisingly, he can understand words of bird…!!

Moreover, the bird says to him that 3 years has passed since he goes to Ryugu.

Everybody in the village believes Jirobe has been dead and so surprised that he is back.

Jirobe has a daughter named as Oko.

Oko has cared so much about the box. She finally opens it and eat a mermaid inside the box when Jirobe leaves on a trip.

A few days later, Jirobe has been dead during the trip. That makes his wife so sad and she also dies shortly.

Oko wants to give them a decent burial and enters a nunnery to take off to journey.

After a few decades, she comes back to Maze but looks still so young.

Then, she lives for 800 years.

Compare with the original story of Taro Urashima

Similarities

  • They go to Ryugu
  • Difference of time flow between actual world and Ryugu
  • They neglect the caution and open the box 

Differences

  • Lead character is not fisherman but sake owner
  • Alchemized not into turtle but human child
  • Content of box
  • Person to open the box and the result
  • Ending

Yaobikuni also has an original story

There has been a lore that woman who had eaten a mermaid hid in an old cave in Fukui prefecture for 800 years.

The woman also entered a nunnery to take off to journey.

She has been called as Yaobikuni that means a nun lives for 800 years.

This story is same as the latter half of the tradition of Yugafuchi: Yaobikuni.

Summary

There is a similar story with Taro Urashima here in Maze.

We can see some aspects of Maze in this lore.

It’s really interesting to read these kinds of folk tale and tradition.

I’ll share you another one later if I find!!