Polychrome Interest

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Isshun Boushi (一寸法師) – A Small Japanese Warrior

I have been trying to read more and more books in Japanese lately. I want to achieve my goal to read Japanese Novel as soon as possible. Right now, I can only read Manga and children story. For now, reading novel is impossible to do because novel contains incredibly difficult Kanji.

I tried to sneak a Japanese folktale (ものがたり) in between pages of novel I am currently read. The language and Kanji used in this book is very simple. I didn’t need to open dictionary to read it. The fact that I have heard the tale also helps my reading.

I am going to share this tale for my Once Upon the Time Reading Challenge V. What you about to read is my rough translation of the book.

The title is Isshun Boushi. I included the pictures and the words from the book so that other people can also enjoy the cuteness water oil drawings in this book.

Long long time ago, lived an old couple who didn’t have any children. They prayed everyday to Gods (神様) “Please give us a child, please give us a child

One day, the Gods gave them a child, but the child was not how they expected him to be. The child was only 3 cm high. They named him Isshun Boushi, Isshun means 3 cm in olden Japanese words.

Although Isshun Boushi was small in size but he had such a smart head. When he was 13 years old he told his parents that he wanted to go to Kyouto (京都) to be a better man. Kyouto was the biggest city in Japan, his parents were so worried.

You are so small, can you really go to Kyouto by yourself?” said his father.

Please don’t go!” said his mother.

I’ll be find. There are a lot of great people in Kyouto. I want to learn from those people.” said Ishhun Boushi.

His parents finally let him go. They gave him a needle for his sword, chopstick and bowl as his boat and peddler.  Isshun Boushi left his house by using his bowl-boat.

When he arrived in Kyouto, he saw how crowded the city was. He came into a big house and thought that he could work in that house.

He knocked on the door. A man came out and yet saw nothing. Isshun Boushi shouted “ごめんください” (excuse me) till the man looked at his direction.

The man was surprised upon seeing such small person. The man was the owner of the house. Isshun Boushi introduced himself and told him that he wanted to work in his house. The man liked Isshun Boushi and accepted his request.

The man made Isshun Boushi as his daughter’s guard and playmate.  The daughter was still 10 years old at that time. Isshun Boushi and the daughter became good friend.

Three years later, Isshun Boushi turns 16 and the daughter 13. The daughter had become such beautiful woman.

One day, when Isshun Boushi and the daughter went on a walk, they met a demon (鬼). They demon was attracted to the daughter’s beauty.  He wanted to take her to his place.

“だめだ!” shouted Isshun Boushi. (You can’t do that!)

The demon laughed at the size of Isshun Boushi and he swallowed him down.

However, Isshun Boushi did not give up. He used his needle to poke on the demon’s stomach.

It hurts, it hurts!” shouted the demon. “Please forgive me!

Isshun Boushi came out of the demon’s mouth and the demon ran away from that place. The demon accidentally left a very precious item.

What’s that?” asked Isshun Boushi.

aa..this is  打ち出の小槌 !” said the daughter.  (Uchi de kozuchi = Small Magic Hammer)

Please make Isshun Boushi becomes taller” chanted the daughter while shaking the kozuchi.

Suddenly Isshun Boushi turned into normal human height.

Isshun Boshi returned to his home in Osaka (大阪). His parents were surprised but happy to see him in his normal size.

Isshun Boushi and the daughter got married and lived happily.

======= the end (終り) =======

Hope you enjoy this tale from Japan as much as we do 🙂


About Novroz

I actively maintained 2 blogs. My personal blog is about things that I love: Turtles, Books, Movies, Music, Larc en Ciel, Muse, Cillian Murphy, The Mighty Boosh and many more. I also help my 3 super cute turtles, Kroten, Papoe and Kurome, to maintain their own blog: http://kamekroten.wordpress.com

13 comments on “Isshun Boushi (一寸法師) – A Small Japanese Warrior

  1. Kelly
    April 30, 2011

    I enjoyed it very much 😀 thank you for introducing it to me…and I loved the pics.

    • Novroz
      May 1, 2011

      hi Kelly, thank you for stopping by and I am glad you like the story.

    April 30, 2011

    sound complicated and charming 🙂

    • Novroz
      May 1, 2011

      it’s the male and Japanese version of thumbelina 😉

  3. Ronan
    April 30, 2011

    Thank you for sharing this charming little story Novia, I can see why Kame and Kroten enjoy it so much, it is very touching. 🙂

    • Novroz
      May 1, 2011

      thank you for reading, Ronan.
      hahaha as for those 2 turtles, they have been doing my hobby since they have their own blog 😉

      • Ronan
        May 2, 2011

        I’ve been reading their blog, they are very good and interesting. The most articulate turtles I know 🙂

        • Kame
          May 2, 2011

          yaii *dancing* it’s always nice to know that mommy’s friends enjoy reading our blog.

  4. Caroline
    May 1, 2011

    Great job translating this. I like the drawings and the fascinated reading turtles. So funny. The demon looks great.

    • Novroz
      May 1, 2011

      thank you, Caroline.
      Glad you enjoy the drawings, I thought they are very cute and I just have to share it. As for those 2 little rascals, they seemed to enjoy the drawings too because they stayed still like that for few minutes.

  5. lifewith4cats
    May 1, 2011

    I loved the story and pictures. It would be so nice to get my hands on some young childrens books to help me learn. Why are adult learning books so boring without pictures? Our little kids in the U.S. have a song for our alphabet. They sing it to learn. I bet Japanese have this same kind of thing too.

    I liked the picture of the demon running away. I love folk tales. This was a really good post, I enjoyed it a lot.

    • Novroz
      May 1, 2011

      The Japanese books for preparation of Japanese proficiency test is quite fun with all the cartoon characters. Japan always makes their books more cheerful than other country. You should have seen their science textbook for junior high school, it was so colorful.

      I know what you mean, it’s the abc song, right? Never heard of the Japanese one yet.
      What interesting about Japanese kids is that they can write hiragana since kindergarten. I have several Japanese students in my class, I was a bit surprise to know that they can write perfectly.

      I am glad you enjoy the story, Sara 🙂

  6. Pingback: Wordless Wednesday – Smart Turtles | Kame & Kroten Blog

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