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Monday, October 31, 2016

Hearn - Yuki Onna - and - Riki Baka - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

The Kwaidan image I've used is from "What are Kaidan?" and, besides discussing Kaidan  on the page's sidebar is a listing of other stories of the genre dating back to the earliest Japanese literature.  It also explains why Hearn called it Kwaidan.  Down in the comments the article also tells a bit more about how these stories came from Hearn's Japanese wife, Setsu, and Hearn's honoring her and her contribution.  (She was from a samurai family, which also explains how often samurai feature in his tales.)  If you Google the images for Kwaidan you will find there are many there including from the movie by that name.  Kobayashi Masaki’s 1965 film is thoroughly reviewed in Weird Wild Realm Reviews.  As a result I can give you this picture from the start of today's first story.  Whatever your weather may be, wherever you are, this should give you a bit of a chill.
That last image came from Nami as the Yuki Onna, which also includes video and more about this  traditional figure in Japanese literature, film, manga, games, and even a symphony.  Wikipedia's article on Yuki-onna is yet another link.  Personally I like Matthew Meyer's more traditional looking image of her.  His site again discusses her and generously shares via Creative Commons license.  He has a comprehensive Yokai database of online Japanese ghosts and monsters and Meyer's artwork, too.
Yuki Onna by Matthew Meyer

Today's story was so short and I've an even shorter tale that also fascinated Hearn.  It's not a monster or possibly even ghostly, but it harks back to two other stories given here, "Before the Supreme Court" and "Strength."


This wraps up this series of Hearn tales, but I hope that, like him, you have gotten enough of a taste to pursue even more.  The books are online, there are videos, articles, images, and much to discover.

Happy Haunting this Halloween!

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Here's my closing for days when I have a story in Keeping the Public in Public Domain
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This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  


At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it. 

Other Public Domain story resources I recommend -
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.
Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!



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